Tribal Thoughts: Be a part of the conversation.

May 27, 2014

“Local First is about relationships. Relationships between people and businesses and place.” – Elissa Hillary, Executive Director of Local First

One of my favorite things about this community is that there are so many opportunities to get involved and be part of the conversation. If you have questions, an opinion, or if you are just looking to connect and dig a little deeper, many conversations are open for discussion.

We recently began our speaker series titled Community Conversations. Our first guest was Elissa Hillary with Local First. Many of us know Local First as a sticker in the front window or as the hosts of a Street Party every summer. What you may not know, are many of the initiatives that are in place to help local businesses not only grow, but grow responsibly through a certification called B-corp. Local First also supports spending locally by educating consumers on the value of spending dollars at locally owned businesses, specifically by promoting its members.

I have had some people ask what Local First offers its members or say that they don’t know what exactly the organization is all about. My answer is always the same… ask questions and be a part of the conversation! If you have suggestions – offer them. If you want to be involved, but don’t know how – find out. The idea behind the Community Conversation speaker series is just that. A place to learn more, ask questions, offer suggestions, and find out how to get involved.

Our next series is June 16 at 4pm at Osteria Rossa with Tami VandenBerg of Wellhouse. Come with questions!

 

monica_steimle

by Monica Steimle

Raised in Holland and educated at Grand Valley State University, Monica has a passion for West Michigan. Her background in real estate spans over 15 years at some of downtown Grand Rapids’ most well-known commercial real estate companies.

Monica lives with her three children in Belknap Neighborhood. She currently sits on the boards of Local First and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

 

 

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Tribal Thoughts: Balance is the goal, not productivity alone.

Recently I found myself in a rather familiar spot—bone tired and weary. You likely know the experience: Work all day, head home, eat, chat with your spouse, and then head into the office to work the rest of the night.

Then you get up the next day and repeat the cycle. While the work is good and purposeful, it can occupy too much of our time and energy. I was at the point where I really needed some relief.

So, as I am prone to do, I met with a friend and shared my experience. I told him how I was worn out, tired and weary. He asked me “Why?” and I told him the same old story.

My friend had a great perspective. He reminded me that many of the ancient cultures were built on wisdom and balance, not on productivity.

Balance is the goal, not productivity alone.

I agreed that it made sense. So last week I took the time to help an elderly lady push her car out of the snow, stacked firewood with my dad up north, and planned a trip with my wife.

Balance feels better. But I do miss my iPad.

Change can be difficult.

– matt

Matt-OConnor

by Matt O’Connor

With a background in real estate financing and entitlements, Matt O’Connor primarily works behind the scenes at 616 Development by managing permitting; construction financing; securing municipal and state incentives and financial analysis.

 

Currently, Matt lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and their two dogs.

 

 

 

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Tribal Thoughts: The apprentice

 

“You’re FIRED!” – Donald Trump

 

Over the years at 616, we have received numerous requests for internships from extremely dynamic individuals. Unfortunately, as a growing company, we never took the time to slow down and create an internship program.

As we’ve matured (a little), some bandwidth has freed up to think about it, and we landed on an Apprentice program in lieu of a traditional Internship program.

Why?

The word mentorship kept coming up as we internally brainstormed about this part of our business. We didn’t see value in someone merely getting our coffee. Rather, we had a clear vision of someone apprenticing into a full-time position as our Tribe grows. We figured the best way to accomplish this was to mentor an Apprentice in lieu of just assigning tasks to an Intern.

Were we right?

We don’t know yet, but I can promise you one thing: After pouring energy into our apprentice, we will not replay the cliché boardroom scene and yell “you’re fired!”

Inward. Onward. Upward!

– derek

derek_coppess

by Derek J. Coppess

Derek J. Coppess is a developer, designer, community advocate and the founder of 616 Development & 616 Lofts. His mission: to inspire community by rehabilitating underutilized urban spaces. Derek and the 616 Tribe have developed notable projects such as 1 Ionia and the Kendall building.

Currently, Derek Coppess is working with local city planners and developers to achieve critical mass downtown. He also sits on the board of directors for Sunny Crest Youth Ranch in his hometown, Lake Odessa. Derek is happily married and lives in East Grand Rapids with his family of four.

 

 

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Tribal Thoughts: If your employees or team awarded you with a plaque, what would it say?

 

“I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.” – J. K. Rowling

 

I have a wonderful mentor who recently shared with me a way that she periodically audits herself as a leader.

She said, “If your employees or team awarded you with a plaque, what would it say?”

If the words on the plaque match what you are striving for as a person and leader, you are on the right path. If they don’t, it’s time to pause, reflect, and potentially correct your course.

At the end of the day, if your team doesn’t recognize the same strengths in you that you are valuing in yourself, then you will ultimately fade.

I am going to use this Tribal Thought as a challenge for my Tribe to respond to me with what they would put on my plaque.

What if they don’t even want to give me a plaque?

I am nervous, but ready… Tribe?

Inward. Onward. Upward!

-derek

derek_coppess

by Derek J. Coppess

Derek J. Coppess is a developer, designer, community advocate and the founder of 616 Development & 616 Lofts. His mission: to inspire community by rehabilitating underutilized urban spaces. Derek and the 616 Tribe have developed notable projects such as 1 Ionia and the Kendall building.

Currently, Derek Coppess is working with local city planners and developers to achieve critical mass downtown. He also sits on the board of directors for Sunny Crest Youth Ranch in his hometown, Lake Odessa. Derek is happily married and lives in East Grand Rapids with his family of four.

 

 

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Tribal Thoughts: Do good.

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

– John Wesley

Try it.

It works.

Inward. Onward. Upward!

-derek

derek_coppess

by Derek J. Coppess

Derek J. Coppess is a developer, designer, community advocate and the founder of 616 Development & 616 Lofts. His mission: to inspire community by rehabilitating underutilized urban spaces. Derek and the 616 Tribe have developed notable projects such as 1 Ionia and the Kendall building.

Currently, Derek Coppess is working with local city planners and developers to achieve critical mass downtown. He also sits on the board of directors for Sunny Crest Youth Ranch in his hometown, Lake Odessa. Derek is happily married and lives in East Grand Rapids with his family of four.

 

 

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Tribal Thoughts: Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall

 

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

As our summer days begin winding down, it’s time to say farewell to this beloved, activity-filled season and welcome the autumn leaves with open arms.

Of all the four seasons, fall is my absolute favorite. The crisp air, the perfect, chilly breeze and the smell of autumn leaves create an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. I associate all new beginnings with the fall season, which is perhaps why I have such an affinity towards it.

I have always felt that fall represented another milestone in life—going as far back as kindergarten. You are one year older, you are constantly meeting new people, and you are inevitably learning new things. For 17 years, my life fell into this unfailing rhythm—all the way through college and into my professional career with 616 Development.

As of last Tuesday, I have officially come full circle with the Tribe, as that date marked my one-year anniversary. Over the past year, I have been able to see the natural ebb and flow of the business, obtain a greater understanding of everyone’s individual roles, and most importantly, find out where my unique skill set fits.

With all of this under my belt, I am ready to start all over again. It’s easy to wander off course during the summer months, but now it’s time to begin to settle into this new autumnal season and set the bar higher for the upcoming year. I challenge you to do the same. Let’s see what we can accomplish when we get to start life all over again this fall.

– jenna

 

jenna_morton

by Jenna Morton

While Jenna Morton’s official title at 616 is that of Office Manager, her role encompasses much more. Beyond providing critical administrative support to the Tribe, Jenna leverages her creative talents to support 616’s marketing department. She is also Resident Liaison for 616 Lofts at the Kendall, where Jenna and her two feline roommates have made their home.

 

 

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Tribal Thoughts: It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran

On a rainy, dreary Tuesday morning a couple weeks ago, my wife called me 10 minutes after she had left the house for the day. She informed me that our “new” (week old) car just died in the middle of a major intersection.

Knowing my wife was safe, the natural reactions started flowing. Nevertheless, I got into our other car, drove to where she was stranded to deal with the problem and sent her on her way.

“First world problems” indeed. Then what happened next was special…

During those 45 minutes of being stranded, 21 people stopped and attempted to help me. I was dumbfounded… and grateful.

Humanity is good. “We” are good. Citizens make your life.

 

derek_coppess

by Derek J. Coppess

Derek J. Coppess is a developer, designer, community advocate and the founder of 616 Development & 616 Lofts. His mission: to inspire community by rehabilitating underutilized urban spaces. Derek and the 616 Tribe have developed notable projects such as 1 Ionia and the Kendall building.

Currently, Derek Coppess is working with local city planners and developers to achieve critical mass downtown. He also sits on the board of directors for Sunny Crest Youth Ranch in his hometown, Lake Odessa. Derek is happily married and lives in East Grand Rapids with his family of four.

 

Want our weekly Tribal Thoughts emailed directly to you? Click here. 

 

 

 

Tribal Thoughts: Your biggest strengths can also be your biggest weaknesses.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

Unlike many companies who encourage their employees to work on improving their shortcomings, 616 takes the exact opposite approach by choosing to operate in our strengths. This means that we gauge our personal strengths by taking the StrengthsFinder assessment, in which its creators have discovered that people have several times more potential for growth by operating under this model. Following, we learn how to collaborate with one another based upon these individual aptitudes.

Fatefully enough, my top strength is ‘Strategic’, which emphasizes the quality of examining the past and discovering why certain things transpired based upon that. “Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking ‘What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?’ ” (strengthsfinder 2.0).

While I appreciate my mind’s ceaseless ability to analyze the past all in the hopes of creating a better future, it often stays there longer than it should.

I have drawn a considerable amount of sunshine out of many of my days by focusing on something I previously did wrong, or could have possibly done better. Undoubtedly, this never has been able to change the outcome of the former events, nor will it ever be able to in the future. While it is important to realize mistakes that had been made, do not dwell on them – learn from them. You have control over constructing a brighter future for yourself, but not a better past.

With all that being said, it is very important to find people that balance out your strengths – professionally and personally. After all, your biggest strengths can also be your biggest weaknesses. I refuse to miss out on the future due to my inclination to analyze the past.

– jenna

 

jenna_morton

by Jenna Morton

While Jenna Morton’s official title at 616 is that of Office Manager, her role encompasses much more. Beyond providing critical administrative support to the Tribe, Jenna leverages her creative talents to support 616’s marketing department. She is also Resident Liaison for 616 Lofts at the Kendall, where Jenna and her two feline roommates have made their home.

 

 

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Tribal Thoughts: Adjust your throttle

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a small boat out on Lake Michigan from Holland to Saugatuck with some friends. It was the first time I had ever captained a boat on the big lake and I was thankful that the water was smooth, with no waves to speak of, and so it seemed it would make for a calm and peaceful trip.

With this in mind, and true to my nature, it was full throttle and off we went. What came about however surprised me. Even though there were no waves, the lake had enough of a roll and undulation that it created a rough and bumpy ride. About 10-15 minutes into the journey, it was clear that what was supposed to be a smooth ride was turning into an event that could not get over soon enough.

Desperate to solve this problem, I took a closer look at the body of water and how it was moving around us. I began to adjust the throttle so that we could ride in rhythm with with the roll and undulation of the current. Much to the delight of all of us on the boat, the ride quickly turned from miserable to enjoyable.

The point of this story: Even though we are often inclined to put our heads down and charge through life taking on its challenges, maybe we can reach the same destination by paying a little more attention to our surroundings. By noticing and appreciating what is around us, we are better able to master self in how we respond to each day and its challenges. For me on that day, it made for a better boat ride and a great time spent with my friends.

Peace.

– jeff

616 Development 10-10-13

by Jeff Olsen

As Project Director for 616, Jeff is the critical bridge between 616’s development and property management teams and construction and maintenance vendors.

Jeff lives with his wife and two daughters in East Grand Rapids. He relishes the opportunity to contribute to the growth of our local urban communities, and is always looking for new ways to act as the link between business and urban space. 

 

 

Tribal Thoughts: Grace opens a door for the unexpected.

 

grace

I recently witnessed a conversation between my best friend’s husband and their daughter after she was caught being dishonest. The conversation between father and daughter wasn’t focused on bad behavior or punishment, but rather on the value of honesty and grace, with an emphasis on the latter. “Do you know what grace is?” was the question posed. “Grace is when we are given something we don’t deserve.” Grace is a gift, given freely with no obligation attached.

There are other definitions of the word “grace” and this one may sound a bit simplified, but it really resonated with me. It’s parallel not only to physical things I give to others, but to my interactions with the world around me. Am I gracious in how I connect with people? Do I give kindness when confronted with malice? Do I offer more than is deserved with no expectations?

In reflecting on my day, I connected this definition of grace to the often-challenging task of working in customer service. Wanting to be a leader in providing excellent customer service, I strive to play my part in creating and carrying out that goal and treating people differently than I often personally experience. The goal is fluffy and easy to carry until I’m faced with a day filled with conflicts, demands, differing personalities and disasters outside of my control. These days remind me of our flaws and often make me question what good I ever saw in humanity. That question screams louder depending on the season, but those challenges can create a cycle of negativity that anyone who has ever worked in customer service can relate to.

Today I strive to think differently about my interactions. I try to be fully aware of all the times I have undeservingly been treated with kindness, fairness and love, and how it positively impacted my world if even for a moment. No one is perfect, but grace opens a door for the unexpected.

– caitlin

 

616 Development 10-10-13

by Caitlin Harvey

As Community Manager for 616 Lofts, Caitlin works to connect 616 residents to our vibrant downtown community. A native of Grand Rapids, Caitlin lives and plays where she works: downtown. She is fond of shoes, road trips and anything local.