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The Economic Club of Grand Rapids invites you to celebrate the 35th Annual Dinner on May 28, 2024 featuring:

Oprah Winfrey

Chairman & CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

Global Media Leader, Producer, Philanthropist, Actress, Author

On this special occasion, we will be honoring the 2024 winners of our Business Person of the Year and

Slykhouse Community Leadership Awards.

Greg Williams

Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Acrisure

BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

City of Grand Rapids

SLYKHOUSE COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARD

Oprah Winfrey

Guest of Honor

  • Chairman & CEO, OWN
  • Global Media Leader
  • Producer
  • Philanthropist
  • Actress
  • Author

Oprah Winfrey is a global media leader, producer, philanthropist, actress and author. Over the course of her esteemed career, she has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today.

For 25 years, Winfrey was host and producer of the award-winning talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she entertained, enlightened, and uplifted millions of viewers. Winfrey currently serves as Chairman and CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, is the founder of O, The Oprah Magazine and digital site OprahDaily.com, and oversees Harpo Productions. In 1996, Oprah’s Book Club launched, serving as a catalyst for the creation of book clubs around the world and millions of books sold across genres, with over 100 selections to date.In 2017, the podcast debut of “Super Soul” launched as #1 on Apple Podcasts and has been downloaded over 600 million times by listeners in over 155 countries worldwide. In 2021, “What Happened to You” debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, which Winfrey co-authored with Dr. Bruce Perry, and has remained on the audio best-seller list for over two years.

Winfrey is also a dedicated philanthropist. During a December 2002 visit with Nelson Mandela, she pledged to build a school in South Africa and has contributed more than $200 million towards providing education for academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Graduates of the school have continued on to higher education both in South Africa and at colleges and universities around the world. Winfrey’s Morehouse Scholars Program has supported over 600 men graduate from college, with her additional pledge in 2019 bringing her total investment to $25 million, marking the largest endowment in the College’s history. Winfrey is a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and in 2020, Winfrey donated over $20 million in vital COVID-19 relief support to cities around the country, including her hometowns of Chicago, Nashville, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Kosciusko, MS.

In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2018, Winfrey became the first African American woman to be honored with the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Greg Williams is the Chairman & CEO of Acrisure, which he Co-founded in 2005. With a compounded annual growth rate of 56% since 2013, the Company has surpassed $4.3 billion in revenue and has averaged more than 100 M&A transactions per year since 2017. Already the 5th largest insurance broker in the world, Acrisure has grown from locations in 3 states in 2013 to a global Fintech company with a presence in every state and 22 countries. Acrisure offers clients an ever-expanding product and service offering which is underpinned by a robust AI platform.

Greg has extended Acrisure’s success into distinct social impact. In 2020, Acrisure pledged $15 million to establish the Center for Innovation in Children’s Health at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2021 Acrisure formed Evolution Advisors, a joint venture focused on providing access to financial services to minority-owned enterprises. Additionally, in 2023, Acrisure committed $7.5 million to UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation in Pittsburgh in support of the hospital’s top-ranked pediatric Heart Institute and contributed $30 million to build the Acrisure Amphitheater in its hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Greg Williams

Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Acrisure
Business Person of the Year Award

Under Greg’s leadership, Acrisure has been highly intentional about building significant brand awareness. In this regard, Acrisure has developed a highly differentiated digital marketing capability and has partnered with globally recognized brands, entrepreneurs, and entertainment venues. Notably, Acrisure has partnered with the iconic brand of the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers with the naming rights to Acrisure Stadium and has naming rights to Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California.

Prior to founding Acrisure, Greg was an Investor and Board Advisor to a variety of companies and was a Vice President for Michigan National Corporation (MNC), a $19 billion bank holding company

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

City of Grand Rapids
Slykhouse Community Leadership Award

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss became the City of Grand Rapids’ first female Mayor when she took office on January 1, 2016. She was re-elected for a second term in November 2019.  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.  Her professional career includes teaching at Grand Valley State University in the Honors College and School of Social Work as well as work in the field of child welfare and domestic violence.

Mayor Bliss is an active member of the community. She is Past President of the Michigan Municipal League and currently serves on the boards of the Downtown Development Authority, Experience Grand Rapids, Convention Arena Authority, Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority, Housing Kent, ArtPrize 2.0, Urban Core Mayors, The Economic Club of Grand Rapids and the Interurban Transit Partnership.

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. As Mayor, she is committed to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, working to create a cleaner, healthier and safer community and has a commitment to addressing disparities in our community to make sure that Grand Rapids is a great place for everyone.

Ticket sales are now closed. 

Please CONTACT US if you have any questions or would like to be placed on a waitlist.

Past Annual Dinner Speakers

2024 – Oprah Winfrey, Chairman & CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Global Media Leader, Producer, Philanthropist, Actress, Author
2023 – Tom Brady, Seven-Time World Champion Quarterback
2022 – Venus Williams, Legendary Tennis Champion
2019 – Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations, 2017-19
2018 – Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, 2006-2011
2017 – David Cameron, Prime Minister, UK, 2010-16
2016 – Ben Bernanke, Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve, 2006-14
2015 – Derek Jeter, Legendary NY Yankee & Journalist, George Will
2014 – Richard Branson, Founder & Chairman, Virgin Group
2013 – Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th Secretary of State
2012 – Tony Blair, Prime Minister, UK, 1997-07

2011 – Madeleine Albright, 64th Secretary of State & Gen. Colin L. Powell, 65th Secretary of State
2010
 – George W. Bush, 43rd President, United States
2009 – Condoleezza Rice, 66th Secretary of State
2008 – Tom Brokaw, Retired NBC News Anchor
2007 – William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President, United States
2006 – Bono, Co-Founder of DATA and Lead singer of U2
2005 – General Colin L. Powell, 65th Secretary of State
2004 – Madeleine Albright, 64th Secretary of State
2003 – Her Majesty Queen Noor, Queen of Jordan
2002 – Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, 1988-96
2001 – Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1986-16

2000 – F.W. DeKlerk, President of South Africa, 1989-94
1999 – John Major, Prime Minister, UK, 1990-97
1998 – Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, 1981-85
1997 – Shimon Peres, Prime Minister of Israel, 2007-14
1996 – Stephen R. Covey, Author, and Lecturer
1995 – Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House, 1995-99
1994 – Gen. Colin L. Powell, Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989-93
1993 – James A. Baker III, 61st Secretary of State
1992 – Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, 4-Star General, U.S. Army
1991 –  Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister, UK, 1979-1990
1990 – George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist
1989 – Paul Erdman, Novelist, Economist
1988 – Mark Shields, Political Analyst

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