Company: People First Economy
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Hanna Schulze, President at People First Economy, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in community business promotion.
Working closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Ms. Schulze has provided superior service as the president of People First Economy/Local First of West Michigan since 2020, in which she assists business owners become more proactive in their communities. She serves as the organization’s primary fundraising executive and manages all administrative tasks, including human resources, payroll and internal policies and procedures.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in hospitality and tourism management and a Bachelor of Applied Science in marketing in 2011 from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, Ms. Schulze worked as an event coordinator and bartender before joining the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, where she served as vice president and later president from 2017 to 2019. In addition, she served as development manager and then president from 2013 to the present with Local First of West Michigan, a nonprofit promoting community ownership and profitability.
In recognition of service to the western Michigan community, Ms. Schulze has been honored with a 40 Under 40 Award from the Business Leaders Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2020 and 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2022. She has served as president of the board of directors, with the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association and economic chair of the Corridor Improvement Authority in Grand Rapids.
According to Ms. Schulze, prioritizing building authentic and genuine relationships has helped her be successful. The support of the community has helped her be successful and kept her passionate and dedicated to the work, because she sees everybody working together and wanting to support one another. She was inspired by the experiences of her parents, opticians who were passionate about finding eye glass designers that are small, independent, unique, and environmentally and socially conscious, and she noticed how much the support of their fellow business owners in the area where they had their business mattered to the success of their business.
When Ms. Schulze had the opportunity to go to university and had some internship opportunities working in event planning with different municipalities, she noticed small business and the business community were at the heart of what was happening in those towns and cities, and her passion for helping small businesses was additionally engendered. Ms. Schulze enjoys being effective as an individual and as an organization in helping lawmakers and policymakers prioritize the people that make up the states and the communities particularly small businesses, because supporting small business is supporting the people of the community. In the coming years she hopes to see the state of Michigan and national policymakers make a better effort to come together and prioritize small business in their policies.
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