Frederik Meijer Lecture Series

The Frederik Meijer Lecture series was established to provide local and national presentations that focus on issues of leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship from the perspective of students, faculty members, and participants in business throughout the region.

Winter 2024

Khalilah Burt

Khalilah Burt Gaston will deliver the Meijer Lecture on Friday, February 16, 2024 at 5:00pm - 6:00pm in the Loosemore Auditorium at the DeVos Center.

Khalilah Burt Gaston

In partnership with the GVSU Frederik Meijer Honors College’s Frederik Meijer Lecture Series, we are excited to welcome Khalilah Burt Gaston, founding Executive Director of the Song Foundation. Khalilah will share her insights on life and leadership, drawing from her role in shepherding the Song Foundation's efforts to “invest in ideas, people, and organizations that amplify equity, power, prosperity, and joy throughout Southeast Michigan.” Khalilah will be joined in conversation by Stacy Stout, Director of Family-Centered Philanthropy at Steelcase Foundation. Reserve your spot now for an evening of inspiration and empowerment.

Fall 2023

Faye Richardson Green

Faye Richardson-Green will deliver the Meijer Lecture on Friday, September 29, 2023 in the Grand River Room, Kirkhoff Center at 5:00 p.m.

Faye Richardson-Green

We are excited to welcome Faye Richardson-Green to kick off our Wheelhouse Talk series for the year! She is the fourth Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the GVSU Frederik Meijer Honors College and has over 40 years of broad-based leadership experience. With an emphasis on global learning and intercultural communication, Richardson-Green brings a global perspective to community leadership. From her beginnings in banking branch management, to serving as Director of Global Learning and Development for Steelcase, and ultimately starting her own consulting firm, her journey will challenge and inspire.

This event is a partnership with GVSU’s Frederik Meijer Honors College as a part of their Frederik Meijer Lecture Series, which was established to provide local and national presentations that focus on issues of leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship from the perspective of students, faculty members, and participants in business throughout the region.

Winter 2023

Dara Richardson-Heron smiling

Dara Richardson-Heron will deliver the Meijer Lecture on Friday, January 27, 2023 in the Eberhard Center (Room 215).

Dara Richardson-Heron

Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron is a former Fortune 100 corporate executive, current board director, physician, executive mentor/coach and public speaker with more than 25 years of leadership excellence in health care and the corporate, government, and nonprofit sectors. A frequent speaker on strategic leadership, health equity, clinical trial diversity, vaccine confidence, and women’s empowerment, she has a proven track record of successfully driving transformative change. She is well known for her creativity, authenticity, intellectual acumen, curiosity and unwavering determination to leverage her leadership skills, experience, expertise, and passion to make the world a better place.

In partnership with the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University, Dara joins us for the Winter Frederik Meijer Lecture Series. A self-proclaimed “physician by trade and an advocate by choice,” Dara will share her experience of leading through great change, and provide insight into how we can each become change agents for good in our respective fields.

RSVP for this event

Fall 2022

Luis Avila Headshot

Luis Avila will deliver the Meijer Lecture on Friday, December 2, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. in the Grand River Room (KC 2250). 

Luis Avila

Partner, Varnum Law

“The Ethics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”

As current Chair of Varnum’s DEI Committee, Luis has seen just how relevant this topic is and how applicable it is to the modern workplace—and a university setting. In his lecture, Luis will start a conversation that will help us better define diversity, equity, and inclusion, and understand their value to any organization. The discussion will likely challenge our historical or traditional assumptions and practices regarding DEI in an effort to help us better create a real sense of belonging in our organizations. Luis will also talk about his personal journey, both academic and professional, and how DEI has played a constant role—both positive and negative—throughout his life.

With professional experience in the legal field spanning the United States, Mexico, and Europe, Luis Avila is a global leader with a local legacy. Luis focuses his practice on labor and employment issues while also being an active advocate in the West Michigan community through board membership. His commitment to lifelong learning maintains a standard of excellence in his work as an attorney and community leader, and he has been recognized as a 5-time 40 Under 40 recipient by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. We are excited to welcome Luis to Grand Valley State University to share his lessons on life and leadership.



Winter 2022

headshot of Christina Keller

Christina Keller will deliver the Meijer Lecture on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. in KC 2204. Parking will be available in Lot H after 4:30. 

Christina Keller

CEO & President of Cascade Engineering

Cascade Engineering is focused on having a positive impact on society, the environment and being financially successful as a Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet & Profit), B certified and Woman Owned Business. Headquartered in West Michigan, Cascade Engineering employs over 1,300 people globally and is focused on being an innovative Employer of Choice with the safest, heathiest workforce with opportunities for learning & development and a culture of engaged employees. Cascade Engineering utilizes Operational Excellence to lead in plastics manufacturing. Cascade is a leader in the circular economy, being zero waste to landfill and pushing the industry forward in use of recycled material in products, even offering climate positive resins and bringing back product after end of life. Cascade is also leading the way in the Electric Vehicle market space as a leader in automotive battery and module casing and fluid connectors.

Christina is on the Board of Directors for Independent Bank, the Economics Club of Grand Rapids and Paragon Die & Engineering. She also helps support the community through her involvement with the Housing Stability Alliance for Kent County.

Christina holds an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University and a BA from Boston College. She also holds a certificate in Economics from American University and a certificate in Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University.

Fall 2021

Aaron Radelet's lecture was featured in GVNext. Please see the article here

Aaron Radelet of Walgreens Boots Alliance

GVSU alum Aaron Radelet will deliver the Meijer Lecture on Thursday, September 16, 2021

GVSU alumnus Aaron Radelet (APR, '98) is global chief communications officer and senior vice president at Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), which ranks #16 on the Fortune 500 and is a global leader in retail pharmacy. WBA employs more than 450,000 team members, operates stores in 25 countries, including Walgreens, Boots, and Duane Reade pharmacies, and was recently listed as one of Time’s “100 Most Influential Companies.”

PRWeek recently presented Radelet with its “Global Professional: In-House” award for 2021 and named him to its Power List 2021 of “the 50 most influential communicators.” 

He leads communications across all of WBA – externally, internally and for every brand. His team’s responsibilities include consumer PR, team member communications, executive communications, financial communications, crisis/issues communications, digital communications, corporate social responsibility communications, meetings/events and creative services.

WBA has been front and center during this period’s largest news story, the COVID-19 pandemic, with massive coverage on testing, vaccinations and more. It was also widely seen as one of the businesses leading the way during the racial justice movement with multiple Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts as well as clinics and resources in underserved communities. Radelet serves as the executive sponsor of WBA’s LGBTQ+ business resource group.

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations from Grand Valley, Radelet completed executive leadership programs at Cornell University and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Winter 2021

If Not You, Then Who?

5:00 p.m. Thursday, March 18, via Zoom

Meredith Bronk shared her story of how this challenge—"If not you, then who?"—presented by a professor in her MBA program, shaped her leadership path. Each of us has unique gifts, talents, passions and experiences to leverage for the greatest impact in our communities and beyond. Meredith spoke about how she uncovered and embraced her value—including some of the lessons learned along the way!

Meredith Bronk video

Here's our recording of Meredith Bronk's lecture

Winter 2020 Meijer Lecturer Meredith Bronk

Meredith Bronk, President and CEO of Open Systems Technologies (OST), has been with the company since 1998. She understands the needs of a dynamic growing organization and leverages her strong leadership capabilities to bring creative solutions to clients while maintaining a strong organizational culture. It is this vision, passion and empathy that she brings to leading OST and its 200+ employees every day.

In addition to earning her bachelor’s degree from Alma College, Meredith also earned her MBA from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in 2014. Her career started in accounting, but her compassion and insight quickly led her into project management, recruiting, and human resources. She joined OST as a Project Manager and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for several years before being named President and CEO. Her diverse experience has created a unique combination of strong analytical and interpersonal skills. Meredith’s servant attitude and commitment to the success of others is an excellent representation of OST’s dedication to its employees and customers.

In addition, Meredith serves on several professional and community board of directors including the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, United Bank of Michigan and SecurAlarm Systems, Inc.

Meredith is married with three daughters. When she is not dedicating time to OST, she can often be found on the softball diamond teaching girls the fundamentals. She openly shares the lessons learned during her playing career and how they are applicable at work—and to life in general.

Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor of the City of Grand Rapids and the Frederik Meijer Endowed Honors Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, introduced Meredith and moderated a brief Q&A following the main presentation. 

Fall 2019

A Conversation with Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

5:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 30, in the Pere Marquette Room (2204 Kirkhof Center) on the Allendale campus

Parking for off-campus guests available in Lot H.


Mayor Rosalynn Bliss became the first female mayor of Grand Rapids when she took office on January 1, 2016. She previously served as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of South Alabama and a master’s in Social Work from Michigan State University. She has over twenty years of experience in the fields of domestic violence and child welfare. She is past president of the Michigan Municipal League and serves on the boards of the Downtown Development Authority, Experience Grand Rapids, Convention Arena Authority, Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Mayor’s Innovation Project and Interurban Transit Partnership, and other organizations. Mayor Bliss has been recognized and honored locally as well as statewide for her commitment, dedication and work in the field of child abuse and neglect and for her leadership in the community. She teaches HNR 312, a junior seminar on leadership and problem-solving.

Winter 2019

Live.Learn.Lead: The Honors Effect at Home and Abroad

The Winter 2019 Frederik Meijer Lecture took place at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in the Pere Marquette Room of the Kirkhof Center in Allendale. Guests may park in Lot H. As we continued to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center, we once again featured three Honors College alumni as our speakers.

Meijer Lecture

Dr. Amy Fletemier

Dr. Amy Fletemier graduated from GVSU in 1993 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. She pursued an M.D. at the of College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University (‘98) for its emphasis on training primary care physicians for the underserved populations of Michigan. At MSU, she was accepted into the Upper Peninsula program, which allowed her to complete her clinical training in the UP. She stayed in the UP to complete her physician training in the Marquette Family Medicine Residency, with its emphasis on rural medicine. After completing residency, Dr. Fletemier worked for four years in a small, isolated Minnesota town on the Canadian border. She practiced family medicine at the critical access community hospital, which included ER, obstetric and hospital services. In 2005, she relocated back to Marquette, Michigan, continuing to practice full spectrum family medicine. As medicine became more specialized, her practice became focused on the outpatient setting. She chairs the Quality Committee in the UP Health System to facilitate transformation of primary care clinics in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. She lives with her husband and son. In her free time, she takes advantage of the beautiful trails in Marquette to ski, snowshoe and run.

Meijer Lecture

Len Van Popering

Len Van Popering graduated from the Honors College with a BBA in 1994 and later earned an MBA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He now serves as Vice President of Global Brand Management and Innovation for Subway Restaurants, based in Milford, Connecticut. In this role, Len leads a diverse portfolio of worldwide functions, including brand strategy, culinary innovation, product marketing, public relations, and convenience lines of business such as catering and delivery. Len also serves on Subway’s global executive leadership team. Previously, Len served as Chief Marketing Officer for Logan’s Roadhouse, as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for Arby’s Restaurant Group, and as Director of Strategic Planning & Business Development at Russell Corporation, home of sporting goods brands Russell Athletic, Brooks, and Spalding.

While at GVSU, Len studied abroad program and served for four years in the Student Senate, including two as student body president. He received the Venderbush Leadership Award, the Wall Street Journal Business Student Award, and the Michigan Association of Governing Boards Outstanding Graduating Senior Award. He also volunteered for many years on the Grand Valley Alumni Association Board and as President of the Atlanta GVSU Alumni Chapter.

Meijer Lecture

Michael Judd

Michael Judd graduated from GVSU in 1999 with a degree in Film & Video Production.  After graduation, he worked as videographer for WZZM-13 News in Grand Rapids before moving to California.  In Los Angeles he began working as a Production Assistant on such films as Million Dollar Baby and Seabiscuit.  In 2004 he became a member of the Directors Guild of America as an Assistant Director and worked on the feature films Gran Torino, Evan Almighty and TV shows including Desperate Housewives, New Girl and Ray Donovan.  In 2012 he wrote, produced and directed Own Worst Enemy, an independent feature film.  He is currently working as a First Assistant Director on the television show Young Sheldon.  He still lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jessica, and daughters, Eva and Iris.

Fall 2018

Live. Learn. Lead: The Honors Effect at Home and Abroad

Monday, October 15, 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the 2204  Kirkhof Center, Allendale campus

This year's Meijer Lecture Series celebrates Honors alumni who, from their time on campus to now, have exemplified the Laker Effect by using their interdisciplinary and liberal arts education to build successful careers that impact both local and global communities in positive ways. 


Juanita (Flores) Bocanegra (’97) majored in International Relations at GVSU and then earned her J.D. from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. With more than 20 years of combined experience in the legal field, including private practice with Rhodes McKee, PC in Grand Rapids, Juanita now serves as assistant prosecuting attorney with the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office. Her Spanish/English bilingual skills and bicultural experiences have been an important asset for her employers and the communities she serves. She lives in Holland, MI.


Rachael (Voorhees) Orose (’04) earned her bachelor’s degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration at GVSU and her master’s degree in the same field at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She currently serves as Vice President of Network and Business Development for the Molina Foundation, where she has coordinated the distribution of more than 15 million new books and educational materials to children from low-income families. She and her family reside in San Diego, CA.


Lisa (Sharp) Patel (’89) studied Biopsychology at GVSU before going on to earn an M.S. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and a Master’s Certificate in International Food Law from Michigan State. She is now Executive Director of Global Regulatory Compliance at Kalsec®, a leading global producer of natural flavors, colors, antioxidants, and hop products for the food and beverage industry. She lives in Portage, MI, where she has completed multiple half and full marathons and 50k races.

Winter 2018

CyberLife: Secret or See-Through? The Intersection of Cybersecurity, Privacy, and  Transparency

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 5 p.m. in the Siedman College of Business Forum


Dr. Jared DeMott, Information Security Expert, Founder of VDA Labs

DeMott holds a PhD from Michigan State University. He regularly speaks on vulnerabilities at conferences like RSA, DerbyCon, BlackHat, ToorCon, GrrCon, and HITB. He’s the founder of VDA Labs, and previously served as a vulnerability analyst with the NSA. He was a finalist in Microsoft’s BlueHat prize contest, which helped make Microsoft customers more secure. Dr. DeMott has been on three winning Defcon capture-the-flag teams, and has been an invited lecturer at prestigious institutions such as the United States Military Academy. Jared is also a Pluralsight author, on the Synack Red Team, and is a professor at Dakota State University.

Meijer Lecture Series

Barb Hiemstra, Privacy Engineer for Steelcase

Hiemstra holds a BA degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University, GIAC Security Leadership Certification (GLSC) and the GIAC Critical Controls Certificate (GCCC), GIAC Law of Data Security & Investigations (GLEG), and ITIL2 Foundations and Change Management certifications. This role was created to operationalize the privacy requirements needed in the company’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and their Smart+Connected product offerings. Barb works with Steelcase’s Security and Legal teams as well as the Software and Product Developers to ensure Steelcase builds in the necessary requirements to reduce risk. Prior to joining Steelcase, Barb was the Information Security-Governance Manager at Perrigo, the Information Security Director and the Deputy Director for IT at Kent County. She co-founded and co-chairs Region 6 DHS’s West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium (WMCSC), served on the IGNITE Steering committee for Region 6 Law Enforcement, is a member of the State of Michigan CISO’s Kitchen Cabinet Advisors, and serves on the Advisory Board for the College of Information Technology at Baker College. Barb holds a BA degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University, GIAC Security Leadership Certification (GLSC) and the GIAC Critical Controls Certificate (GCCC), GIAC Law of Data Security & Investigations (GLEG), and ITIL2 Foundations and Change Management certifications.

Barb Heimstra

Fall 2017

Connected Places: Technology's Impact on Where and How We Work

Dusty Duistermars, Senior Managing Director of Global Corporate Services for Newmark Knight Frank, a Global Leader in Commercial Real Estate

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in the Grand River Room, 2250 Kirkhof Center 

Dusty is a GVSU alum who has leveraged his English major, Psychology minor, and high school teaching experience to better connect people and places through a unique career in corporate real estate. Hear about lessons learned and new technology-enabled models of “doing work.” You will walk away with a broader understanding of how today’s successful companies are attracting and retaining top talent.

At UGL Equis (now Cushman Wakefield), Dusty led Chrysler Corporation’s disposition strategy. He also led the Site Location Services Department for the State of Michigan’s Economic Development arm (MEDC/Pure Michigan), which produced over 5,000 new jobs and over a billion dollars’ worth of capital investment in the state during a five-year period. Currently, Dusty leverages Newmark’s integrated platform of seamless beginning-to-end corporate solutions. He is also a regular media contributor and speaker on “Best Apps” and Workplace Technology for various organizations. In addition to his Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification, Dusty attended both Grand Valley State University and the Graduate College of Geography and Urban Planning at Wayne State University. Dusty has served as a Director for the Commercial Board of Realtors (CBOR/State of Michigan) and is the current VP at Large for the CoreNet Michigan Chapter Board of Directors. He lives in Holland with his wife and three children.


Dusty Duistermars

Winter 2017

Why I Love Designing the Future of Everyday Things

Nate Young, Vice President of Global Innovation, Newell Rubbermaid

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in the Seidman College of Business Forum

Click HERE to RSVP for the event.

Parking will be available in the Fulton Lot on the Pew Campus.

Nate Young joined Newell Rubbermaid in September of 2013 in a newly created position responsible for energizing and accelerating the company’s innovation funnel and driving a more innovation-centric culture deep within Newell Rubbermaid. Young brings 30 years of experience and a proven track record of leading innovation at large, complex organizations.

Most recently, he was president of the NewNorth Center for Design in Business, a nonprofit, hybrid education and business institution based in Holland, Mich. Previously, Young was Executive VP and Chief Academic Officer at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., working with leading innovation-driven companies like Disney, Nike and NTT DoCoMo. Young is also the founder of Twisthink, a Michigan-based product design and development firm.

Nate graduated from and later served as provost of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California with a degree in Industrial Design.



Nate Young

Fall 2016

The Start-Up Secret Sauce: Building an Organization from the Ground Up

Brian Bordainick, Head of Innovation Ventures at Hudson's Bay Company

Tuesday, September 20 at 5:00 p.m. in the Seidman College of Business Forum

Parking will be in Fulton Lot off of W Fulton

RSVP's not required 

The days of shopping at department and other big box stores seem numbered as online shopping becomes a staple in life. You could learn a lot about re-envisioning retail from the next Frederik Meijer lecturer, Brian Bordainick. 

Hudson's Bay Company is the oldest company in North America and one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world. Its companies include Lord and Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Home Outfitters. Bordainick's role is working with these companies to redesign the shopping experience for customers.

He is new to the role and had served as CEO of Dinner Lab Inc., a company that created unique dining events in 30 cities. The multi-million dollar company folded in July after never turning a profit, forcing Bordainick to lay off 43 people.

In an interview with Forbes, Bordainick said although Dinner Lab failed as a start-up company and investors lost $10 million, he would run another start-up given the right opportunity.

Jeff Chamberlain, director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College, said Bordainick's presentation will appeal to audience members who have varied interests such as sustainability, marketing and entrepreneurship.

The Frederik Meijer Lecture Series was established with a gift from the Meijer Foundation to provide local and national presentations that focus on issues of leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship from the perspective of students, faculty members and participants in business throughout the region. 

Brian Bordainick

Winter 2016

Creativity in the Digital Revolution

Ryan McManus, Accenture Strategy

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. in the Seidman College of Business Forum 

Click HERE to RSVP for the event. 

Parking will be available in the Fulton Lot on the Pew Campus.

Ryan McManus is the founder of Accenture’s Digital Business Strategy practice and previously served as the Accenture Strategy COO and a leader in the firm’s Corporate Strategy, M&A and International Expansion practices. He has worked with clients across industries since 1995.

He is a regular speaker and faculty on digital and global business strategy topics and has been recognized as one of Accenture Strategy’s top thought leaders and talent developers globally.

Ryan is a member of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows Vanguard Chapter Advisory Board and the Aspen Institute’s Socrates Steering Committee. He has worked in over 40 countries, earned his MBA at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Valedictorian of the University of Iowa.



Ryan McManus

Fall 2015

A Conversation with Nancy Hickey

Nancy Hickey, Steelcase Executive (retired)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.  in the Loosemore Auditorium of the DeVos Center

Parking will be available in the Seward lot across from the DeVos Center building

Nancy began her career as a high school English teacher and retired from Steelcase in June of 2014 where she was the Chief Administrative Officer.  Throughout her 28 years at Steelcase, Nancy held positions in sales leadership and as CAO was responsible for a wide variety of global corporate functions including corporate communications, corporate and community relations, talent management, information technology, sustainability, real estate and facilities.  In addition, Nancy managed the global business centers in Kuala Lumpur, Monterrey and Cluj. She is a member of the board of directors for Fifth Third Bank, Meijer Inc., West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) and Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Missed the event? You can view the lecture in it's entirety HERE. (password: gvsu)

Nancy Hickey

Page last modified February 20, 2024