Talent Development

Talent Development

The Grand Rapids Chamber works to develop top training programs to grow the region’s best talent.

We know that our community’s growth and success are powered by a skilled, diverse workforce. That’s why we’re committed to helping West Michigan businesses to expand the depth and breadth of their talent at every level of the organization. From CEO roundtables to the ATHENA awards, we’re committed to developing a more creative and capable workforce for our community.


Your Team of Talent Development Experts

Staff 175

Dante Villarreal
Vice President of Business & Talent Development
[email protected]

Staff 214

Mel Trombley
Director of Leadership Programs
[email protected]

Staff 189

Monica Mendez
Talent Development Manager
[email protected]

Talent Development 2

Kessia Graves
Leadership Program Coordinator
[email protected]

Programs at a Glance

Adelante Grand Rapids
Adelante Grand Rapids is a leadership program exclusively for Hispanic business owners delivered in Spanish. The program focuses on systems and emphasizes peer-to-peer relationships. Through the program, Hispanic business owners will have stronger voices as entrepreneurs, greater knowledge in navigating systems, and a strengthened business lens.

ATHENA Grand Rapids
ATHENA Grand Rapids uplifts, celebrates and recognizes local women who are trailblazers for other women in our community. ATHENA Grand Rapids is more than a program, it is a network. We offer quarterly leadership forums and other networking events to connect local women leaders.

Emerging Leaders Series
This series is designed to help participants grow their career and become actively engaged in the community. The series teaches the keys to becoming a strong community leader and building strong relationships with peers from a variety of sectors and backgrounds.

Grand Rapids Connect
Grand Rapids Connect is geared toward professionals new to the city, boomerangs returning home or individuals looking to further engage with the community. The program includes an overnight stay downtown Grand Rapids and provides insight into the city’s latest and greatest developments. Throughout the event, participants will explore our community, learn about social and community engagement opportunities, and delve into how to connect in Grand Rapids.

Leadership Advantage
In its final year, Leadership Advantage is an intensive skills-based executive leadership coaching program designed to enhance the knowledge and critical thinking skills of emerging and established leaders. The unique aspect of Leadership Advantage is its focus on a group leadership coaching experience, which incorporates substantial opportunities for meaningful self-reflection, peer coaching, and honest conversations about how your worldview influences your leadership effectiveness.

Leadership Grand Rapids
Leadership Grand Rapids (LGR) is designed to be unlike any other leadership program, where instead of analyzing leadership tactics and principles, participants are asked to use a systems-thinking approach to tackle real issues facing our community. This approach fosters community trustees who will leave the class with a community-focused mindset that creates a lifelong commitment to creating a thriving and prosperous West Michigan for all. Applications open every March for the following program year.

Leading Edge
Specifically for the next generation of women leaders in the workplace, Leading Edge teaches practical concepts and offers a hands-on practicum in the leadership skills you need.

LeadUp is designed to guide first-time managers through the concepts and principles necessary for a successful transition. The assessment, curriculum and individual coaching included in the program has been tailored specifically for new managers in the skilled trades. Cohort 1 will be presented in English. Cohort 2 will be presented in Spanish.

OutPro is an LGBTQ+ professional group that promotes a welcoming culture in the West Michigan Business Community for LGBTQ+ professionals and allies. OutPro offers opportunities for both social and professional networking through programming and gatherings at various venues in the community. 

Speak with Purpose
Speak with Purpose is designed to equip participants with the skills and confidence necessary to organize and deliver effective presentations. Over the course of five interactive sessions, individuals will learn how to organize a presentation and deliver it to audiences large and small.

I need programs like the Chamber's both as a professional and as an artist. I’m actively looking for safe spaces to connect with people who share similar stories, struggles, and successes.” - Jeffrey Songco/ArtPrize Winning Artist
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