May 12, 2020, 10:00 – 11:30 PM

Startup Grind Grand Rapids is honored to host an amazing panel of leaders: Ariana Waller, Alvin Hills IV, Ian K Washington, and Angel Barreto-Cruz for a discussion about the intersection of tech, talent, and equity as we work to build the teams and companies of the next normal.

Virtual event

About this event


Startup Grind Grand Rapids is honored to host an amazing panel of leaders: Ariana Waller, Alvin Hills IV, Ian K Washington, and Angel Barreto-Cruz for a frank discussion about the intersection of tech, talent, and equity as we work to build the teams, companies, and neighborhoods of the next normal. 


As early as February 2020, as firms started to shed employees from their roles, the discussion among the HR and Talent Acquisition/Recruiting industry started to talk about how to smartly downsize. For the forward-thinking, it was an opportunity to make sure the shifting needs of companies were best served by those teams and staffs that remained. It was also clear that the skills necessary to build companies and products are different than those that are required to pivot, scale different offerings, and keep up with declining or increased demand.

In March 2020, some firms laid off up to 70% of their staffs as demand plummeted and runway of cash on hand shortened by the day. Others faced wild increases in business.

Now as the April 2020 books are closed, the stark reality is hitting us:

  • 50%+ of our startups won't make it as they aren't relevant anymore, or simply don't have the runway
  • 75%+ of our small and medium-sized businesses won't make it as they're already on thin margins and the prospect of making it on decreased traffic and sales of up to 90% is unrealistic

So what's next? 

Economists tell us to expect:

  • Innovation
  • Pivots to remain relevant
  • Further unemployment
  • Deflation
  • Degentrification
  • Drastic changes to higher education
  • Rebuilt supply chains that are shorter and hyper-local

What does that mean?

Perhaps the "great pause" as some call it, or the "great reset" as others call it, or even the "great global leveler" as even others are calling it, is really the "great opportunity".

As we rebuild, it's not just what and where, but with who?

And now that distributed teams will reign as never before, how do we capitalize on this great opportunity?


  • 6PM EST - Panel discussion
  • 7PM EST - Breakout Rooms for networking


This event will be hosted on Zoom.

Upon your RSVP, you'll receive your Zoom link to join the event.

If there are any updates to the Zoom location, be on the lookout for an email on the day of the event.

Check out what happened


  • Ariana Waller

    Wallway Technologies


  • Alvin Harris IV

    Citiy of Grand Rapids

    Office of Equity and Engagement



Tuesday, May 12, 2020
10:00 PM – 11:30 PM UTC


Panel discussion
Breakout Rooms & Networking


  • Corey Hart

    Startup Grind

    Chapter Director


  • Corey Hart, Startup Grind

    Startup Grind

    Chapter Director

  • Renee De Haan

    Principal Financial Group

    Chapter Co-director

  • Vanessa Mahoney

    Chapter Co-Director

  • Margaret Periard

    Startup & Venture Capital Intern

  • Whitney Allred

    WhitMarie Media

    Social Media Manager

Global sponsor

Dell Technologies logo

Dell Technologies


Brewery Vivant logo

Brewery Vivant

Sidepitch logo


Hello West Michigan logo

Hello West Michigan

West Michigan Tech Talent logo

West Michigan Tech Talent

Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation logo

Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

BloomBright logo


Westbound Productions logo

Westbound Productions

Code For Good West Michigan logo

Code For Good West Michigan

Green Frog Photography logo

Green Frog Photography

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