Lakeshore deserves more ‘Influential’ representation

March 14, 2014
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This is a time when West Michigan needs to speak up. All of us who have an interest in moving our communities in a positive strategic manner must look for growth in the vitality of all of West Michigan. We need to think regionally.

The Grand Rapids Business Journal continues to spotlight lakeshore business news. What could be more important than celebrating one of our top resources, West Michigan’s talented leaders?

The recent Business Journal special publication listing The 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan caught my attention. It has motivated me to write this letter, a passionate plea for regionalism and celebration of some of our top talent that was missed. We have great, talented and gifted leaders in West Michigan on the lakeshore who were not included.

We are all very quick to claim the beautiful lakeshore beaches as an asset that brings and helps keep talent here in our region. This beautiful geography is shared with communities as far as 30 miles away. It helps us all be a part of the “lakeshore.”

Close to this great beach and beautiful body of water you will find a huge pool of people resources. Many of you would agree with me that without these great talented folks, our region would not be in the Michigan spotlight for business growth and vitality.

So, where are all of the great ladies of the communities 30 miles west of Grand Rapids on the list of talent? Not one of our West Coast Chamber community influential women was included. Other regional communities were also left out.

So what do we do about this? My challenge to you is:

  • First we celebrate the great talent that is on the list.
  • Next time, we must all take the time to get nominations in and let those who make the selections know that we have great women in all of the West Michigan region.
  • Right now you could take the time to email or write a handwritten note to those talented women you work with and see making an impact right where you live — the West Michigan region.

Jim Schoettle
Executive director of development
West Coast Chamber of Commerce

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