Executive Director West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology Kim Dabbs is passionate about collaboration within and among sectors, and as executive director of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, she serves the mission of creating a culture of opportunity for people to make social and economic progress in their lives and community. Since 2012, Dabbs has worked with the WMCAT board to set strategic direction, with a keen eye on stakeholder partnerships and fiscal sustainability. Previously, she spent six years leading Michigan Youth Arts in Royal Oak, where she managed programs for 250,000 high school students, building a statewide advocacy coalition to increase funding for youth arts education. In 2010, Dabbs received a Joyce Fellowship from Americans for the Arts to explore communities of color and their engagement as part of a
year-long study. A recipient of the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts, she also earned the Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Art Education Association, the Friend of Music Education Award from the Friend of Music Education Association, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ferris University’s Kendall College of Art and Design. Dabbs sits on the board for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and for Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. She serves on the Leadership Committee for the Extended Learning Opportunities Network, the Education Policy Committee for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, and Varnum’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. In 2013, she was named to the 40 Under Forty list by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
Vice President of Client Relationships, The Charter Group Interim Executive, Inforum West Michigan A long-time Grand Rapids leader, Jeanne Englehart continues to remain at the heart of the area’s business community despite several attempts at retirement. She currently holds a position as vice president of client relationships for the mergers and acquisitions firm The Charter Group. A successful entrepreneur as founder and president of Englehart Training Centers, Englehart now provides independent consulting services to West Michigan business owners in the areas of succession planning and valuation enhancement. Previously, she retired from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, where she developed an award-winning organization during her seven years as the first female president and CEO. Englehart’s experience includes a host of board and leadership positions in local and na-
tional organizations as well as a gubernatorial appointment to the State of Michigan Early Childhood Investment Corp., a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business, and working as community services director for Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers. Englehart most recently stepped in as interim executive and brand ambassador for both Inforum and Inforum Center for Leadership in West Michigan, of which she is a founding member. She currently sits on the board and corporate committee for the Grand Rapids Symphony and serves Founders Bank & Trust as a member of the board of directors, executive loan committee, and governance and compensation committee. Among her many accolades, she was named the 2013 Athena Award recipient by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.
ELIZABETH JOY FOSSEL Diversity and Inclusion Counsel Varnum LLP
In 2011, Varnum appointed Elizabeth Joy Fossel its first diversity and inclusion counsel, a position that has led her to foster greater inclusiveness throughout West Michigan and enhance understanding of the value of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences. Beyond her legal work, which she offers pro bono when needed, Fossel views diversity and inclusion as essential for the equitable growth of the West Michigan economy and for talent attraction and retention in the community. To that end, she leads a portion of the Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative that focuses on recruitment and is geared toward increasing the number of minority and women lawyers in the Grand Rapids legal community. She spearheaded the development of the “grabLAW” campaign, designed to attract millennials to careers here, and has led efforts to ex12 GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS JOURNAL 50 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN
pand the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s minority clerkship program by working to increase the number of participating employers and expanding the applicant pool. In 2013, Fossel was recognized with the President’s Award for exemplary service by the Grand Rapids Bar Association and with the Diversity Business Leader Award by Corp! Magazine. In addition to her role on the board of trustees for the local bar association, she serves on the boards for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Gerontology Network, Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore, and the Kent District Library Fund Development Board. She also provides civic education to ninthgraders at Ottawa Hills and teaches courses at Cooley Law School and Grand Valley State University.
Grand Rapids Business Journal presents "The 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan"