Videos: Community welcomes women leaders


The Grand Rapids Art Museum hosted the Welcome for Women Leaders event. Photo via

Six women leaders who are new to or who have recently returned to the Grand Rapids community were welcomed during a special networking and recognition event, Welcome for Women Leaders.

The invitation-only event was hosted by partner organizations Varnum, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, WOTV and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The organizations came together to host the event last week, following discussions on how to best attract and retain talent to the community.

It was determined that helping women connect with one another and providing access to leadership in the community is essential to keeping current and future women leaders, and leaders in general, in Grand Rapids.

The leaders who were recognized are:

Jessica Cruz, associate director of the Center for Latino Studies at Ferris State University

Kim Dabbs, executive director of West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology

Mimi Fritz, CEO of the Downtown Market

Veronica Garcia, executive director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Jennifer Jurgens, executive director of Susan G. Komen West Michigan

Kim McLaughlin, director of inclusion and community leadership at Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Carroll Velie, director of human resources at Varnum and an event organizer, said she expects additional programs and similarly focused sessions to follow.

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