Graci Harkema, 35
Owner, diversity and inclusion consultant
Graci Harkema believes sharing her story will help inspire others on the journey toward workforce inclusion.
Born in a mud hut amid civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and given only a day to live due to disease and malnutrition, Harkema was adopted by loving missionary parents and moved to Grandville at the age of 4. She faced many struggles in her life, including being the only person of color in many of the spaces she occupied. The experience of finally being comfortable enough to come out as LGBTQ during a job interview with TEKsystems cemented her passion for helping people become their authentic selves in the workplace and training organizations to create more inclusive cultures.
Founder of the year-old management consulting firm Graci LLC, Harkema specializes in diversity, inclusion and implicit bias training and talent management for Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofits. She is dedicated to harnessing DEI best practices to ensure open and safe work environments.
Harkema volunteers on LGBTQ nonprofit boards and committees, including Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Our LGBT Fund. She is a member of the Grand Rapids Young Professionals’ DEI Advisory Council and also an avid supporter of her parents’ faith-based nonprofit, Heart for Central Africa, in her hometown of Bukavu, DRC.
Harkema was a GRBJ 40 Under 40 Business Leaders honoree in 2015. Among many other community speaking engagements, she was keynote for the Business Journal’s 2020 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan awards luncheon.