Event brings practical leadership lessons to Grand Rapids audience


Renee J. Photography


While more than 200 business leaders from the Grand Rapids area took advantage of the recent 2018 Refresh Leadership Simulcast hosted by Express Employment Professionals, there was a distinctively local flavor to the event as well with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss taking to the stage.

The national simulcast, which featured Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) among others, took place on Thursday, October 24, with the Grand Rapids audience gathering at the Salvation Army’s KROC Center.


Renee J. Photography


National guests included Paralympian Josh Sundquist and Mark King, former president and CEO of Adidas.

Mayor Bliss, who opened the event, shared her personal history and the career path that brought her into politics. She also shared several practical leadership lessons from her time as Grand Rapids mayor.

Her key points included:

• Leadership matters;
• Praise in public, criticize in private;
• Self-awareness is key; and
• The need for balance and self-care.

Bliss’s presentation wrapped up with a question and answer period, with audience members asking about her vision for the city, the future of the West Michigan talent market, and her best practices related to mentorship.

The morning continued with innovative, thought-provoking, and emotional presentations from the lineup of simulcast speakers.

The annual Refresh Leadership Simulcast (this was its ninth year) is a sold-out event  sponsored by Express Employment Professionals International Headquarters and the Grand Rapids Express office.

Proceeds from the event supported Kids’ Food Basket, a grassroots, community solution to childhood hunger that engages all who care about children reaching their full potential.