Q&A: Hadley Streng


Hadley Streng. Courtesy Grand Haven Area Community Foundation

Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.

Hadley Streng, president of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, is originally from Grand Haven and has spent the past two decades in the greater Chicago area.

Streng has a strong background in strategic planning, community outreach and nonprofit governance.

As a Grand Haven High School student, Streng was part of the foundation’s original Youth Project Committee that formed the organization's Youth Advisory Council, which is now approaching its 30th anniversary.

Biggest career break?

I spent the first 10 years of my professional career in consulting, which exposed me to a variety of businesses and organizations, as well as many different business functions. Consulting gave me the skills to quickly adjust my focus to what is needed at that moment and the ability to manage multiple projects. I was also very fortunate to work with many people over the years who became wonderful mentors.

Proudest moment?

I have two: my dad walking me down the aisle to marry my husband Bill; and welcoming three terrific children into this world.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t worry about things that are out of your control. Focus on what you can impact.

How did you make your first dollar?

Working at Temptations Ice Cream Shop on Chinook Pier in Grand Haven. I scooped so much ice cream my first few days I literally thought I broke my arm.

Most-treasured possession?

I like things that represent family history. One example is a small collection of Indian arrowheads that my grandfather found in the Michigan sand dunes as a child. He would hide them outside for the grandkids to find. At the time, I believed that I found them.

Dream job?

I think I have it. I’ve learned from all my career opportunities, but having been part of the GHACF Youth Project in high school and returning to lead the organization tops the list. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

If you were president for a day, you would … ?

Bring a lot of smart, strong people with me. I always want to surround myself with a good team.

Last book you read?

I recently re-read “The Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. The leadership practices they identified are ones I try to use daily.

Last search term you googled?

Anything and everything related to relocating: housing, moving companies, school ratings, after-school care, sports, etc.

Your worst habit?

Multi-tasking, especially at home

To unwind, you like to … ?

Enjoy the outdoors. This time of year, that might mean sitting on the couch looking out the window.

Dream vacation?

In college, I spent a semester in Luxembourg and was able to travel all over Europe. I’d love to go back someday.

Favorite food?


Person you most admire?

My parents and grandparents. Not only did they teach me about work ethic, but the importance of helping others. I learned this through observing them and understanding that making an impact can come in many different forms.

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