The Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) recently announced the Birgit M. Klohs Fellowship. Birgit Klohs, President & CEO, The Right Place, Inc., first joined MEDA in 1977 when she worked for the Berrien County Economic Development Corporation and was one of MEDA’s first three female members. Birgit recently announced her retirement, which will take place on January 31, 2021 after 33 years of leadership at The Right Place, Inc., the premiere economic development entity in West Michigan. An August 6 press release from The Right Place, Inc., says “During her 33 years with The Right Place, Inc. the organization collaborated with state and local leaders and business executives to create more than $5 billion in economic investment in the region and generate more than 46,000 jobs.”
The goal of the fellowship will be to increase women and minority participation in economic development in a way that supports MEDA’s membership, its committees, and the organization as a whole, by increasing opportunities for the education needed to build each recipient’s skills the abilities in economic development.
MEDA is a professional society with members throughout the state that attract and grow business, create and retain jobs, and make Michigan communities prosperous places to live. The Association is celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2020, so announcing the Fellowship at this Annual Meeting, when Birgit is a speaker on the topic of “Economic Development Before and After a Crisis” marks an incredibly special occasion. Her leadership will provide valuable insight to the attendees so they can meet the challenges brought about in 2020 and the Fellowship will build leaders for years to come.
The Fellowship will be managed by MEDA’s Emerging Leaders Committee. The first awardee is expected to be announced at MEDA’s 2021 Annual Meeting, which is scheduled to be in Grand Rapids.
“I am immensely honored and grateful to my fellow economic developers at MEDA for the creation of this fellowship,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “Increasing opportunities for women and people of color is critical to the future of the economic development profession and our state’s prosperity, and I look forward to seeing the success of future fellowship awardees.”
John Avery, MEDA’s Executive Director, said of the Fellowship, “Birgit is a role model. She embodies success in the profession after growing during a time when there were not many females in the profession. MEDA looks forward to helping women and minorities grow in the profession in her honor.”