The Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is dedicated to developing best practices in entrepreneurship education and community engagement that enhance and impact the creation of new ventures and opportunities.
Vice President of Global Innovation & Technology – R&D – Ranir
Kim Babusik is Vice President of Global Innovation & Technology - Research & Development at Ranir, who is a global leader in private label and branded consumer oral care products. Kim has 25+ years of R&D, New Product Development, Technical Service, Project Management and Manufacturing experience at several billion dollar plus companies in the consumer and healthcare products industries. She has previously worked for Nice-Pak Inc, Energizer Personal Care, Covidien Healthcare and other major companies. She holds several patents in personal care products and is a Black Belt in Design for Six Sigma. Kim and her husband recently relocated to Grand Rapids where they are really enjoying getting to learn about their new home.
Senior Vice President | Business Banking Market Manager - Huntington National Bank
John Burmeister is the Senior Vice President and Business Banking Market Manager for Huntington National Bank in the Greater Grand Rapids Area. John has been in the banking industry for over 20 years, holding various positions in the Bank. A graduate of Central Michigan University, John lives and plays in Holland, Michigan with his three kids and wife Kim. Professionally he has experience in the Consumer and Business Banking segments. He specializes in commercial lending and helping business owners with their financial needs and goals. Personally, he is an active member of his church and enjoys volunteering in the Greater Grand Rapids Community.
Owner and Founder - Shannon Cohen Inc.
Shannon Cohen is the founder and principal of Shannon Cohen, Inc. She is an award-winning industry leader and sought-after strategist, innovator, and inspirational leader. Shannon has been an active member of philanthropic and community development efforts for the past eighteen years. Shannon is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellowship alumnus and Encore Innovation Fellow alumnus of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. She has received several awards for her work and service including the 2018 ‘50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan’ Award from the Grand Rapids Business Journal. Shannon is an adjunct faculty member for the College of Education and Community Innovation and the School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration at Grand Valley State University. She is passionate about empowering emerging and existing leaders to be transformative in the communities they serve. Most recently, Shannon birthed ‘Tough Skin, Soft Heart’. Tough Skin, Soft Heart is a movement specializing in empowering today’s overextended leader to navigate the emotional, mental, and, physical strain that that often accompanies a life committed to being a difference-maker.
Attorney at Law - Miller Johnson
Erik Daly is a corporate attorney and a member of Miller Johnson’s business section. He has been practicing corporate law since 2007 and focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate financing, restructurings and securities law matters. Mr. Daly has been recognized by Chambers USA for Corporate/M&A since 2014 and was identified as a “Rising Star” by Michigan Super Lawyers from 2014-2017. Mr. Daly is also recognized by Best Lawyers for Mergers and Acquisitions Law and Securities / Capital Markets Law and was named as Best Lawyers 2020 Grand Rapids Lawyer of the Year for Mergers and Acquisitions Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the State Bar of Minnesota, the State Bar of Illinois and the American Bar Association (ABA). In addition to legal practice, Mr. Daly is a member of the Boards of Directors of Special Olympics Michigan, the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and the Friends of the East Grand Rapids Library.
Managing Director – The Grand Angels Venture Fund II and Fund III
Paul is the Managing Director of the Grand Angels Venture Fund II, Grand Angels Venture Fund III and Trout Creek Ventures. As Managing Director, Paul has been involved in more than 90 venture capital rounds investing over $17 million and syndicating more than $300 million. Paul is also an active angel investor with several angel groups in the Midwest. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis on M&A and analytical decision modeling from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston. Paul currently serves on the board of directors of Grand Angels, Change Dynamix, Tetra Discovery Partners, CertifID, Ryvit, and Reconstruct Inc. Paul has a strong background in business finance including private equity, venture capital, accounting, information technologies, and statistical modeling. Technology background in financial/IT systems integration, and Monte-Carlo pro-forma analysis.
Director, Supplier Diversity & Indirect Procurement - Meijer
Carla Hendon is the Supplier Diversity & Indirect Procurement Director at Meijer. She has over 30 years of experience as a Supply Chain professional. From 2009 to 2020, Carla has been devoted to developing and sustaining an indirect procurement organization that is indispensable to Meijer. This has involved leading two Procurement organization restructures, including a March 2017 launch of SAP Ariba, a transformation of supplier management practices, best-in-class procurement, and sourcing processes, and the ongoing focus on growing and sustaining talent. As a result of these efforts, Carla’s team is relied upon for sourcing 80% of the company's indirect spending. Carla’s latest challenge is to develop a centralized effective and sustainable Supplier Diversity program for all of Meijer’s purchasing organizations – Merchants and Indirect Spend, inclusive of Marketing, IT, Construction, Logistics, HR, MRO, Supplies, Packaging, and Manufacturing goods and services. Prior to Meijer, Carla held various roles at Chrysler Corporation in their Finance and Supply Chain organizations. Her roles included leadership and individual contributor positions in global sourcing of direct and indirect categories, logistics, production planning, supplier development, project management, trainer/curriculum development, community relations, organizational design, and strategy development. Carla has had the pleasure of collaborating with various companies and organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and small business organizations, non-profits, and various federal, state, and local agencies on various Supply Chain topics. Carla holds a BA in Production Operations/Supply Chain Management from Eastern Michigan University and an MS in Economics and Finance from the University of Detroit. She lives in Grand Rapids, MI, with her handsome husband, amazing daughters, and dog. She and her family enjoy swimming, biking, laughing, and spending lots of time together.
President of GVSU C.E.O. Club, and CEO of ExpressU
Alina Ladewig is an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University (GVS) majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing. She is very engaged in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and is currently serving as the President of the GVSU Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (C.E.O) club to help foster entrepreneurship and innovation on campus. Entrepreneurship is her passion and she has participated in a number of pitch competitions and accelerator programs to develop her skills and expand her network. She has also served as a consultant for the GVSU LendGR program, a community outreach program that provides market-based solutions for small businesses in the West Michigan region. Alina is the founder and CEO of a local women's clothing startup, ExpressU that she started her freshmen year of college! As a small business owner, she has been able to build her skill sets as and expand her business network within the community.
Principle at Bush Fischer Mack Forward
With over 20 years’ experience as a strategic leader of sales and operations for Fortune 500 and multi-million dollar corporations, achieving optimal performance and tremendous savings and profits for organizations. With a Bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College and a Master of Business Administration, Wendy hit the ground running. She embarked early in her career by successfully running several businesses, including several of her own. Currently she focuses on ways to give back to West Michigan. She’s an active Angel Investor and sits on several BOD within the community.
Partner - Wakestream Ventures
Kim Pasquino is a Partner at Wakestream Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Currently, Kim sits on the board of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. She sits on the boards of the following companies: Shoulder Innovations, Inductive Intelligence and Allie Burke, and is a board observer for Modalyst and Work Truck Solutions. Kim has a background is marketing, sales and business development, and has strong relationship development skills. Prior to her seven years of experience in venture investing, she operated a business she launched and later sold.
Leadership Coach, Inside Out
Ryan Vaughn is an executive and leadership coach for entrepreneurs. His mission is to help entrepreneurs develop into their full potential as leaders and human beings. Prior to serving as a coach, Ryan founded and served as CEO of three companies over 15 years, the third of which he scaled into a market leader with 11 million users across 45 states. Ryan has raised over $20m from leading VCs, built teams of over 100 world-class employees, and acquired or integrated nearly a dozen companies as part of market roll-ups. He’s an avid writer, meditator, reader, athlete, father to two boys, husband, and adventurer. Ryan holds a MA in Communications from Grand Valley State University and a BFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University.