Archive for June 2009

• Lunch-and-Learn: The Power of Diversity

Scott E. PageJoin us on Tuesday, July 21 at noon for our next diversity Lunch-and-Learn where we will explore why diversity matters.  We will listen to a video presentation by Scott E. Page, the Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics, at the University of Michigan. 

Professor Page is the author of The Difference: How the Power of Diversity The DifferenceCreates Better Groups, Firms Schools, Societies, one of this year’s One Firm, One Book Recommended Books.  In The Difference, Professor Page sets out to explain why diverse teams out-perform homogeneous teams that have higher abilities.

Professor Page was the keynote speaker at the dinner earlier this year where Warner Norcross & Judd was presented with the 2009 Diversity Visionary Award. He is an engaging and entertaining speaker who will leave you with lots to think about.

If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Robin Keith by Tuesday, July 14, by clicking here.  The program will originate in Grand Rapids and be broadcast to our other offices over the Internet.

• Video of the One Book, One Firm Discussion on “Hands of My Father”

One Book, One FirmHere is the video of the presention by John McKendry, of Warner Norcross & Judd, and Katie Prins, of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services regarding this year’s One Book, One Firm selection Hands of My Father.

• Pictures from the Grand Race Road Rally 2009

For the second year, Warner Norcross & Judd competed in the Grand Race Road Rally, a program created for the firm by the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.  On Saturday, June 13, teams raced across the city following clues and undertaking challenges (if you call eating Lithuanian desserts and Dutch chocolate a challenge), to learn more about the rich cultural diversity of our community.

For more information about the different locations in the Grand Race, click here

Stay tuned for the race video, coming soon.

• The 2009 Grand Race Road Rally

Team OjalaEight teams from Warner Norcross & Judd competed in the 2009 Grand Race Road Rally on Saturday, June 13.  This year Team Ojala – which included Carin and Kurt Ojala, Amy Carpenter, and Connie Kong – defended its crown.  The winners each received some wonderful gift certificates to area restaurants and a trophy that was turned on a lathe at the Public Museum

Modeled after the CBS television program The Amazing Race, the Grand Race Road Rally challenges teams to follow clues to find seven locations in Grand Rapids that highlight our community’s diverse ethnic communities.    

The Grand Race Road Rally is organized for Warner Norcross & Judd by the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.  This year, three teams from Irwin Seating Company, including President and CEO Win Irwin, also participated in the Grand Race.

PassportThe race began at the Public Museum in downtown Grand Rapids, where volunteers registered the teams and Museum staffers Gina Bivins and Chris Carron provided last minute instructions. Passport Each participant in the race was given a passport that held the clues to the seven locations.  When given the word to start, the teams fanned out over the city following the clues to the race locations, which included:

St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.  Here members of the Lithuanian American Community challenged the teams to taste two scrumptious desserts and correctly name them.

Lithuanian CemeteryThe Richmond Park neighborhood.  Competitors had to find two of the four ethnic cemeteries that lie west of Richmond Park. Competitors discovered the Lithuanian Freedom Cemetery, Ahavis cemeterywhich was founded in 1918 by the Sons and Daughters of Lithuania (a group that is still active in Grand Rapids today) and the Ahavas Archim Cemetery, which was founded in 1916.  Nearby is the Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, dedicated in 1916 by Lithuanian parishioners at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, and the Washington Park Memorial Gardens, where many of the Dutch and German Reformed faith are buried.  For more information about, and photos from, these cemeteries, click here.

St. John Chrysotom Russian Orthodox Church.  All of the competitors agreed that this was the most amazing St. John’slocation in the Race.   The church was founded in 1915 to minister to the Orthodox Byelorussians, Carpatho Russians, Galicians, Russians and Ukrainians who began arriving in Grand Rapids and Grand Haven, Michigan, in the early 1900’s.  The original twenty families that founded the church purchased the building from the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Our visit was guided by Father Andrew Keith Lowe, who came from Australia to lead a church in Grand Rapids that is still under the direction of the Moscow Patriarchate (what a small world!).  Inside, the church is filled with beautiful artwork.  There are just two pews in the church.  Father Andrew explained that the congregation stands during religious services.  The two pews are for elderly members of the congregation only.  For more information about St. John Chrysotom Russian Orthodox Church and to see photos of the beautiful artwork inside the church, visit its website by clicking here.

The Cook Library Center.  Operated by Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, the Cook Library Center serves Roosevelt Park and surrounding neighborhoods that today are home to a sizable Hispanic population.  At the library, teams were challenged to do some sleuthing to identify the streets on which Philanthropist Peter Cook was raised and the immigrant group that once lived in the neighborhood.  Teams also had to identify the artist of the beautiful mural that hangs in the library.  For more information about the Cook Library Center, watch this video.

VanderVeens, on 28th Street.  For over 50 years, VanderVeens has sold Dutch products, including the wonderful chocolates and cookies they shared with race participants.  At VanderVeens, one member of each team had to don wooden shoes and do his or her own version of the Klompen Dance.

African Community CenterThe African Community Center of Michigan and Humanity for Africa, Inc.   The African Community Center supports and encourages new African refugees, individuals, and families to become self-sufficient by strengthening their ability to provide care for themselves and their families, and by advocating on behalf of refugees to enhance positive acculturation.  At the Community Center, Grand Racers had to locate a community garden and find vegetables that would be needed to prepare an African peanut potato stew.  You can learn more about the African Community Center at its website and in this video.

lynches2.jpgAt Lynch’s Lair, in Eastown, members of the Gaelic League in Grand Rapids challenged a member of each team to weave a Bridgid’s Cross.  The first Irish settled in Grand Rapids in 1835.  They came to build a canal around the rapids in the Grand River.  A division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians was established in Grand Rapids in 1883 and remains active today.   

More pictures and a video are yet to come.  Meanwhile, you can see a video and photos from the 2008 Grand Race by clicking here and here.