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Diversity Business Council
August 9 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
One event on November 8, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Join us for a wonderful and timely presentation!
Preparing for the “New American” Workforce
Is your company ready to receive an international workforce and new American neighbor? Who is coming and from where? What to expect when your next hire is from the middle east, or speaks a language you can’t pronounce, or can fix the machine in record time, but doesn’t understand the timeclock. This presentation aims to introduce you to an amazing new workforce, reduce surprises, increase appreciation for our neighbors, and leave you with tools for further learning.
Laura Cronin, Director of West Michigan Friendship Center
Natasha Mueller, Community Engagement Director
Laura Cronin’s ability to appreciate people for who they are makes her a natural for bringing people from Muslim areas together to create community at the West Michigan Friendship Center. As director of the center for the last four years, she has shown her skill in making connections, building bridges, and creating a welcoming environment. Laura often finds herself in the role of peacemaker as she brings cultures, languages, ethnicities, and families together to live as neighbors. Under her leadership, the volunteers and the community members she serves, realize their potential for maximum success together. Laura’s time teaching in under-resourced neighborhoods, and directing international mission work has been put to good use here in West Michigan. A visionary leader and life-long learner, Laura believes valuing the individual, is good for cross-cultural relationships and good for business.
Natasha Mueller grew up in a home with Canadian, Swedish, and Haitian heritage. Her home was jokingly referred to as the Nelson hotel with frequent international visitors from every part of the world. She has participated in a multitude of racial reconciliation, cross-cultural, health equity, and social justice trainings. Natasha spent half a decade living in South America and served under leadership from various Latin American countries. In the U.S. she worked closely with the Cuban and Haitian refugee communities at Bethany Christian Services. Being one of the few native English speakers and U.S.-born persons on a multi-cultural team representing each continent and more than 5 countries, Natasha was honored when her colleagues asked her to lead the department’s cross-cultural training. Her favorite cross-cultural author is Duane Elmer and she believes curiosity is key to cultural understanding.
Wyoming and Kentwood are the largest two neighboring communities to Grand Rapid. With a combined community of 130K residents (Population: Wyoming = 75K and Kentwood = 55K) these two communities alone represent one of the most diversely represented communities with 40%, or 52k, people of color living and ultimately working in and around our local communities. This large segment of our local community has large implications on our entire community and is an asset we have an opportunity to assist talent shortages, new business initiatives, and growth opportunities.
As part of this advisory council, you will be working with key stakeholders to uncover and target actionable items that the council uncovers as having the most impact while remaining actionable items throughout our local business communities.
Being part of this advisory council will place you at the center of discussion as we look to uncover issues and concerns for those in the BIPOC communities of Wyoming, Kentwood and surrounding south Kent County suburban areas.
RSVP is required.