Floriza Genautis Named Minority Entrepreneur of the Year
by Shandra Martinez
The Grand Rapids Press
Published: October 26, 2009
Floriza Genautis started Management Business Solutions just three years ago, and she’s already won a slew of awards for promoting diversity and inclusiveness.
The latest is the Minority Entrepreneur of the Year handed out by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
“We are a big torch-carrier of diversity. I believe it’s an essential part of business,” said
Genautis, whose firm provides professional staffing for several companies including Steelcase
Inc., Meijer Inc., and Magna Mirrors, an operating unit of Magna International Inc.
Tonight, she’ll be honored with Alice Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Management Resources Inc., and Erhardt Construction at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s annual Minority Business Celebration. Andrea Harris, a national expert on developing minority, woman-owned and small businesses, will give the keynote address at the dinner, held at Noto’s Old World Italian Dining on 28th Street SE.
Business Awards winners
2009 Minority Business of the Year: Kennedy
Management Resources, Inc.
2009 Minority Entrepreneur of the Year:
Floriza Genautis of
2009 Minority Business
Advocate of the Year:
Selected as the Minority Business of the Year, Kennedy Management Resources offers diversity training that uses interactive theater to illustrate situations and spark dialogue.
“It’s a honor and privilege to be recognized by my peers and those in the community who feel strongly about what I do,” said Kennedy, a recipient of many awards herself.
Her 12-year-old “unconventional business” has grown in this tough economy because she has expanded beyond her backyard of West Michigan into the Chicago and Detroit markets. Kennedy was surprised that even in bigger cities, her business model is unique from the competition. She not only writes and stages the presentations with actors, but leads the employee discussions at the end — something that isn’t offered by her competitors.
“I like to do it all from start to finish,” said Kennedy. “It’s my stuff, so I know what is passionate for (the clients) and what is close to their hearts, and I think I’m able to bring that out as a facilitator.”
Erhardt Construction’s use of minority contractors within the construction industry is one of the reasons the company was named Minority Business Advocate of the Year.
“We are committed to working with minority contractors in the construction industry and appreciate the recognition of our efforts,” said President Joe Erhardt. “Our commitment doesn’t end with the signing of a contract. It is important that the employees of our subcontractors find a welcoming and inclusive environment on our jobsites.”
Last year, the advocacy award went to Genautis for her work with the state’s minority-owned and woman-owned business enterprise certification process. It was one of three awards she received last year.
“I didn’t set out to be the voice of diversity, it just happened,” Genautis said.
Born in the Philippines, she migrated to California after college. She moved to her husband Rob’s hometown of Grand Rapids six years ago with their daughter Isabel.
“West Michigan mirrors the culture of what I grew up with in the Philippines,” said Genautis. The business grew out of her desire to be able to balance work and home life.