Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs

Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs 3|Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs 5|Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs 6|Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs 7

Community and connection are at the heart of our work. Our councils are one of the best ways members can directly help us build a strong community for all. 

Our talent development programming is home to three main councils that direct events, logistics and curriculums for the year: the Outpro Council, the ATHENA Council and the Create Great Leaders Council. Meet the members of these 2023 councils below! 


2023 OutPro Council

OutPro is a professional group that promotes a welcoming culture in the West Michigan Community for LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies. OutPro offers opportunities for education and networking with an emphasis on policy impact, assisting businesses in creating a more inclusive and welcoming work environment for LGBTQIA+ individuals. 

OutPro encourages representation from all career levels and professional backgrounds, including corporations, small businesses, and public and non-profit organizations. 

We hope to engage the broader community in this work. As Grand Rapids continues to be a hot spot for growth and development, it is critical to create a workplace where everyone can thrive and live up to their full potential. Wherever you are on your journey to create a more inclusive workplace, we welcome you to join us.”  – Courtney Failer, OutPro Council Chair

Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs 5

Courtney Failer (She/Her), Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, Chair
Jeff Sorensen (He/Him), Lake Michigan Credit Union, Vice Chair
Megan Persons (She/Her), Grand Rapids Public Schools, Member at Large
Carlos Kulas-Dominguez, Camp Blodgett, Immediate Past Chair
Eirann Betka-Pope (They/Them), Betka-Pope Productions, LLC
Janelle Burden Hill (She/Her), Arbor Circle
Kayla Benda (She/Her), Oh Hello Branding Group
Wayne Bersano (He/Him) Huntington Bank
Charissa Huang (She/Her), Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, PC
Natalie Drew (She/Her), Aramark | GVSU


2023 ATHENA Council

ATHENA Grand Rapids is an affinity group that connects and equips women in West Michigan to embrace fearless leadership. The ATHENA Council supports women leaders by uplifting women-led businesses, making meaningful connections with women in the community, and selecting scholarship opportunities for women looking to grow professionally. 

“It’s an honor and inspiration to be surrounded by so many successful and fiercely passionate women within our community who want to serve, uplift, and inspire other women. Recognizing leadership locally matters and I love being part of that.” – Kim Van Driel, ATHENA Council Chair

Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs 6

Kimberly Van Driel, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., Chair
Mei Mah, Grand Valley State University, Vice Chair
Krashawn Martin, City of Wyoming
Patty McCormick, Retired (formerly Ronald McDonald House)
Krista Paulin, Huntington Bank
Isabel Lopez-Slattery, Isabel Media Studios
Jennifer Pascua, Broadway Grand Rapids | Halo Halo Multimedia, LLC
Abbey Sladick, Priority Health
Misti Stanton, Mercantile Bank
Jaime Counterman, Metro Health | University of Michigan Health
Ana Jose, Michigan Women Forward
Erin Fisk, Fisk Solutions


2023 Create Great Leaders Council

The Chamber’s Create Great Leaders programs lead the region in leadership and talent development. Now encompassing over six curriculums with multiple cohorts each year, the Create Great Leaders Council informs the content and ensures diversity of community, sector, belief system and identity in each program. 

The impact of gainful employment on individuals, families, and communities has compounding effects. However, organizations need great leadership to grow and develop these opportunities. Working with the CGL Council has provided me with a personal and meaningful way to invest in talented people and support the ongoing growth of the Grand Rapids business community.” – Art Betancourt, Create Great Leaders Council Chair

Meet the Councils Driving our 2023 Talent Programs 7

Art Betancourt, AEBetancourt, Chair
Alexis Reame, PNC Bank, Vice Chair
Michael Loughman, Holland Home Corporate Office
Jenny Waugh, Fishbeck
Drew Wessell, Fiduciary Financial Advisors
Latoya Booker, Davenport University
Brooke Davis, Kenowa Hills Public Schools
Loic Dimithe, Miller Johnson
Robin Fox, The Red Project
Dilli Gautam, Bethany Christian Services
Stella V. Michael, Corewell Health
Jeff Karger, JLL
Susan Valcq, RDV Corporation
JD Loeks, StudioC
Veronica Quintino-Aranda, Michigan State University
Jason Loepp, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Carlos Sanchez, Davenport University
Kelli Smith, John Ball Zoo


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