An award from Blue Cross Blue Shield will help Hope College students enhance their professional development skills as they prepare to enter the work force after graduation.

During an "Etiquette Dinner" for students scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29, special keynote speakers Shlynn Rhodes of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Faye Richardson-Green of Steelcase Inc. will focus on appropriate dining and professional etiquette, particularly related to attire, character, networking, communication skills, working with diverse teams, taking initiative and leadership development. The event, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, will also provide the participating students with an opportunity to network with professionals from varied backgrounds.

This recent award is part of the first Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Diversity Lecture Series at HopeCollege, underscoring the alignment of diversity goals and values between the company and the college.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation has also supported Hope College's mission through past grant support.

"Each of us has one chance to make a positive first impression in an interview or other professional setting.  In this ever-challenging employment market, the importance of our students' learning these very applicable skills through this etiquette program is immeasurable," said Dale Austin, director of career services at Hope.  "HopeCollege is deeply appreciative of Blue Cross Blue Shield's significant support for this important professional development opportunity for our students."

Shlynn Rhodes received her master's in public administration and nonprofit leadership from GrandValleyStateUniversity, which positioned her for success in her current position as BCBSM's project manager of West Michigan Business Process Improvement and Analysis. In her 15 years of service at BCBSM, she has applied her leadership in customer service, employee development, project management, and quality assurance, always mentoring and helping others to advance professionally and academically.

Faye Richardson-Green is director of global learning and development for Steelcase Inc., (NYSE: SCS), an international work effectiveness company headquartered in Grand Rapids.  Richardson-Green has held leadership positions within Learning & Development, Manufacturing Operations, Human Resources, Marketing Communications and Order Services, providing her with a unique opportunity to influence the growth of the company's diverse and high performance work culture.  As a Cornell University Certified Diversity Professional, Richardson-Green speaks and consults with organizations on organizational culture, work force performance, diversity, and related topics.