Annemarie Valdez named one of the Top 200 Most Powerful Business Leaders

We’re excited to share that our President & CEO, Annemarie Valdez, has been recognized as one of the Top 200 Most Powerful Business Leaders in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal!

“These 200 people indisputably are leaders in the West Michigan business community. Most are very well known; some, you may be meeting for the first time. All, however, have one thing in common: They make an impact on West Michigan. And by making an impact, what I really mean is they make our community a better place to live,” writes Tim Gortesma, Editor of the Grand Rapids Business Journal.

Annemarie is certainly working to make our community a better place to live. Annemarie and First Steps Kent made headlines last year for working tirelessly to raise awareness of the gap that currently exists in early childhood services in our community, and the need for dedicated funding to support families with young children. Now that the Early Childhood Millage is in full swing, people are looking to Annemarie and First Steps Kent as a leader in West Michigan as well as the National Early Childhood Community.

Also, making the list are First Steps Kent Commissioners; Co-Chairs Kate Pew-Wolters and Lew Chamberlain, Sean Welsh, Michelle VanDyke, and Emeritus, Doug DeVos,

“I’m so proud that the early childhood community and First Steps Kent commission members are being recognized as business leaders,” said Annemarie Valdez. “I know that this work is a community effort and it truly has to be in order to benefit Kent County’s youngest children and their families.”

Here is Annemarie’s Bio: 


We want to thank our entire community for working together toward our shared vision to strengthen early childhood services in Kent County. We also want to thank Kent County voters for approving the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage that provides a dedicated source of funding for early childhood services across the county.

To download a free PDF of Grand Rapids 200, please click here.