Van Andel's Summer Summit to take place at GV Alumni House

By Taylor Crowley | 7/19/18 1:04pm

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GVL / Amy McNeel

Grand Valley's Alumni House is located at the front entrance of the Allendale Campus.


Every year technology becomes more prominent in the world of business, especially international business. The Van Andel Global Trade Center is hosting its inaugural Summer Summit to discuss a range of hot topics in the international business world. 

The Van Andel Global Trade Center is an outreach unit at the Seidman College of Business that was started in 1999. 

Sonja Johnson, executive director of the VAGTC, said the VAGTC’s services are primarily dedicated to supporting businesses and their international growth. This includes exports, imports and ways to engage with businesses everywhere. 

Hosting this summer summit is a new endeavor for the VAGTC with big name companies like Kellogg, Amway and West Michigan District Export Council sponsoring the event. 

During lunch, Kellogg's senior manager of foreign trade, Emily Deng, will cover tariffs, trade wars and tough conversation. 

“I’m really happy Emily is going to take on and address these topics because it really is the elephant in the room for so many,” Johnson said. 

In the afternoon, there will be seven round-table discussions where the attendees will be able to choose three of the different discussions led by a table expert. These tables will be a more intimate discussion that will allow questions, direction for resources and clarity for things they struggle with. 

Title sponsor West Michigan District Export Council (West DEC) is bringing their best to the table, offering small group discussions ranging from a variety of topics.

The educators are volunteers that are experts in the area of international trade who promote exporting to companies in the US. West DEC operates in western and northern Michigan.

Jean Schtokal, chair of West DEC, believes that any student, regardless of their area of specialty, should attend the summit and learn more about international business. 

“It is important for everyone. I think, to immerse themselves in international cultures, broadening your horizons, whatever. It is of key importance to attend something like this,” Schtokal said.

Schtokal continued by shedding light on the fact that any business that has a website is an international business. With technology growing like wildfire, it has made the world seem like a smaller place. Every business has to be prepared for foreign customers and international affairs. 

“Everybody should have some familiarization with international business and these concepts. I think they make a person more valuable while they are out looking for a job,” Schtokal said. 

Not only is this event educational but it is also a place to network for soon-to-be-graduates. It will be an interactive afternoon of comfortable conversation and gives everyone a chance to be outside. 

The summit will be held on Wednesday, July 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Grand Valley State University’s Alumni House. The half-day event will be filled with global trade education, networking and fun in the sun. The event will close out with backyard games, drinks, food and music.

To register for this event, head to the Van Andel Global Trade Center’s page on GVSU’s website, find event Summer Summit, and continue from there. 

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