Elissa Hillary | Executive Director
Elissa Hillary has served as executive director at Local First since 2007, her tenure marked by a period of unprecedented organizational growth. A graduate of the Community Leadership program at Aquinas College, Elissa’s commitment to West Michigan is rooted in the belief that locally owned businesses are critical in driving the economy and supporting the community. Today, that philosophy has achieved significant results, as Local First’s membership has grown from just 150 local businesses in 2007, to nearly 600 local businesses in 2010. Led by Elissa Hillary, Local First has attracted national media recognition for its efforts, and is regarded as the premier organization advocating for local businesses in the Midwest.
When not at Local First, you might find Elissa at: The Green Well, Art of the Table, Gazelle Sports, Celebration! Cinema, Kingma's Market
Amy Deel | Membership Coordinator
Amy joined Local First in August 2010 as Membership Coordinator with extensive experience in the nonprofit industry. A graduate of Grand Valley State University, Amy most recently worked in social services at the Child and Family Resource Council.
When not at Local First, you might find Amy at: Amore Trattoria Italiana, Brewery Vivant, MadCap Coffee
Meghan Disselkoen | Program & Fund Development Coordinator
After working in nonprofit administration at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Aquinas College, Meghan Disselkoen joined Local First as Program & Fund Development Coordinator, focusing on event planning and donor relations. Meghan graduated from Grand Valley State University, and enjoys kayaking, backpacking, tennis, and cooking extravagant meals.
When not at Local First, you might find Meghan at: Tree Huggers, Fulton St. Farmers Market, Peninsula Trading Travel Gear, Romence Gardens
Melissa English | Administrative Coordinator
Melissa English joined Local First in May 2011 as Administrative Coordinator. She has a B.A. in English and Environmental Studies from Aquinas College and enjoys reading, studying wildlife, and exploring Michigan’s outdoors with her family.
When not at Local First, you might find Melissa at: Hop Scotch Children's Store, Global Infusion, Tree Huggers
Seth Galligan | Communications Coordinator
After working as a humanitarian overseas, media producer in Ann Arbor, and a Graduate Assistant at Grand Valley State University, Seth Galligan joined Local First as Communications Coordinator, overseeing the organization's communications, media production, media relations, and social media operations. Seth is currently pursuing his M.S. in Communications from Grand Valley State University, where he is focusing on communication and media production.
When not at Local First, you might find Seth at: Fruit Basket Flowerland, Marie Catrib's, Schuler Books & Music
Michele Lonergan | Membership Coordinator
Michele joined Local First in January of 2013 after working as Executive Director of the Lakeshore Independent Business Alliance for 5 years. Prior to going into non-profit work, Michele was the owner of a locally owned independent bookstore, Tree House Books, for 8 years in Downtown Holland. Michele is an avid reader of all genres, loves to eat and cook ethnic food, is a big fan of foreign films and loves to plan and execute epic hiking trips in far-flung places around the world.
When not at Local First, you might find Michele at: Butch’s, Montello’s Meat Market, Globe Design & Vision
Hanna Schulze | Program Assistant
Hanna is a graduate of Grand Valley State University who has lived in West Michigan for nearly a decade. She has most recently worked for the city of Holland coordinating the Street Performer Series and activities at the farmers market. Hanna enjoys traveling, cooking, and exploring.
When not at Local First, you might find Hanna at: Nourish Organic Market, The Winchester, and Bistro Bella Vita
Samantha Vanderberg | Membership Assistant
Samantha Vanderberg joined Local First in 2013 as Membership Assistant. She graduated from Calvin College with a degree in English and Writing and enjoys reading, cooking, and photography.
When not at Local First, you might find Samantha at: Martha’s Vineyard, Hopcat, Cherry Deli