- This event has passed.
Create Great Inclusion: Celebrating Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the observance of the end of slavery in the United States. This holiday was first celebrated in Texas where, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and enslaved people were free – two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Over 155 years after the last enslaved people were freed, we honor their resilience and legacy. We will continue collaborating with our communities and members to take action that promotes change and ensures equity for everyone.
In this webinar, presented in partnership with Warner Norcross + Judd, we’ll hear from three black women who are imagining a future of black business leadership and entrepreneurship. They will be sharing how they are honoring the legacy through work in their specific fields. Attendees will learn more about the history and significance of Juneteenth and why it’s important to celebrate within your organization.
Speakers include Jessa Challa, CEO & Software Engineer, Mallowfields; Sandra Gaddy, CEO, Women’s Resource Center; and Winsome Kirton, CEO & Founder, Pack Elephant.
Friday, June 17
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Members: $0 / Non-Members: $0
Meet the Speakers
Jessa Challa is an entrepreneur, technologist, creative, and lifelong Grand Rapidian. She is a constant advocate and active participant in West Michigan-based efforts to democratize technology. Jessa believes that by using the right intention, tech can be an effective and versatile equity tool for all. She has volunteered her energy to organizations including Code for Good West MI, AIGA West MI, Equity PAC, Urban Core Collective, WMCAT’s Public Agency, Casual Simulation, and Grand Circus. In these spaces, she helps support a culture centered on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Jessa’s work includes creating interactive web maps for veteran services, locating food banks during the pandemic’s beginning, and finding BIPOC-owned businesses in West MI. These projects positioned her to be recognized as the 2021 DEI Champion at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC Awards.
Sandra Gaddy serves as CEO of Women’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids, MI. Having previously served as vice president of advancement for Inner City Christian Federation-ICCF, and chief communication and development officer for Mel Trotter Ministries. Prior to her nonprofit work, Sandra spent 15 years in banking including serving as a Vice President in Retail, Business Banking and Wealth Management. Sandra is a passionate servant leader and social justice advocate to her core. With over 20 years of executive leadership experience, she brings extensive expertise in team development, strategic planning,forming collaborative partnerships and fund mobilization. She earned her executive MBA degree from Grand Valley State University and her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cornerstone University.
Winsome Kirton is Founder & CEO of Pack Elephant, a marketplace for companies that want to source gifts, swag and other products from diverse owned businesses. Since launching in 2019, Pack Elephant’s network of small businesses, makers and entrepreneurs has grown to over 500 nationwide, providing unique products for employee engagement, client appreciation and corporate events to Fortune 100 companies like J&J, UPS and Meta (formerly Facebook). Winsome’s passion for elevating underrepresented businesses has led her to a life of purpose, bridging this gap of access in B2B sales. She holds a Visual Studies degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. She serves on multiple community boards, and when not at work, you’ll find her at home reading and snuggling with her 16 month old son, Rafa.