Equipping Your Professionals

Embracing our region’s future, one young professional at a time

Program Overview

Southwest Michigan First believes the ultimate catalyst for our region’s growth and prosperity is a robust talent development strategy. That’s why we’re excited to reintroduce First Up, our premier leadership development program designed to empower emerging young professionals from a variety of industries in the Southwest Michigan region.

The four sessions will help you uncover your unique leadership style, set goals for future growth, cultivate a mindset of professional resilience, and communicate with clarity and confidence in the workplace.

Program Participants will learn how to:
  • Master the core competencies of self-leadership
  • Craft SMART goals that aligned with your personal and company objectives
  • Embrace an intentional approach to professional growth
  • Communicate effectively at all levels for positive outcomes
  • Build a robust professional network
  • Navigate workplace dynamics and cultural nuances
  • Cultivate resilience and manage stress amidst challenges
  • Collaborate within diverse teams, bridging generational and demographic gaps, and more



Who Should Apply

First Up was designed for early-career professionals with five years of experience or less as well as those who are changing careers or stepping into their first leadership role. Ideal candidates are those who are eager to approach their professional advancement with intentionality and full support from their leaders.



Participation in First Up is priced at $900, with a discounted rate of $750 for Chamber members. This fee encompasses all program expenses, including materials and resources.


Application Process

Apply online by May 31, 2024. A one-on-one interview will be scheduled after the application is submitted. Early applications are encouraged as interviews and acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis.



To learn all about the First Up program, email Carla Sones, president of Southwest Michigan First, at csones@southwestmichiganfirst.com.


Program Sponsor