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Chamber Blog

Q & A with Jay Mahabir, Grand Rapids Market Director with Meijer

A Q & A with Jay Mahabir, Grand Rapids Market Director with MeijerOur Fall Leadership Advantage Cohort has commenced. The class was filled with an exceptional group of leaders representing a variety of roles and sectors. Barbara Rapaport, of Real-Time Perspectives with Barbara Rapaport, worked to lead this group through their own, individual leadership journeys.

Mel Trombley, Director of Leadership Programs, met with Jay Mahabir, Grand Rapids Market Director with Meijer to discuss how this experience has been so far.

After completing Leadership Advantage, what is a tool or process that you think you will benefit from in the long-run?

In my 1 on 1, Barbara sent me a template for 1:1/Group Presentation preparedness. I am already utilizing and feel this will assist with organizational thought.

Chamber Leadership Programs work to curate groups of leaders from a variety of sectors, communities, and styles. How does this benefit your experience?

The program allows you to share your real-time perspective and gain knowledge from classmates that come from different backgrounds and experiences. I feel this allows us to stretch our leadership resulting in better decision making throughout our lives. The class is very transparent and I have utilized some of the feedback and resources in my day today.

When we chatted over coffee, you talked about how you “grew up” in one of your first major leadership roles. I admire your growth mindset when it comes to leadership. What advice would you give to people with aspirations to lead?

My advice would be to incorporate three things:

  • Always value people and put them ahead of yourself. Learn how to serve people regardless of the situation. Understanding how to develop the best in people requires a relational connection. Spend time.
  • Be open-minded to change. Realize that multiple feedback points are very beneficial for your growth. There are many people you will meet that think differently. You must practice grand humility, assess the feedback, and reflect on your implementation strategy.
  • Dream big. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. There is always a point where you cannot see the past. Having great mentors that help open your vision allows you to set large dreams. Dreams do change after you accomplish them. Never stop thinking about what the next larger dream will be. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”-Steve Jobs

The group has quickly connected through Zoom. Between sessions, you can find the group meeting for lunch, golfing, and teaching cohort members about coffee. So, Jay, we must ask the burning question: What is your favorite coffee? And why is it better than Folgers?

My favorite coffee is actually…..Tea! I drink tea daily and will only drink coffee on special occasions 😊 My favorite is CHAI TEA!

Thank you Jay and to the entire group for investing in your personal, professional, and community leadership. Lessons learned and relationships gained will remain for a lifetime.


Applications are now open for the 2021 cohorts of Leading Edge and Leadership Advantage! If you are looking to expand your leadership skills and get more plugged into the Grand Rapids community, these programs could be an excellent fit for you. Learn more and apply here.

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