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Grand Rapids Neigborhood Summit keynote speaker to discuss going 'beyond a seat at the table'

The Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit welcomes Rasheda L. Weaver, PhD as the keynote speaker. This year’s summit will be on Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s theme speaks to the need for economic equity and importance of resident voice at decision-making tables.
Dr. Rasheda Weaver

Dr. Rasheda Weaver /Courtesy of Dr. Rasheda Weaver

Underwriting support from:
Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit logo

Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit logo /Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit

The Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit 2018 is pleased to welcome Rasheda L. Weaver, PhD as the keynote speaker for this year’s event. This year’s summit will be on Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Grand Valley State University Pew Campus. This year’s theme is Beyond A Seat At The Table speaking to the need for economic equity and opportunities in neighborhoods and the importance of having resident wisdom and voice at decision-making tables. Summit coordinators encourage Grand Rapids residents, neighborhood associations, business associations, locally-operated businesses and other stakeholders to attend this day-long community event.

In her keynote speech entitled: How Believing in Yourself Can Transform Your Community, Dr. Weaver will share how residents and other community stakeholders can organize and collectively create economic opportunities and wealth in neighborhoods. In addition to her keynote address, Weaver will facilitate one of the many workshops at the Summit. Her workshop entitled, Strategically Using Business to Advance Community Development, will explore different techniques for using business as a tool for fostering community development. Specifically, the workshop presents strategies for using business to address pressing community needs, ways to acquire resources to meet those needs, and the importance of tapping into local resources and community strengths to support socially conscious businesses. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to develop a plan for applying the strategies discussed.

Dr. Weaver believes that fostering community development begins when community members decide to channel their energy into passion and motivation to create change in their community. When asked how this could be done, Dr. Weaver replied, “It could be done when one person – one community member - makes the decision to step up and start the conversation…One person can open up their home, invite their neighbors and talk about what’s happening in their neighborhood. This collaboration can eventually create a collective impact on community changes. It goes beyond demanding a seat at the table because if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t do anything to change your surroundings.”

Dr. Weaver received a PhD in Public Affairs-Community Development and a Master of Science in Public Affairs at Rutgers University. She graduated valedictorian from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development with a Master of Arts in Applied Psychology and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Herbert H. Lehman College. Currently, Dr. Weaver is an Assistant Professor of Community Entrepreneurship in the Community Development and Applied Economics department at the University of Vermont.

Registration for the #2018GRSummit closes on February 23 or when it reaches capacity of 500 people, whichever happens first. Please visit for more information and to register. Follow the event on Facebook and on Twitter and keep the conversation going using the hashtag #2018GRSummit.

Not able to attend Summit, but want to hear Dr. Weaver? She will give brief remarks and stay to connect with community at LINC UP First Friday event on Friday, March 2, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the LINC Art Gallery, 341 Hall Street SE. This pre-Summit community reception is a partnership of the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit, LINC UP, Latina Network of West Michigan, Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB), and the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Special thanks to the City of Grand Rapids, GVSU Division of Inclusion and Equity, Grand Rapids Community College, Wege Foundation, WestSide Collaborative, Kent County Health Connect and all of the #2018GRSummit sponsors!

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