Member Testimonials

What Our Investors Say

For West Michigan to thrive, the employers of our region must have a reliable supply of world-class talent. Nobody understands this better than the top executives leading TalentFirst.

See why our leaders are deeply invested in the collaborative work needed to move West Michigan into the top 20% nationally for talent: 

TalentFirst allows me to interact with West Michigan business leaders who want to make a difference in not only their organizations but also their communities. The primary value that TalentFirst brings me is the ability to lend my time, talent and treasure to solving issues that directly impact where I live, work and play. It’s wonderful to be a part of group of doers that can move the needle on complex issues.

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Michael Davenport

We all know the West Michigan region is special and has incredible potential; having an organization like TalentFirst bring resources, best practices, and people together will help the region meet that potential. The Board, CEO Council, and TalentFirst staff are high-quality, dedicated, and passionate leaders collaborating in the uniquely West Michigan way. As we reflect on the progress and prosperity of our region years from now, I am confident we will be able to say that TalentFirst played a pivotal role in our region’s success.

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Brian Kraus

I have been a member of TalentFirst since its inception. It’s the organization that brings business leadership together to focus on the needs of talent, the greatest resource for any organization. TalentFirst allows us to share best practices, to prioritize raising the bar for the region on the quality of talent we can recruit and retain.

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Ginny Seyferth

I believe in the mission of TalentFirst. We all need to engage in our community to identify and solve our problems in a collaborative fashion. If we’ve been blessed with abundance, we should share that abundance with our community. The focus on identifying best practices for the talent chain is helpful to my organization and my community. The long-term advocacy for those best practices, from an organization with many voices, provides an impactful, positive voice that can achieve meaningful change.

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John Wilson

TalentFirst is leading the way in ensuring West Michigan has the talent it needs to prosper in the years ahead. It brings together executives from every industry to share best practices, create solutions and advocate for new and innovate approaches to addressing talent needs. For me, it’s a privilege to help lead the work and change that keeps us growing and thriving as a community.

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Matt Biersack

TalentFirst is a unique organization focused on larger foundational issues of talent pipelines and developing and offering solutions that drive improvements for our region and state. I appreciate the data-based research approach to illuminate issues and provide a solid set of strategies to improve outcomes. We educate, and we benchmark each other to ensure we have that positive impact we strive for in our community. TalentFirst also provides unique training tools to our member HR leaders to help their companies improve recruitment, retention and development of their talent.

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Mark White

It is imperative to embrace a holistic approach to ​talent attraction that goes beyond ​traditional recruitment strategies. The work that TalentFirst is driving related to workforce DEI and early literacy is crucial to building a vibrant talent pool in West Michigan. This investment will help us meet organizational challenges and elevate our region’s reputation in the market.

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Tracie Morris

TalentFirst takes a unique objective and view to problem solving. They convene all stakeholders in a talent continuum and work to find agreement on the end goals. By starting with agreement, they find ways to get all stakeholders unified to advocate for solutions that work. TalentFirst is not looking to run programs. The staff and members arrive at the conversation with a servant approach that positions them as trusted advocates. The working groups are inclusive of all opinions and strive to deliver impactful and deliverable solutions that are widely supported.

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Sean Welsh

I appreciate the influence of member CEOs speaking in a unified voice on important issues that are pivotal to our communities and our state. TalentFirst provides the forum for powerful change.

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Leslie Brown

As West Michigan’s largest university, GVSU is fully invested in Talent First’s focus on fostering collaboration between the education and business sectors to develop the talent pipeline that will fuel our region’s growth.

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Philomena Mantella


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