2011 – 2012 Speakers
Entrepreneurial, idea-producing, TED-type wunderkind who’s helping spark an intellectual, cultural, and economic renaissance in West Michigan. Ventures include Pomegranate Studios, Momentum, TheCommon.org, Spout.com, Boxed Water Is Better Water, 5×5 Night, and ArtPrize.
Twenty-something community advocate and entrepreneur who juggles four cell phones for the sake of her four family restaurants, catering operation, and tree cutting business. Founder of Mi Raza Association of Commerce, and one of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 under Forty.
Politician, famed policy wonk, and Snyder cabineteer, with board and courtroom credentials. Keeps allies and opponents on their toes. Current state treasurer, 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and former speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives.
Marsha Rappley | Health care leader and teacher who rose from nurse’s aide to registered nurse to pediatric neurologist, before joining the academia. Athena Award winner, ADHD expert, and cancer survivor who serves as dean of Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.
Dean H James Williams
Award-winning teacher, prodigious scholar, corporate boardsman, and dean of Grand Valley’s Seidman College of Business. Aims for local impact and the national map. Alphabet soup cred: Ph.D., M.B.A., C.P.A., C.M.A., LL.M., J.D.
Thriving YP and executive director of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology. Serves on the Wealthy Theater Centennial Cabinet, Varnum Diversity Inclusion Council, Laugh Fest Cabinet, and Grand Rapids Boxing Foundation. (See also: Arbor Circle, Local First, PWA)
Sector-smashing leader who served as director of Michigan’s Department of Management and Budget, budget director, and treasurer under Governor Engler before becoming the third president of Grand Valley State University and current president of Meijer Inc.
Argentina-born artist and architect who has travelled the world and speaks five languages. Former president of the Grand Rapids Downtown Alliance, founder of the Chiaroscuro International Film Series at UICA, and three-time competitor in ArtPrize.