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Elissa Hillary

Executive Director of Local First
Bachelor of Arts in Community Leadership & Political Science
Class of 2005

Independent Alum of the Day

Since 2007, Elissa Hillary has served as the Executive Director of Local First, an entrepreneurial nonprofit working to build a sustainable West Michigan economy.

Her energy and creativity have helped Local First quintuple its business membership and develop programs that promote sustainable business development, reduce waste, and increase community vibrancy.

Elissa was named Grand Rapids Young Non-Profit Professionals Exemplary Executive in 2010 and one of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s “Top 40 under 40” business leaders in 2010 and 2012.  She is a 2011 Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Fellow.  In addition, she serves on the Grand Rapids DDA’s Board of Directors. 

You can read more about “living local” in her bi-monthly column in Grand Rapids Magazine.


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