Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss to discuss leadership at Meijer Lecture Series

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss
Image credit - Courtesy Photo

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss will give a talk at Grand Valley as a part of the Frederik Meijer Lecture Series on Wednesday, October 30. 

The talk will be in an interview-type style facilitated by students from the Frederik Meijer Honors College. 

“My hope is that it’s a conversation about my journey into leadership, lessons I’ve learned and some wisdom for students as they think about their own leadership journey,” Bliss said. 

A Conversation with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

October 30, 5 p.m., KC 2204.

More details can be found on the event page.

Bliss is the first female mayor of the city and was also the first female and youngest member of the city commission when she was elected in 2005. She has a passion for mentoring young people and helping them realize their dreams are possible. 

“I love working with students, just having the opportunity to talk to students about what their future holds and get them to see that no matter their age, they can have a tremendous impact on something they care deeply about,” Bliss said. 

She started teaching courses that relate to her background in social work as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley in 2006. She now teaches a junior seminar focused on leadership in the Honors College. 

“I was excited not just for a little bit of a change of pace and a challenge, but also to work with undergraduate students in the Honors College, students from different disciplines who all have their own incredible leadership potential, and then to think about, ‘What do I wish I would have known when I was their age?’ So it’s been a fun class to teach,” Bliss said. 

Having a personal leadership style, Bliss said, is one of the most important assets to a good leader. 

“I see a lot of my leadership style around collaborating, convening, but also doing my homework really trying to understand the complexities of an issue before a decision is made,” Bliss said. “And once we make a decision, how do we make sure that you’re tracking the impact and then being willing to pivot or change based on the outcome.” 

Above all, being a good leader is about recognizing your mistakes.

“You don’t have to be perfect, that’s what I tell students,” Bliss said. “It’s a journey, it’s an evolution. Great leaders make mistakes all the time and it’s okay. The great leaders are the ones that take responsibility for it, they learn from them, and figure out how to not let that deter them from moving forward.”

Story by University Communications student writer Liv Conaty.


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