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2021 Diversity & Talent Summit

Tuesday, November 16th | 7:30 am - 12:00 pm

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2021 Diversity & Talent Summit 11

2021 Diversity & Talent Summit

The Diversity & Talent Summit returns on Tuesday, November 16 with speakers who will examine the increasing need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in business. From neighborhood storefronts to global enterprises, implementing inclusive practices today will position businesses to navigate the ever-changing marketplace long-term.

This year, participants will hear success stories from local leaders, get caught up on the latest community DEI metrics, and explore how embedding DEI into systems like business, education, and health care can create a stronger whole. Learn more about our speakers and register below!

Tuesday, November 16
7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel: Ambassador Ballroom
Members: $125 / Non-Members: $150


Meet the Speakers

Derreck Kayongo, Former CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Global Soap Project Founder

2021 Diversity & Talent Summit

From Ugandan refugee to successful entrepreneur, CEO, and renowned human rights activist, Derreck’s journey inspires audiences to dream big. Derreck is the founder of the Global Soap Project: a humanitarian aid organization that collects discarded and unused soap from thousands of hotels worldwide, reprocesses it, then distributes it to in-need populations around the world. Derreck has also served in the role of CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. During his time as CEO, he elevated the visibility of the Center on a global scale, showcasing stories of victims of civil rights abuse and the heroic actions that changed the course of history.


Scott Ayotte, Manager, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Haworth

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Scott Ayotte (he/him/his) joined the Haworth Human Resources team in Holland, Michigan as the Manager of Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2021. Scott is responsible for leading company-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, programs, and initiatives. Before joining Haworth, Scott was a member of the leadership team at Grand Valley State University within the Division of Inclusion and Equity. Scott also served as a lead consultant for the Inclusion and Equity Institute at GVSU where he delivered strategic DEI solutions for organizations throughout West Michigan. His primary areas of expertise include inclusive talent acquisition, organizational development, talent management, and strategic planning. He has presented on the regional and national level to private and nonprofit organizations on topics relating to innovative talent acquisition, generational diversity & succession planning, leadership development, and healthcare HR management.


Dr. Anthony Chang, Founder & CEO, BAMF Health

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Dr. Anthony Chang is an accomplished scientific leader and educator, as well as a recipient of the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award. He is also the founder and CEO of BAMF Health headquartered in the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in Grand Rapids. In addition to founding BAMF, Dr. Chang has extensive experience with imaging technology, including successfully building a modern multimodality Small Animal Imaging Facility. He received his PhD in Medical Physics with a specialization in Diagnostic Imaging Physics from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.



Frances Hogsten, Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Haworth 2021 Diversity & Talent Summit 8

Frances Hogsten, CPIM, CPM, is Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Haworth, Inc. Frances holds a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Manufacturing Engineering from Boston University.  These credentials are combined with over 25 years of Supply Chain & Sourcing experience. Frances has significant experience in managing global teams located in Europe, Asia (China & India) as well as North America and has personally spent time in Mexico and Asia.  She has led global supply chain organizations for companies in multiple industries such as:  Ingersoll Rand (heavy industrial), Lutron Electronics (lighthing industrial), Solectron (EMS), General Electric (heavy industrial). She has played an instrumental role in Supplier rationalization, driving working capital improvements as well as serving as Lean Champion for her functional group.


Dr. Paul Isely, Associate Dean, Seidman College of Business

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Dr. Paul Isely is currently Associate Dean and Professor of Economics for the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He joined the GVSU faculty in 1995 after earning his Ph.D. in Economics from Purdue University. He also holds an M.S. in Economics from Purdue University and a dual B.S. in Physics and Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Isely’s research interests have led to many local articles and reports. These articles have explored West Michigan’s economy including forecasts of growth, the state of entrepreneurship, healthcare costs, environmental clean-up values, economic impacts of various activities, and the costs and benefits of wind power. These studies have resulted in him being interviewed extensively by TV, radio, and newspapers on the West Michigan economy and its relationship to the national and state economies.


Kevin Polston, Ed.S, Superintendent, Kentwood Public Schools

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Kevin was appointed as superintendent of Kentwood (MI) Public Schools on July 1, 2021.  His previous superintendent experience included serving for four years as the superintendent of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools in Wyoming, Michigan.  Prior to becoming a superintendent, he  served as a teacher, coach, and administrator at Grand Haven Area Public Schools (MI) for 15 years. His vision is to “change the world through opportunities for students.” Polston serves as a trustee on the Board of Trustees of KConnect, a collective impact organization in Grand Rapids, MI, whose mission is to ensure all children in Kent County have a clear path to economic prosperity through quality education, family, and community support.  He is also a 2020 alumnus of the Grand Rapids Chamber’s Leadership Grand Rapids program. He is currently a doctoral student studying educational leadership at Central Michigan University.




Marcel “Fable” Price, Executive Director, The Diatribe 2021 Diversity & Talent Summit 19

Marcel “Fable” Price is a North American writer, teaching artist, community advocate, motivational speaker, and executive director of non profit organization The Diatribe. Fable is the 2016 recipient of a Community Advocate Award, a 2017 40 Under 40 Honoree, and is a 2020 Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses Black Bottom Community Builder Award winner, and was the 2017-2020 Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, MI. He is the author of “Adrift in a Sea of M&M’s” (2016) and is currently working to finish his second collection of poems titled “New American Monarch; an extroverted caterpillars guide to becoming an introverted butterfly.” Among other goals, Fable hopes to launch a youth center focused in preforming arts, writing, and community advocacy in the 49507. As the youngest, first person without a college degree, and the first person of color to hold the title of Poet Laureate in Grand Rapids, MI his work has been heavily influenced by contorting personal experiences into a kaleidoscope used to examine glass ceilings for points of fragility. He lives to be a beacon of vulnerability for those that can relate to his work. His work has previously been used by PBS, The Flynn Foundation, Mental Health America, and Habitat for Humanity. His poems have appeared in Missouri Review, The Grand Rapids Grass Roots Anthology, The Spoon Knife Anthology, Button Poetry, and Write About Now.


Dr. Sandra Upton, Founder + Chief DEI Strategist, Upton Consulting Group

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Dr. Sandra Upton recently founded Upton Consulting Group and serves as their Chief DEI Strategist. Before this, Sandra served as the Vice President of Global Diversity Practice of the Cultural Intelligence Center where she provided her leadership and expertise to DEI matters across the globe. She has over 25 years of experience serving training and consulting businesses, including Facebook, Google, Goldman Sachs, Steelcase, and more. Sandra lead the Center’s unconscious bias certification programs across the globe.

Event Sponsors

Event Underwriters

West Michigan CEO Summit 33    OutPro 14


Lead Supporters

132nd Annual Meeting 27    consumersenergy


Executive Sponsor

2021 Diversity & Talent Summit 12     Diversity & Talent Series    Breakfast with Legislators 44    OutPro 13

11th Annual EPIC Awards Gala 6 2021 Health Care Summit     ATHENA Leadership Forum 37


Technology Sponsor

Diversity & Talent Series 1


Furniture Sponsor

2021 Diversity & Talent Summit 14

Chamber Champions

 Diversity & Talent Series 2    ATHENA Leadership Forum 41     ATHENA Leadership Forum: Imposter Syndrome & Confidence in the Workplace 3

Diversity & Talent Series: Preparing the Next Workforce Generation Through the Lens of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 32021 Diversity & Talent Summit 18    2021 Diversity & Talent Summit 9     EPIC Awards Gala 4