Mayor Bliss & Community Trustees Share Leadership Lessons

This week, the Grand Rapids Chamber hosted a Leadership Lesson Breakfast featuring 3 community leaders – Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Michelle Rabideau, and Faye Richardson-Green. The trio addressed a room of over 100 community members to share lessons they’ve learned throughout their leadership journeys. 

Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor, Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss began the event by emphasizing the importance of relationships. She shared a phrase that her trusted mentors shared with her, which is that you “praise people in public and criticize in private.” Mayor Bliss has found that this approach helps to have hard conversations in a meaningful way. 

Mayor Bliss highlighted the significance of adopting a growth mindset, particularly in her role as Mayor. She encouraged viewing obstacles as opportunities for growth and development rather than roadblocks. 

“As a leader you are the guidepost. People are looking up to you, and you get to decide how you show up in the spaces you’re in,” added Bliss.

Michelle Rabideau, President of Saint Mary’s Foundation,  LGR ’02

Michelle Rabideau, a 2002 Leadership Grand Rapids graduate, shared the concept of intuitive leadership, challenging individuals to be audacious in defining their purpose. She encouraged attendees to explore and identify their unique strengths and abilities, referring to them as their “superpowers.”  

Rabideau emphasized the importance of “finding your tribe” and surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, but who are also willing to call out your blind spots. She humorously highlighted the importance of managing time and capacity as a leader, saying “when you add things to your plate, take something off. Don’t do it Old Country Buffet style.”  

Faye Richardson-Green, Principal Consultant & Visiting Scholar, Richardson-Green Consulting LLC & Grand Valley State University, LGR ’91

Faye Richardson-Green closed out the event with a powerful leadership lesson about the importance of perspective. She shared a personal story that highlighted how we all see the world from a completely different perspective. Through her over 33 years working at Steelcase, Inc. and her many other professional journeys, Faye has learned the importance of acknowledging and understanding different viewpoints Perspective matters,” said Richardson-Green. How you see the world depends on where you are at that point in time.” As leaders, she urged the audience to consider how you are supporting your team and yourself by understanding the power of diverse perspectives. 

Each lesson highlighted the value of empathy, authenticity and self-awareness when becoming an effective leader.  

The Chamber opened applications for the Leadership Grand Rapids class of 2025 this week as well. This immersive year-long cohort is dedicated to exploring the intricate systems that shape our community and empowers leaders to drive positive change to make a lasting impact in West Michigan. Join the LGR community by applying today. 



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