Leadership Collaboration Launched

July 1, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids, Holland and Muskegon chambers of commerce have announced the official launch of the Leadership West Michigan (LWM) program.

The announcement marks the culmination of more than a year of collaborative efforts by the three chambers, their respective leadership programs and the West Michigan Strategic Alliance (WMSA).

“I’m delighted the team worked together so effectively,” said Chris Byrnes, president of the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, “and I’m confident Leadership West Michigan will help us continue the momentum toward a coherent regional vision.”

Leadership West Michigan’s mission is to equip leaders for regional collaboration. This is accomplished through:

  • Fostering commitments to serve for the benefit of the West Michigan region.

  • Increasing understanding and awareness of the regional opportunities and threats.

  • Developing and strengthening networks of decision makers to encourage cooperation and make better informed choices.

Leadership West Michigan is what the chambers call the “next step” in creating a regional mindset for the region, including Grand Rapids, Holland and Muskegon.

“All three chambers felt strongly that we needed to develop a program to provide leaders with an understanding of our unique regional framework,” said Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Leadership West Michigan will provide participants in the program an unparalleled opportunity to explore the interrelated systems defining their region.”

For the current year, LWM will accept a group of 30 diverse individuals into the program. The participants will represent a cross-section of businesses, professions, organizations, ages, genders, cultural perspectives, ethnic backgrounds and geographical areas throughout the metro area.

The common denominator for all of the participants is demonstrated leadership and the motivation and interest in new learning, regional exposure and networking and how to use this experience to serve as regional trustees.

The LWM curriculum will be based on The Common Framework of the WMSA. It will include seven sessions from September to December based on issues such as creating a regional mindset, diversity, environment, economy, urban revitalization and transportation.

“The purpose of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance was, in part, to foster an understanding of West Michigan as a globally competitive region,” said John Brown, president of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “And our hope is that Leadership West Michigan will work to develop globally competitive leaders.”

National, regional and local experts will be interacting with the group, as will a Chicago-based research group that specializes in helping teams to gather vivid, highly visual information about the patterns of everyday life and then to synthesize that information into insights about unmet needs and opportunities for growth and change.

For additional information and application, interested individuals may contact the Grand Rapids, Holland or Muskegon chambers.           

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