[Skip to Content]

The Right Place

Investor Breakfast Series

Exclusive Right Place Investor Benefit

Three times a year The Right Place hosts investors only breakfast events. The events feature an organizational update from The Right Place President and CEO, Birgit Klohs, a feature presentation on a current West Michigan economic development topic, and networking time to connect with key executives from other companies in the Grand Rapids region.

If you would like more information about our Investor Breakfast Series and how to attend, please contact Vice President of Investor Relations, Brad Comment, at bcomment@rightplace.org

Upcoming Investor Breakfasts

February 20th, 2019
Topic: TBA

June 13th, 2019
Topic: TBA

October 29th, 2019
Topic: TBA

Investor Breakfast Recaps

November 8th, 2018

For our final Investor Breakfast of 2018, The Right Place invited Chief Diversity Officer at Calvin College, Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, to speak to our investors on the topic of diversity and inclusion.

Her presentation, Creating Effective and Inclusive Talent and Retention Strategies, addressed common struggles and mistakes made by businesses attempting to embrace a more inclusive culture. She began with some statistics pointing to the benefits of prioritizing a diversified workplace, stating that companies which are top ranked for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above the national medians for their industries.

When addressing inclusive recruitment strategies, Dr. Loyd-Paige highlighted some of the following points:

  • Once an employee has finished onboarding, the process is not over. Mentorship is a valuable and vital tool to assist new talent with integrating themselves into the community. Sometimes it’s specific to their job, but it can also be related to life outside of work, like recommendations for salons, grocery stores, and other day-to-day resources they might need in a community they’re unfamiliar with.
  • Realizing implicit bias is a prevalent issue in the American workforce. Implicit bias can be described as the unconscious attribution of certain qualities to an individual based on stereotypes believed of their race, gender, or cultural background. Operating under the assumption that someone can be “lumped” into a category of liking or disliking certain things simply because of association can be damaging to a business attempting to develop a more diverse workforce.
  • The question of why your business would like to become a more diverse entity is an important one. Beginning with senior leadership, your business as a whole should place value on diversity and inclusion. If it’s simply for the “numbers game,” or a desire to appear more diverse to the community, then it is not for the right reasons, Loyd-Paige says.

You can download Dr. Loyd-Paige’s full presentation here.

June 20th, 2018

The second Right Place Investor Breakfast of 2018 addressed cybersecurity and protecting critical data from hackers.

Three industry experts gave presentations and sat on a panel to discuss challenges for businesses facing security breaches. The average cost of a data breach in the U.S. is $7.3 million, a culmination of indirect and direct expenses that arise. With the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies have to take a close look at their plans for handling sensitive information, and responding to a breach.

However, the panelists pointed out that not all solutions are high-tech. The risk of exposure can be mitigated with proper employee training, well-structured policies and procedures, and a closer look at cyber insurance coverage.

The panel was moderated by Jeff Williams, managing partner at Atomic Object, and included the following participants:

Our team can help connect you to cybersecurity resources in West Michigan. Contact Jen Wangler at wanglerj@rightplace.org to learn more.

See event photos here

February 20th, 2018

The Right Place's first Investor Breakfast of 2018 featured a discussion on transportation and mobility, a hot topic for Michigan and its automotive industry.

Kirk Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, spoke about continuing the mobility momentum in the U.S. and what it means for Michigan. All freight modes are expected to experience an increase in tonnage by 2040, requiring more focus on highway, rail, and air transportation.

Steudle discussed how the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and the Gordie Howe International Bridge plan to improve these modes of transportation. Attendees also learned about Michigan transportation's integration with emerging autonomous vehicle technology. Overall, the event brought in more than 130 attendees from 93 different companies.

See photos from the event here.

November 8th, 2017

The Right Place's final Investor Breakfast of 2017 featured a panel discussion on the future of mobility and its impact on West Michigan.

The way people and freight travel from point A to point B will transform dramatically in the coming decade and beyond. Advances in autonomous vehicle technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data are revolutionizing the transit experience. A revolution that has the potential to impact every business and community in the U.S.

Several industry experts participated in the panel discussion:

  • Elizabeth “Betsy” Fretwell, the Senior Vice President of Switch Communities
  • David Carlson, US Manufacturing and Automotive Practice Leader, Marsh
  • Gene Hawkins, Vice President, Engineering, ADAC Automotive
  • Glenn Stevens, Executive Director, MICH Auto and VP of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber

The event brought in over 170 attendees representing 113 different companies.

June 8th, 2017

Investor Break panel discussion

The Right Place’s second Investor Breakfast of 2017 focused on the newly launched West Michigan Regional Dashboard, an online tool that tracks the region’s overall growth and prosperity using a common set of social, economic, and environmental indicators.

Although several organizations are collecting, tracking, and sharing valuable data within the region, a common set of shared indicators for the entire region is needed. Thus, the West Michigan Regional Dashboard was created; a measurement tool empowering communities in the region to begin strategic change and build collective action.

Attendees learned how the dashboard was developed, who participated in its development, and how it will be used to drive future regional prosperity initiatives. Brian Walker, president and CEO, Herman Miller, Carla Roberts, president and CEO, Fremont Area Community Foundation and Claire Khouri, Deputy Director of Strategy, Office of Governor Rick Snyder participated in a panel discussion on ways to engage with and use the dashboard.

See photos from the event here.

February 8th, 2017

Brian Walker Presentation

Our first Investor Breakfast of 2017 featured the unveiling of The Right Place 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. This three-year plan, developed in partnership with PwC, identifies a system of economic strategies that will lead to long-term economic prosperity. The plan focuses The Right Place’s efforts to improve the region’s economic foundations and spur growth in several strategic areas.

During the next three years, The Right Place will continue to advance the West Michigan economy by retaining and attracting premier companies, jobs, and investment. As investors in The Right Place and West Michigan, we are proud to have your support in this new strategic plan. Working together, we are confident West Michigan will experience continued economic success.

See photos from the event here.

November 1st, 2016

Photo from the Investor BreakfastOur final Investor Breakfast of 2016 took place November 1st at the Loosemore Auditorium on Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus in Downtown Grand Rapids. The breakfast’s featured speaker was Ann Harten, Vice President of Global HR at Haworth and current Chair of Hello West Michigan.

In January, we announced a new strategic partnership with Hello West Michigan, the region’s premier talent attraction and retention organization. Through this partnership, we are playing a key role in retaining and attracting the talent our region needs.

Ann Harten discussed Hello West Michigan’s efforts to elevate the region and assist companies with their talents needs. She also spoke about how the organization is proactively marketing to and attracting new talent to the region. Learn more about Hello West Michigan at their website.

June 14th, 2016

The Right Place investor breakfast took place at the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Bill Payne, Vice Chair, Amway Corp., and Chair of the Regional Air Alliance provided insight into the expansion the airport is currently undergoing, including the Gateway Campaign; the changes in governance at the airport; as well as the growth the airport is experiencing due to increased air service and demand.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is critical to the future growth of our region. It is more than just infrastructure, it is the “front door” to our community; and its importance is increasing for business attraction and retention; as well as the attraction of conventions and visitors.

Photo from the Investor BreakfastThe investor breakfast also included special guests Dick Devos, President, Windquest Group, along with Pat Cwayna, CEO, West Michigan Aviation Academy. Their presentation provided a thoughtful overview of the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The West Michigan Aviation Academy is a tuition-free public charter high school and is preparing students; through an aviation focus, for unlimited opportunities, including college achievement, career success, and engaged citizenship.

The event brought in over 120 investors representing 72 companies, local government, and organizations. For a list of those companies represented please click here.

Photo Gallery
To view photos of the breakfast, please click here.

If you're interested in obtaining the presentations, please connect Brad Comment, Vice President of Investor Relations at The Right Place: bcomment@rightplace.org or 616.771.0560