‘Real conversations’ part of Tuesday Forum series

Joy Gaasch couldn’t be happier with the launch of the Tuesday Forum.

“It has been a long time since I have experienced a room full of community members engaged in conversations that filled the room with such positive energy," says Gaasch, president of The Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg. 

The chamber, in partnership with the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, is offering a unique opportunity for area businesses, local leaders, and community members to collaboratively learn about and discuss critical issues impacting Northwest Ottawa County and strategically plan for a shared future through a six-part breakfast speaker series, “Envisioning Our Community’s Future.”

Matt Dunsmoore presents during the first session of the Tuesday Forum on Feb. 28. (GHACF)

The series’ first speaker opened the door for all participants to fully engage with the presentation “The Infinite Game.”

Finite and infinite games

Matt Dunsmoore, a Simon Sinek master trainer, started the conversation around culture, innovation, purpose, and leadership development. During his Feb. 28 presentation, Dunsmoor discussed the difference between finite and infinite games, and the practices required to lead in an infinite game. In addition, he explored a new way of looking at leadership, the environment inside an organization, and how to maintain and rebuild trust. 

After Dunsmoor spoke, attendees discussed a series of questions with their tablemates. Dunsmoor was impressed by the conversations he heard.

Chamber President Joy Gaasch speaks during table discussion portion of the Tuesday Forum. (GHACF)

“Everyone came with an open mind, and I'm really just embracing the community aspect of this event,” Dunsmoor says. “You can tell when people actually are engaging, and it was nice to see people actually pulling in to have real conversations.”

Opening eyes

Alando Chappell, director of Public Works for Grand Haven Township, feels inspired by the series.

“What it’s doing is opening up the eyes of our community to being more inclusive in diversity opportunities,” says Chappell, who wants to look for ways to bring the next generation into leadership in the community. “Let's understand what it means to help them build and continue our community’s legacy so it can continue another 100 years. This is an excellent opportunity to start.”

He likes how the organizers seated people together at tables who normally don’t interact.

“It's forced folks to have to introduce themselves, learn different backgrounds, which is another part of being open to diversifying thoughts,” says Chappell, adding that Dunsmoore’s message was a great starting point for the community conversation. 

Community conversations

“He gave us direction coming back home to our places of work to identify how we can begin thinking about things,” says Chappell, who is passionate about educating young people about careers in public works and the water industry. 

The Tuesday Forum is bringing together area businesses, local leaders, and community members to collaboratively learn about and discuss critical issues impacting Northwest Ottawa County. (GHACF)

“Water is the most valuable resource but can be the most underappreciated resource, as well,” says Chappell. “One of my goals is to be able to educate our young folks and say, ‘There’s an opportunity for interesting careers in public infrastructure where you can make a difference in your community.’”

Sponsors of the first session were Best Financial Credit Union and Shape Corp.

The next Tuesday Forum, on March 21, will feature Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein, who will discuss inclusion and how it is imperative for a healthy community.

After Bernstein's presentation, attendees will participate in a community roundtable discussion guided by a facilitator, Karen McPhee. Pre-registration is required, register by March 14, cost is $25 per ticket—more information at grandhavenchamber.org.
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.