HSA Announces Board of Trustees Co-Chairs

The leadership team of the Housing Stability Alliance (HSA) led by Interim President Salvador Lopez, announced today the election of two co-chairs to the Board of Trustees. Tasha Blackmon, President and CEO of Cherry Health, and Brad Kessel, President and CEO of Independent Bank will lead the board of the new organization effective August 1, 2021. 

Blackmon and Kessel will join an HSA board that also includes Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Kent County Commissioner Mandy Bolter, Christina Keller (Cascade Engineering), and Lynne Ferrell (Frey Foundation).

“Our team set out to bring dynamic, passionate community advocates to the Housing Stability Alliance Board.” said Christina Keller, President and CEO of Cascade Engineering and HSA leadership team member. “Their expertise and insights as we work together to create a more equitable housing system in Kent County will be invaluable.” 

The HSA is a product of community work facilitated by KConnect, a network of public, private, and independent organizations, whose work focuses on ensuring that children in Kent County have access to quality education, family, and community support to guide them to a clear path to economic prosperity. The project is the result of two years of examining how the current housing system is working, establishing shared goals, and developing collaborative strategies to reach those equitable housing goals with a focus on children, families, youth, and people of color. It convened and involved many organizations, funders, and other stakeholders within Kent County.

“We know that creating an equitable housing system is not something that will happen overnight. However, the work to bring people together over the past three years has shown us that the Kent County communities share a passion for this issue,” said Tasha Blackmon. “Partnering with Brad and the rest of the leadership team will advance the mission of the organization and bring a new perspective to the work that has already been done. I look forward to working with them as we move towards ensuring safe and stable housing for all Kent County families. 

“At this moment we are well poised to create the change we need around the housing issue in Kent County, and I am honored to serve with a team that is looking to create a system that works for everyone,” said Brad Kessel.

More information on the HSA can be found here.

About Tasha Blackmon

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan,Tasha Blackmon is a dynamic, collaborative leader, mentor and coach who brings more than 20 years of business operations experience to her role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Michigan’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Cherry Health provides integrated health care services to over 60,000 patients in Barry, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Ottawa and Wayne counties.

Since joining Cherry Health in 2005, Blackmon has championed health justice through aggressively disrupting healthcare disparities. Her experience comes from an operational perspective, having established high standards of care and developed integrated healthcare systems that treat an individual’s health needs holistically, rather than symptomatically. She has led numerous large-scale expansion and development projects and held six positions within Cherry Health before becoming CEO in 2018. As an accomplished and mission-minded leader, it is imperative to Tasha that our community is healthier, one patient at a time.

An eloquent and inspiring speaker, Tasha has a way of being heard on behalf of those who do not have voices, and for those whose voices have been silenced because of the barriers that they face. She is passionate and personally driven to ensure that all patients served in her home community, and surrounding areas, receive the highest quality of care.

About Brad Kessel

Brad Kessel is the President and CEO of Independent Bank and Independent Bank Corporation. He began his career at Independent Bank Corporation in 1994 and has held numerous positions within the Company. In 2011, Mr. Kessel was named President for both the Bank and the Company. Kessel earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Miami University (of Ohio). He also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University, and is a graduate of the ABA’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Prior to working at Independent Bank, Kessel specialized in the financial services industry for a number of years at regional public accounting firms and earned his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Designation. Kessel has held numerous leadership positions in the communities he has lived as well as within the banking industry. Currently he serves as board member and President for the Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes and as President and Board Member for the Michigan Bankers Association (MBA). Brad and his wife, Gayl, reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and have three grown children.

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