Archive for the ‘MAP’ Category.

• Chamber Recognizes Warner Attorney for Diversity Efforts (updated)

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of CommerceThe Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has selected Warner Norcross & Judd’s Rodney Martin as its Volunteer of the Month for October.

Martin is the firm’s Diversity Partner and chair of its Financial Services Group, as well as cochair of the Privacy and Information Security Taskforce.

Jeanne Englehart, president of the chamber, said Martin was selected for the honor based on his dedication to and support of the Multiracial Association of Professionals and the Regional Cultural Competency Advisory Council. He is the current chair of the MAP Advisory Council and participated in the planning for the chamber’s Minority Intern Welcome Reception.

“Your commitment to the MAP program and your involvement with the Regional Cultural Competency Advisory Council has been invaluable,” Englehart said. “You truly deserve this recognition.”

Martin will be honored at the chamber’s Oct. 21 board meeting and featured in the organization’s newsletter, The Chamber News.


Here are the remarks Rodney Martin made to the Chamber’s Board of Directors at its meeting on October 21:

I believe that we in Grand Rapids allow ourselves an easy out when we talk about recruiting and retaining employees of color.  We often blame our inability to attract and retain diverse candidates on the fact that we are recruiting for Grand Rapids.  In doing so, we perpetuate the self-defeating myth that Grand Rapids is a community that could not appeal to persons of color. 

That excuse doesn’t wash, however.  It doesn’t wash for at least two reasons:

First, it paints a inaccurate picture of our community.  The Grand Rapids Public Museum reports that over 60 ethnic groups call Grand Rapids home.  Their families came from all over the world to settle in west Michigan.  It is this rich diversity that attracted to locate 400 new jobs in our community.  Nearly 20 percent of our population is made up of persons of color.  While that is below the national average, it still very significant, and the number is growing.  The key for the Grand Rapids Business Community is to tap into the richness of our diverse backgrounds so we can present to new employees of color a welcoming community in which they can quickly feel at home.  And that is the mission of MAP.

The second reason this old excuse won’t wash is simply that if we continue as a community to perpetuate the myth and satisfy ourselves with the status quo, we will quickly find ourselves less and less able to compete in the new economy — a global, knowledge-based economy. If we want to compete in the global economy, we have to build a community that celebrates its diversity, a community that welcomes talented people of every race and color and allows them to contribute to our region’s future and to share in its success.

It is incumbent upon us as business leaders to refuse to continue to use our community as an excuse for our failure to recruit and retain persons of color.  We must instead recognize that our diversity is a great resource that can fuel our economic success.  We have to increase our awareness and appreciation of our cultural diversity and improve our ability to use that diversity as an asset to our region.  The Chamber and the West Michigan Chamber Coalition recognize this and are actively addressing it through the work of the Regional Cultural Competency Advisory Council, on which I am honored to serve.

I am grateful to the Chamber for its foresight and for its leadership, and for giving me the opportunity to contribute through MAP and the Regional Cultural Competency Advisory Council.  And I appreciate very much this recognition as volunteer of the month.  

• Circle Theatre Presents “Crowns”

CrownsIf you attended our tour of the Newcomers Exhibit at the Public Museum earlier this year and learned about the significance of hats in the African American church, you will be interested in play that just opened in Grand Rapids.  Circle Theatre, on the campus of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, is presenting Crowns through August 9 Crowns explores black history and identity through the experience of a young black girl sent south to live with her grandmother following a tragedy at home.   The hats worn by churchgoers dressed in their Sunday best are their “crowns.” Cast members use their crowns to tell tales of everything from etiquette to history to society behind a soundtrack of spirituals, blues, hip hop and rap.   Box office information is available on the Circle Theatre site on line at

The Multiracial Association of Professionals will be reserving a block of tickets for Tuesday, August 5.  Tickets are $20 if ordered through MAP.  If you would like to attend as part of MAP, let Rodney Martin know by Thursday, July 31 so he can make arrangements.

• MAP Offers Golf Programs for Women

The Multiracial Association of Professionals (“MAP”) offers a comprehensive golf program for women that provides instruction, etiquette, league play, and professional networking.  Here is how MAP describes the program:

“Get in the Game is designed for women – who love to golf – who want to golf better – who have never golfed before.

“Get in the Game is for any woman who has turned down an opportunity to participate in a golf outing because she was uncomfortable on the golf course, or missed a business opportunity taking place on the links. Get in the Game is a program designed for any woman that wants to do something for herself, raise her self-esteem, become more active, and learn one of the greatest games and universal business tool – GOLF.”

There are five different offerings in the program:

Front 9  (golf lessons)

The Front 9 provides women a non-threatening environment to learn the swing mechanics of golf. Each session will provide four 50-minute lessons that cover full swing and short game fundamentals. With a 6 to 1 teaching ratio, students are ensured individual attention.  

Spring Training Package

Get back into the swing of things with this Spring Training Package designed for returning golfers. Workout those early spring swing mechanics with a 50-minute lesson in full swing, a 50-minute short game lesson, video feedback swing analysis, and 90 practice range balls.   

Making the Turn (golf etiquette and rules)

Perhaps no other sport is governed by so many rules and required etiquette. Improve your performance by increasing your “on course” confidence and knowledge. During this two-hour clinic, you will be taught everything from PGA rules, to where not to drive a golf cart, to how to be a “ready” golfer. 

Mini – League (for beginner golfers)

The Mini-League: four holes, four weeks, 60-minute! Enjoy league play without performance pressure or a lengthy time commitment.  The Mini-League offers golfers four-hole play each week, for four consecutive weeks, and playtime is approximately 60 minutes. The Mini-league is a great opportunity for beginner golfers to enjoy league play!  

FORE! Golf League for Women

If you enjoy golf and networking, join Fore! A 12-week league designed for moderate to experienced female golfers. Played at the beautiful golf club, The Highlands, with convenient tee times! Golf partners are not needed to play in this league. To increase networking opportunities individuals will rotate to a different foursome each week. And for those that enjoy competition, individual handicaps and league standing will be available each week. Make  the time to enjoy the game of golf, join Fore! 

For more information about Get in the Game contact Sonya Hughes, VP of Diversity Initiatives at (616) 771-0321 or Latricia Trice, Diversity Program Coordinator at 616-771-0332.

 Get a registration form by visiting

• West Michigan Area Chambers of Commerce Set Strategy to Enhance Cultural Competence Throughout the Region

Strategies for a Culturally Competent RegionThe West Michigan Chamber Coalition (WMCC) has released a commissioned report, “Strategies for a Culturally Competent Region,” outlining a plan of action for the West Michigan community to support and enhance diversity and cultural competency throughout the region.  The report states that:

It is not a question of whether it would be nice or the right thing to do.  West Michigan must continue to mature and broaden its view and its acceptance of businesses, workers and residents of all types.  It is critical for the very survival of West Michigan – for our economy, our quality of life, and our continued success as a region. 

The report is the culmination of a series of focus groups in which participants were asked to explain their understanding of cultural competence and their views on the current state of cultural competence in West Michigan.  The report conclude with specific recommendations to businesses, individuals, government, educators, and faith communities on how to expand our cultural competency.


The report was prompted by a 2006 report issued by Michigan Future, Inc., a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization funded primarily by Michigan foundations to be the source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed in the Information Age.  The report, “A New Agenda for a New Michigan,” concluded that the first strategy is to “build a culture aligned with the flat world.”  The report says that “[i]n a world where economic growth is driven by knowledge and innovation, the most successful regions will be those which highly value: learning . . . an entrepreneurial spirit . . . [and] being welcoming to all.”   The report noted that:

The places that do the best in attracting talent from anywhere on the planet win. As Forbes magazine’s Rick Karlgaard noted, where smart people choose to live, robust economic activity will follow.

Regions need to embrace everyone. We need to be welcoming to immigrants, people from all religions, races, and ethnic groups and varied lifestyles. Leading-edge metropolitan areas are a tapestry of people from all backgrounds. Tolerant attitudes and great diversity characterize successful regions across the country.

The report continues:

We need to develop a culture that unambiguously celebrates diversity and nurtures tolerance. This means both building a culture that condemns rather than tolerates discrimination and segregation, as well as welcoming, with open arms, talented people from outside Michigan.

Leading an economic growth agenda with an emphasis on culture is just as new to us as it probably is to you. It is not where we expected to end up when we began this project. So all of us together will have to learn how communities can change culture.


The joint board of directors of the WMCC, which is a coalition of the Chambers of Commerce from Holland, Grand Rapids Grand Haven/Ferrysburg/Spring Lake and Muskegon, studied and endorsed the report and determined that the WMCC’s major priority for 2007 would be to develop a plan to address the cultural competency of West Michigan.

The WMCC’s “Strategies for a Culturally Competent Region” found that there is work to do for the area to become more culturally competent:

West Michigan is well known and accepted as being beautiful, conservative, and family oriented.  Many of its communities have a comfortable, smalltown feel. However, members of minority communities describe the region as being “nice” but not welcoming, and socially “cliquish”. Increased exposure of new ideas, arts, business innovations and visitors can enhance a small town’s atmosphere and enrich the lives of its citizens. If accepted with an educated, openminded perspective, diversity does not have to threaten the order and security of a community. A sincere and welcoming community will, by definition, work to minimize the isolation that may be felt by newcomers, whether their persons of color or single individuals who are trying to find their way in a family oriented environment.

The WMCC report then lists specific things that it says are the responsibilities of  communities, employers and businesses, units of government, school systems, the faith community, and individuals in West Michigan.  For employers and businesses, these include:

a)   Employers should encourage and require employees to improve their cultural competence awareness and activism. They should allow employee absences and provide funds for education (Institutes for Healing Racism, e.g.).

b)   Employers should promote and support efforts to develop inclusive study or social groups.  

c)   Employers should continue and expand their sponsorship of educational programs.

d)   Business leaders should act as mentors to others, in order to set the example of supporting attendance at educational programs.

e)   Businesses should be aware of, support, and articulate the business case for cultural competence.

f)    In order to maximize recruitment and retention, and minimize counterproductive turnover, businesses must be intentional about diversifying their workforces and supporting community efforts toward cultural competence.

g)   Employers should provide employee education to internalize the concept of cultural competence and to promote harmony and positive working conditions.

h)   Businesses should ensure that their marketing strategies and their product and service lines represent and appeal to a diverse audience and do not neglect any group in the community.

i)    Communications and training programs on development of Supplier Diversity programs should be created and implemented at businesses throughout the region.


In response to the report, the West Michigan Chambers have adopted three strategies for 2008.  The first is to establish a WMCC Diversity Advisory Council made up of persons from government, business, schools, and the faith community.  The Diversity Advisory Council will work to shape and promote the business case for cultural competency in West Michigan and to drive and monitor progress.   The second strategy is for the Chamber to engage with diverse communities to enhance communication, knowledge and trust.  The final strategy is to establish a Multiracial Association of Professionals within in each of the West Michigan Chambers to create a strong network of professionals of all races to help employers welcome, retain and connect professionals of color and their families to their community and the region.

• MAP Mixer January 8, 2008

MAPThe Multiracial Association of Professionals is gathering for its January social mixer on January 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Peninsular Club in Grand Rapids.  The event is free and is open to members and nonmembers alike.  If you would like to attend, you should RSVP by January 7 by faxing the attached MAP Mixer Reservation Form to MAP.

• December MAP Newsletter

The Multiracial Association of Professionals has issued its December 2007 Newsletter