Elissa Sangalli

Elissa Sangalli

Elissa Sangalli is committed to working at the leading edge of values-based capitalism — building sustainable local economies that put people first. As the president of Grand Rapids-based Local First since 2007, Sangalli has brought together nearly a thousand businesses in West Michigan to collaborate in building a vibrant community that encourages sustainable business development. She has been named an Exemplary Executive by the Grand Rapids Young Non-Profit Professionals, a B Corp Measure What Matters Champion and one of the Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty leaders three times. She is also a Business Alliance for Local Living Economies fellow and a B Corp ambassador.


Unpacking sustainability

October 31, 2019
How do you define sustainability? We use this term so often, but what does it really mean? I’ve seen it tied to environmentalism: using less energy, fewer natural resources, reducing, reusing and recycling. While all of these things help us sustain our place on the planet, there’s more to sustainable business than offsetting a carbon footprint. Read More

Why humanizing business matters

June 28, 2019
Over the years, we have done a lot to promote the importance of local ownership. Read More

4 business goals to consider for 2019

January 4, 2019
Do you ever set New Year’s resolutions, but have trouble sticking to them? You’re not alone. According to a U.S. News report, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Read More

Make an impact with your dollar this holiday season

November 30, 2018
The average American will spend about $1,000 this year during the holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. While more than half of Americans plan on shopping online and at department stores, only 23 percent of Americans plan to purchase from a local business. Read More

How to build a purpose-led business

October 8, 2018
Purpose-led businesses are popping up all over Michigan. There are now 19 B Corps and about 100 businesses that have become Good for Michigan. Around the world, there are more than 2,600 B Corps that have incorporated their values into their businesses and made it their mission to make a positive impact on people and the environment. Read More

To keep growing, West Michigan must reduce barriers to opportunity

August 31, 2018
Communities across the United States, both large and small, are undergoing revitalization. Restaurants, cafés and grocery stores are moving into neighborhoods, and new businesses are filling in long-vacant properties. Unemployment rates are at or near all-time lows, and many employers have open positions to fill. While this is good news for the local economy, it also brings a number of challenges for traditionally marginalized communities. As our cities evolve, we must ask ourselves: How do we ensure everyone can benefit from growth? Read More

It takes a community to cultivate a culture of local first

July 31, 2018
When I graduated from college, it wasn’t uncommon for my friends to pick a place on a map and move across the country to find jobs. Over a decade later, Grand Rapids has become a bright spot on the map where people from all over the country want to move. Read More

5 simple ways to green your business

June 26, 2018
As a business owner, every decision you make impacts your bottom line. By taking steps to green your business, you can make a positive impact on the environment, your business and our community. Read More

7 non-traditional benefits small businesses can offer employees

April 30, 2018
Employers nationwide are struggling to attract and retain talent. In fact, 40 percent of U.S. employees are going to look for a new job this year, with one of the leading reasons being compensation and benefits, according to research by the Society for Human Resource Management. Read More

The impact of being a purpose-led business

March 30, 2018
Using business as a force for good isn’t just a West Michigan practice. It’s a movement that’s happening across the country and around the world. Read More