Robyn Afrik hired as Ottawa County Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director

General Press Release

June 7, 2019

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Robyn Afrik hired as Ottawa County Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director

Ottawa County is pleased to announce that Robyn Afrik has been hired as Ottawa County’s first ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director – and she is where she belongs.

"When I think of what Ottawa County can be in the next ten to fifteen years, I envision a community that honors its rich heritage while embracing the growing diversity of cultures that chose to make Ottawa County home," said Afrik. "I envision a welcoming place where citizens of all backgrounds thrive, prosper and contribute towards improving life for us all."

Afrik has over ten years of experience in diversity, inclusion and equity work across multiple industries, most recently as the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Meijer, Inc. She has worked with government agencies, faith-based institutions, universities and non-profit organizations across the United States to develop strategic plans, promote inclusive leadership and facilitated workshops on cultural competencies. 

Afrik has also spoken on national stages, developed programs and is a contributing author of an upcoming book on intersectionality. She has been honored with awards or award nominations for her work by the Asian Pacific American Community, City of Holland, Top Women in Grocery, Athena and Michigan Works.

She holds a Master’s in Management, Leadership and Strategy from Michigan State University, a Bachelor’s in Business Science Management from Cornerstone University and studied Social Work while attending Valparaiso University. 

A Korean adoptee, Robyn grew up in Ottawa County. She lives in Park Township with her  husband and her three children.  

The DEI office will lead the development of an equity plan for the entire range of human differences. A key initiative will be identifying implicit bias in internal policies, procedures, practices, and in external service delivery. In addition, the County intends to extend assistance to local units of government that desire to tackle similar objectives.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners established the office on December 11, 2018, and approved the staffing plan on February 26, 2019. 

The County began its Cultural Intelligence initiative in 2013 with the formation of an internal committee tasked with educating employees, hosting an annual forum and getting more involved in community diversity initiatives. 

After five years, Ottawa County leaders knew it was time to do more.

"Some of our largest employers in West Michigan expressed to us that attracting global talent is critical to their success. While they can get them here, those who are different from the cultural norm are leaving after a short time on the job," said Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County Administrator.

Funding for the office is a combination of public, private and non-profit dollars. The cost to Ottawa County for the first five years is approximately $630,000.