GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 19, 2013 – CEOs for Cities, an innovation lab and network of urban leaders from throughout the country, will bring its national conference to Grand Rapids from September 29 through October 1. The organization includes representatives from many sectors working together to build, advance and sustain the next generation of great American cities.

 Set to the backdrop of ArtPrize, an event recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the to five cultural festivals in America, the CEOs for Cities conference creates conversation, provides research and stimulates change in city programming specifically designed to help communities attract and retain talent and the economic health of a city.

On average the national conference attracts 40-50 different city groups. “Our 2013 event will be one of our most successful ever with representatives from more than 60 cities and eight mayors joining in on the conversation,” said Lee Fisher, President and CEO, CEOs for Cities.  The event presents three days of options for discussions on everything from unique public-private partnerships, to live-work spaces and to creative working environments and programming that helps grow or sustain the strength of cities.

Key topics include: The Metropolitan Revolution, The Grand Rapids Medical Mile, A City as a Start Up, and The Power of Place: Redesign, Rebuild, Revitalize Your City

 Key speakers include:


·         Dick DeVos – President, The Windquest Group; Co Chair, Grand Action

·         Rick DeVos – Founder, ArtPrize & Start Garden

·         Paul Grogan – President and CEO, The Boston Foundation

·         Ton Hsieh – CEO, Zappos

·         Michael Kaiser – President, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

·         Bruce Katz – VP and Founding Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institute

·         Anil Menon – President, Smart-Connected Cities; Chief Globalization Officer, Cisco

·         The Honorable Michael Nutter – Mayor, City of Philadelphia; Immediate Past President, U.S. Conference of Mayors

·         Mark Rosenberg – President, Florida International University

·         Jessica Goldman Srebnick – CEO, Goldman Properties

·         Olga Stella – VP, Business Development, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

·         Jim Walker – Executive Director and Founder, Big Car Collaborative

·         Kemi Ilesanmi – Executive Director, The Laundromat Project

·         Chancellor Nancy Zimpher – Chancellor, State University of New York; Board Chair, CEOs for Cities

 For a complete list of speakers and topics please visit:

The conference will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 29 at Reserve Wine & Food. Over the course of three days, the conference will feature speeches at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and the Grand Rapids Economic Club Luncheon at the JW Marriott. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a walking tour featuring stops at GRid70, Start Garden, Haworth|Interphase and Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center for Philanthropic Research. The conference will wrap up with a keynote speech delivered by the Honorable Michael Nutter at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, October 1.

Media is invited to attend speaker events. For full schedule, interview requests or photos:

Please contact Michael Zalewski at or 616-776-3511

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