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Developing a Community with Inclusive Growth

November 4, 2019 @ 11:30 AM1:00 PM EST

Developing a Community with Inclusive Growth // Part of our FREE Brown Bag Lunch & Learn series

This event is part of the Johnson Center’s FREE Brown Bag Lunch & Learn series

In its 15th annual ranking, Business Facilities’ 2019 Metro Rankings Report named Grand Rapids, Mich. as the No.1 mid-sized metro in the country for economic growth potential. But “growth” does not always translate into shared prosperity. Many of our neighbors still struggle to find opportunities, stability, and security for themselves and their families.

The Right Place, in partnership with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program’s Inclusive Learning Lab, is embarking on a six-month journey to explore how our region’s economic development organizations can harness  tools and partnerships to facilitate more inclusive growth, in tandem with other institutions and systems in Grand Rapids.

In this session, we’ll cover:

  • What “inclusive growth” is
  • What inclusive growth communities look like
  • How you can plug in to local conversations and efforts to promote inclusive growth
  • How Grand Rapids fits into national efforts to promote shared prosperity

Guest Speakers:

  • Brad Comment, Vice President of Investor Relations, The Right Place
  • Cindy Brown, Vice President of Talent Initiatives, The Right Place
  • Juan Olivarez, Ph.D., Distinguished Scholar in Residents for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Johnson Center

Cost: Free!
Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch to this event. Water, coffee, and tea will be provided.

Register now

Photo: Cindy Brown
Cindy Brown is the Vice President of Talent Initiatives at The Right Place, where she collaborates with other talent-related organizations to address regional talent pipeline challenges. Cindy has over 20 years of leadership experience in employee development, talent acquisition, training, and facilitation. She excels at attracting talent, generating awareness, and connecting individuals to resources. Cindy is the Workforce Development Vice Chair for West Michigan Works!, and serves on the board of directors for Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids. She is also the recipient of the 2017 West Michigan Woman Brilliance Connector Award.
Photo: Brad Comment
Brad Comment is the Vice President of Investor Relations at The Right Place. He serves as a point of contact for all investors in The Right Place and is responsible for fundraising and leading public policy initiatives. In his previous work, Brad held the position of Vice President of Investor Relations at Heart of West Michigan United Way, as well as Vice President of Governmental Relations at Kindsvatter, Dalling & Associates. Brad serves on the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce and Development Committee and Regional Issues Committee.
Photo: Juan R. Olivarez, Ph.D.
Juan R. Olivarez, Ph.D. was named the first Distinguished Scholar in Residence for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Johnson Center in 2018. Throughout his career, Olivarez has been a passionate champion for equity and inclusion. He served as president of Grand Rapids Community College from 1999 to 2008, and later became president of Aquinas College from 2011 to 2017. Between these two presidencies, he served as president and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, where the educational needs of the community were a top priority. Olivarez has served on many national, regional, and local boards, including the National Institute for Literacy appointed by President George W. Bush, Council for Independent Colleges, Educational Testing Services, National Commission on Adult Education, Early Childhood Investment Corporation, Van Andel Education Institute, St. Mary’s Hospital, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, First Steps Kent, Kalamazoo Country Ready 4’s, and the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.


November 4, 2019
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM EST
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Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University


Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
201 Front Ave SW, Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 United States
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