Bookmark and Share

EVENTS

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Upcoming Events

Information about our Professional Development Event is coming soon!

Photos coming soon from our September Social Bl²ender!


June 2014
Professional Development hosted and sponsored by Varnum
333 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Click here to view program


May 2014
Social Networking BL²ENDer hosted at the Downtown Market featuring Malamiah Juice Bar and Love's Ice Cream
435 Ionia Ave. SW
Grand Rapids, MI
49503


April 2014
Community Outreach event in partnership
with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and Michigan Blood
29 Pearl NW Suite 1
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


March 2014
Professional Development Event hosted and sponsored by LaFontsee Galleries
833 Lake Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Are You Built to Last? was hosted and sponsored by LaFontsee Galleries and featured Bill Manns, President and CEO of Mercy Health Saint Mary's. Participants learned how his vision of Grand Rapids will create new jobs and he also shared how young professionals can be competitive in their community by building genuine business relationships.


February 2014
Social Networking BL²ENDer at LINC Community Revitalization Inc.
1167 Madison Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507


January 2014
Community Outreach in partnership with Degage
144 Division Ave S
Grand Rapids, MI 4950
3


December 2013
BL²END Christmas Party and Food Drive hosted by WMCAT
98 East Fulton
Suite 202
Grand Rapids,
MI 49503


November 2013
Professional Development hosted and sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield 86 Monroe Center
8th Floor Auditorium
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


October 2013
Community Outreach event in partnership with the Center for Michigan hosted at Cascade Engineering
3400 Innovation Ct. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


September 2013
Social Networking BL²ENDer at Peppino's Downtown Sports Lounge
130 Ionia Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


August 2013
Community Outreach Event in partnership with GRAAHI
Martin Luther King Jr. Park
900 Fuller Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507


July 2013
Young Professionals of Color Conference in partnership with Cascade Consulting Group

Cascade Consulting Group hosted and presented the second annual Young Professionals of Color Conference on July 24, 2013 at Gordon Food Service. Last year, this conference convened fifty young professionals of color on Varnum’s 17th floor overlooking Grand Rapids’ amazing cityscape. This year, over 80 young professionals of color gathered together to learn how to define their own success through interactive workshops, goal setting exercises, and introspective activities that were both engaging and enlightening!

To view more photos of this event, click here.
To view the event program, click here.


June 2013
Community Outreach Event in partnership with The Salvation Army

1235 Fulton St.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


May 2013
Social Networking BL²ENDer at Carrabba's Italian Grill

4061 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512


April 2013
Community Outreach Event in partnership with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
and City of Grand Rapids

Riverside Park
2907 Monroe Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505


March 2013
Professional Development Event hosted and sponsored by BISSELL Homecare, Inc.

2345 Walker Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544

"Relationships...Make Them Last Forever! was hosted and sponsored by BISSELL Homecare, Inc. and featured Adrien Lewis, Director of Chemical Packaging and Angela M. Smith, Director of Strategic Purchasing. Participants learned about some of the key elements to a healthy, sustainable and meaningful business relationship. Participants also learned how to leverage their business relationships and make them last!


February 2013
Social Networking BL²ENDer at LINC Revitalization Inc.

1167 Madison Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507


January 2013
Community Outreach Event at Dégagé Ministries

144 Division Ave S
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


December 2012
Holiday Social Networking BL²ENDer at Houlihan's

1968 Breton Road SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506


November 2012
Professional Development Event hosted and sponsored by Gordon Food Service
1300 Gezon Parkway
Grand Rapids, MI 49509

"Best Kept Secrets to Success: How to Manage People, Select the Best Opportunities and Leverage your Experiences," was hosted and sponsored by Gordon Food Service, and featured Clif Charles Jr., Director of Diversity/ Employee Relations. Participants learned how they can dictate being a victim or victor in their professional career and personal life. They were also given the opportunity to take a guided tour of t

he newly built GFS Home Office and met with recruiters to learn about the career opportunities available at Gordon Food Service!


October 2012
Community Outreach Event in partnership with Mosaic Film Experience
Celebration Cinema
1506 Eastport Drive

Grand Rapids, MI 49508


September 2012
Social Networking BL²ENDer and Community Outreach Event in partnership with
Fair Housing Center of West Michigan and the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS
Social Networking Reception was held at:
One Trick Pony
136 Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


August 2012
BL²ENDer + Unwind at Blue Water Grill
5180 Northland Drive
Grand Rapids, MI 49525


August 2012
Young Professionals of Color Conference in partnership with
Cascade Consulting Group

The day-long conference featured high caliber speakers of color from a variety of industries. The attendees learned about the landscape of opportunity in Grand Rapids and were given the tools and resources to be successful as a professional of color in West Michigan. They alsor gained insight from leaders in the community who can speak to the challenges and success they are currently faced with in our community. Varnum was the Exclusive Platinum Sponsor and BL²END was proud to be the Young Professionals Partner.

For more photos of the event please visit the Cascade Consulting Group website.

Program (View or print)

_________________________________________________________________________

July 2012
Social Networking BL²ENDer at Centennial Country Club
3361 Charlevoix Dr. SE
Grand Rapids, MI  49546


June 2012
Professional Development Event
Hosted and Sponsored by Varnum LLP

Best Kept Secrets to Success: How to Manage People, Select the Best Opportunities and Leverage your Experiences,” was hosted and sponsored by Varnum LLP, and featured Mary Brown. Participants learned about the mental constructs they can adopt in order to change and influence their own behavior for a successful future.


May 2012
Volunteer Committee Orientation
Cascade Engineering
3400 Innovation Ct.
Grand Rapids, MI 49512


April 2012
Community Outreach in Partnership with Kent County Prevention Coalition
"Live Out Loud: Dream IT, Believe IT, Achieve IT" Youth Summit
DeVos Place
303 Monroe Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503



Social Networking BL²ENDer
Hosted and sponsored by Northwood University
515 Michigan Street Northeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


March 2012
Professional Develpoment Event
Hosted and sponsored by
Van Andel Institute
333 Bostwick Ave N.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

"Best Kept Secrets to Success: How to Manage People, Select the Best Opportunities and Leverage your Experiences," was hosted and sponsored by the Van Andel Institute, and featured Love Collins III. Participants learned about his educational, professional and community leadership experiences that led him to the Van Andel Institute. Participants also had the opportunity to have one on one conversations with Love Collins III and guided tours from Julie Turner, Assistant Dean at the Van Andel Institute.


March 2012
Community Outreach in partnership with LaughFest
Grand Rapids Community College, Ford Fieldhouse
Grand Rapids, MI 49546


February 2012
Social Networking BL²ENDer at Shiraz Grille
2739 Breton Rd. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546


January 2012
BL²END 101
Tuesday, January 31

Participants learned about the history, organizational structure, mission and vision of BL²END, and how it operates as a 100% volunteer organization, with newly acquired 501c7 nonprofit status. They also learned about opportunities to volunteer and get more involved as a participant, corporate partner and community organization, and met board and advisory council members.


December 2011
BL²END Holiday Mixer and Clothing Drive at Romano's Macaroni Grill
5525 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Undergarments were collected for Grand Rapids Public Schools


November 2011
Social Networking BL²ENDer and Community Outreach at Ju Sushi Lounge
1144 E Paris Ave SE, Ste 9
Grand Rapids, MI 49546


October 2011
ANC Give! Creating a Culture of Giving
Hosted by DeVos Place Convention Center/ Convention Arena Authority and sponsored by Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
The event media sponsor was GRNow
303 Monroe Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

GIVE! Creating a Culture of Giving conversation featured a panel of local charitable organizations talking about how they saw young professionals getting involved in the community. The goal of the event was to create a conversation in which charitable organizations could learn how young professionals view giving and how what opportunities exist for and how to get more involved in our community.

Event Panelists Included:

A New Conversation Organization Partners


October 2011
Professional Development Event
Hosted and sponsored by Grand Rapids Community Foundation
185 Oakes St SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Advice, Wisdom and Insight in a Flash -- Speed Mentoring for Your Success, hosted and sponsored by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation focused on speed mentoring featuring 15 diverse leaders in the community representing a variety of fields including: business/corporate, education, entrepreneurism, financial services, healthcare, legal, philanthropy, and public service/government.

Mentoring Opportunity
Mentoring makes a difference for a young child. If you are interested in mentoring opportunities, please see the brochure below for more information. You may also contact Ruth Bishop, Program Coordinator of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation via email at rbishop@grfoundation.org.


September 2011
Social Networking BL²ENDer at CitySen Lounge
83 Monroe Center St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


August 2011
BL²END Five-Year Anniversary Gala
DeVos Place
Grand Rapids, MI

On Monday, August 15, 2011, BL²END celebrated five years of Passion. Leadership. Legacy. Five years of BL²END! The gala was made possible by generous event and table partners, and brought nearly 600 guests together in celebration of the significant milestone.


July 2011
Social Networking BL²ENDer at Peppino's Grille & Pizzeria Sports Lounge
1515 Eastport Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508


July 2011
Community Outreach
in partnership with ICCF
1148 Madison SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507


June 2011
Community Outreach
in partnership with ICCF
The 700 block of Jefferson
Grand Rapids, MI


June 2011
Professional Development Event
Hosted and sponsored by Varnum
Bridgewater Place
333 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI
What Makes You Tick and What Ticks You Off?: Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolutions Tips for your Success, hosted by Varnum, featuring Tracey Brame, the Assistant Dean at the Grand Rapids campus of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and Kenyatta Brame, Chief Administrative Officer and Group Vice President of Cascade Engineering. Kenyatta and Tracey talked to participants about the importance of emotional intelligence and conflict management in the work place.


May 2011
Social Networking Event
Sponsored by 25 Kitchen+Bar
25 Kichen+Bar
Grand Rapids, MI

April 2011
Professional Development Event
Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank, University Club
Grand Rapids, MI


March 2011
Community Outreach
in partnership with LaughFest
Grand Rapids Community College, Ford Fieldhouse
Grand Rapids, MI


February 2011
Community Outreach
in partnership with Kids' Food Basket
2055 Oak Industrial Drive, Suite C
Grand Rapids, MI


January 2011
Social Networking BL²ENDer at Twisted Rooster
1600 East Beltline Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI


December 2010
Holiday Social Networking BL²ENDer
at
JW Marriott Grand Rapids in six.one.six Mixology lounge
235 Louis Campau NW
Grand Rapids, MI


November 2010
Professional Development
hosted and sponsored by
Farmers/Foremost Insurance.
Featuring Birgit Klohs, President & CEO, of The Right Place, Inc. Birgit has over 20 years of experience in economic development, and shared the personal, educational, professional and community leadership experiences which shaped her journey under the "Unconventional Leadership Experiences and Opportunities" professional development theme of 2010.


October 2010
A New Conversation: VOTE! Be the Change You Want to See
Sponsored by the Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) & SMG, the second annual community conversation united five partner organizations to build relationships, exchange ideas and empower our community for success. Business and community leaders, young professionals and college students started a new conversation around education and empowerment, while engaging in dialogue around the issues affecting our community during the November 2010 political races.

A New Conversation Partners

Asian Professionals Organization
BL²END
• Grand Rapids Young Professionals
West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids


September 2010
BL²END 101

Participants learned about the history, organizational structure, mission and vision of BL²END, and how it operates as a 100% volunteer organization, with newly acquired 501c7 nonprofit status. They also learned about opportunities to volunteer and get more involved as a participant, corporate partner and community organization, and met board and advisory council members.


August 2010
Professional Development
hosted and sponsored by Varnum. Featuring Kimberly Coffman, Manager, Supplier Diversity at Herman Miller, Inc. and Valencia Cooper, Executive Business Consultant at Michigan Minority Business Enterprise Center. Kimberly and Valencia have extensive experience in supplier diversity, and shared the educational, professional and community leadership experiences which shaped their career path under the "Unconventional Leadership Experiences and Opportunities" professional development theme of 2010.


June 2010
Community Outreach

in partnership with Blandford Nature Center


May 2010
Professional Development

hosted by Grand Valley State University, Inclusion and Equity Division
featuring Dr. Jeanne Arnold, Vice President, Inclusion and Equity Division
Participants were engaged in an informal dialogue with Jeanne Arnold, a professional with extensive experiences in traditional social work and higher education environments. Dr. Arnold shared her educational, professional and community leadership experiences with participants under the "Unconventional Leadership Experiences and Opportunities" professional development theme of the year.


May 2010
Community Outreach

in partnership with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks


April 2010
Social Networking BL²ENDer
Blue Water Grill
5180 Northland Drive, Grand Rapids, MI


March 2010
Community Outreach
in partnership with Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF)


December 2009
Social Networking BL²ENDer
at JW Marriott Grand Rapids
six.one.six "Mixology" lounge
235 Louis Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI


November 2009
Professional Development
hosted by Cornerstone University
"Global Leadership Experiences & Opportunities"
featuring Sandra Upton, Ph.D., Dean, Business Programs, Professional and Graduate Studies (PGS) Division. Participants were engaged in an insightful dialogue with Dr. Sandra Upton, a professor, dean and organizational development consultant, with extensive business and higher education leadership experience.


October 2009
Community Outreach

hosted by Mercantile Bank of Michigan
“Understanding your Credit and Buying your First Home”
featuring Andrew M. Baker, AVP, Mortgage Lender at Mercantile, and Takara Taylor, BS, Licensed Realtor at Audu Real Estate


September 2009
Professional Development
hosted by Steelcase Inc.
"Global Leadership Experiences & Opportunities"
featuring Brian Cloyd, Vice President, Global Community Relations, Steelcase Inc. Participants were engaged in a dialogue with Brian Cloyd, a Steelcase Inc. executive with extensive corporate leadership experience, and learned more about his background and global leadership experiences and opportunities available today.

Photos courtesy of 1080 HD Productions.


August 2009
BL²END presents "A New Conversation"

sponsored by SMG and the Convention/Arena Authority
featuring partner organizations including the Asian Professionals Organization; Grand Rapids Young Professionals; West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network
DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI


July 2009
Community Outreach event

in partnership with the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
North Park Elementary School
3375 Cheney Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI


June 2009
Social Networking BL²ENDer at Bistro Bella Vita
44 Grandville Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI


May 2009
Community Outreach
hosted and sponsored by Guiding Light Mission
255 South Division, Grand Rapids, MI
www.guidinglightmission.org


April 2009
True Colors® Personal Success Seminar at GRCC Tassell M-TEC Building
622 Godfrey SW, Grand Rapids, MI
featuring MarcQus Wright of Quality Collaborators

www.qualityteams.com


April 2009
Social  Networking BL²ENDer
at Republic
45 South Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI


March 2009
Professional Development

hosted by Amway
"Global Leadership Experiences & Opportunities"
featuring Candace Matthews, Chief Marketing Officer, Amway. Participants were engaged in an insightful dialogue with Candace Matthews, an Amway executive with extensive corporate leadership experience, and learned more about her background and global leadership experiences and opportunities available today.


February 2009
Social  Networking
with The Grand Rapids Symphony
Symphony with Soul concert, and "post-concert" Celebration of Soul reception
DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI



January 2009
Social  Networking BL²ENDer
at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids
six.one.six "Mixology" lounge
235 Louis Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI

December 2008
Social  Networking BL²ENDer
at Churchill's Bar & Bistro
 70 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI


November 2008
The "Young Professionals Issues" Forum
brought together local community leaders and dynamic young professionals from BL²END, the Grand Rapids Young Professionals, and the Center for Community Leadership, a resource of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, to discuss topics critical to recruitment and retention of young professionals, including employment, diversity, entertainment, transportation, and downtown housing options.

 
Panel Members

  • Mike Freed, CFO, Spectrum Health
  • George Heartwell, Mayor, City of Grand Rapids
  • Eli Lumpkins, Commissioner, City of Grand Rapids
  • Rich MacKeigan, General Manager, SMG
  • Suzanne Schulz, Planning Director, City of Grand Rapids
Moderator
Eva Aguirre Cooper, Communications Director, WOOD TV8/WOTV4/WXSP

October 2008
Professional Development

sponsored by Cascade Engineering
"A New Day: The Changing Face of Executive Leadership" Career Panel, featured local executives of color who shared their educational, professional, and community leadership experiences responsible for shaping them into the influential leaders they are today.

Panel Members

  • Sonali Allen, Vice President of Community Development, Mercantile Bank
  • Kenyatta Brame, Senior Vice President, Department of Business Services, Cascade Engineering
  • Floriza Genautis, CEO & Founder, Management Business Solutions
  • Mark Iverson, Director, Organizational Integrity, Saint Mary's Health Care/Trinity Health
  • Karen Morris,Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Government Relations, Meijer, Inc.
  • Patrick Miles, Jr., Member, Dickinson Wright PLLC
  • Lauri Parks, City Clerk, City of Grand Rapids
  • Jonse Young, Donor Services Director, Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Moderator
Shaquanda S. Gordon, PHR
, Manager, Human Resources - Eastern Region, Priority Health


September 2008
Social Networking BL²ENDer at McFadden's
58 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI


August 2008
Community Outreach
BL²END partnered with the Inner City Christian Confederation (ICCF) to make a difference in the lives of low-income families within our community.


July 2008
The Second Annual Minority Intern Skyline Reception
took place on the 17th floor of the Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett law firm located at Bridgewater Place, in downtown Grand Rapids. The event was hosted by the Multiracial Association of Professionals (MAP), a program of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Black Professionals and Executives Network (BPEN), BL²END, and the Asian Professionals Organization (APO).


June 2008
Professional Development

"Networking in the 21st Century"
Sponsored by Spectrum Health
Presenter: Jerry Conrad
, MA, DTM, CSP, CEO, S.G. Maverick, Inc.


May  2008
Social Networking BL²ENDer

Spectrum Lanes


April  2008
Social Networking BL²ENDer
at Naya Bistro & Wine Bar
1144 E Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI


March 2008
Community Outreach

The Process: From a Student to a Professional” Panel, in partnership with
Grand Valley State University, Office of Multicultural Affairs
BL²END Panelists
Anissa Eddie, School Social Worker, Cedar Springs Public Schools
Darquillius Johnson, Graduate Assistant, Grand Valley State University,
Office of Student Life

Cynthia Offutt, Human Resource Manager, AIS Construction Equipment
Angela Nelson, Contributions Specialist, Alticor, Inc.
Marnique Harris, Student Outreach & Recruitment, Western Michigan University College of Aviation


March 2008
Professional Development

"Young Professionals and Career"
Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
Presenter: Christopher Macon, Professional Development Consultant, Fifth Third Bank


January 2008
Social Networking BL²ENDer Churhills Bar & Bistro
70 Ionia Ave SW,Grand Rapids, MI


November 2007

Social Networking BL²ENDer at McFadden’s
58 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI

    Home
    About Us
    Strategic Initiatives
    Events
    Five-Year Anniversary
    Partners
    Leadership
    In the News
    FAQs
    Contact Us
   

Copyright © 2008-2013. BL²END Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions. All rights reserved.
Mercy Health Lafontsee Galleries Amway Grand Rapids Blend Varnum Cascade Engineering