GRCMC Names Starla McDermott New Executive Director

posted by Ted Diedrich on 08/29/2022

Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 29, 2022 – The Grand Rapids Community Media Center has named Starla McDermott as its new executive director.

In her new role with GRCMC, McDermott will be responsible for leading all departments of the multiplatform media nonprofit, engaging volunteers and building partnerships that enhance the organization’s mission to build community through media. She will be tasked with strategic planning, recruiting, training, mentoring, budgeting and securing funding sources for the organization while providing leadership in the public dialogue about technology, media and community building. 

With the support of 20 employees and 100 programmers and volunteers, GRCMC serves a diverse group of 1,900 members through public access television GRTV, community radio station WYCE, performing arts and community center Wealthy Theatre and hyper-local electronic news source The Rapidian. Established in 1980, GRCMC also offers an IT and Media Services Center that helps local nonprofits and community members by providing education, classes, web development and other resources. 

McDermott brings more than two decades of experience in nonprofits and business to her new role. The longtime Grand Rapids resident has a proven track record of effective communication and stakeholder relations, collaborative leadership, fund development and donor relations, board engagement, programming, financial management, social media, sales and marketing. 

“We are delighted to welcome Starla as our new executive director,” said GRCMC Board Chair Jason Wheeler. “She brings an exceptional package of skills, experience and integrity that will serve our team and our organization well at this time. 

“We are excited to begin this new chapter of the Community Media Center under Starla’s leadership. We are grateful to our team for coming together to support our continued commitment to creating a barrier-free resource of free speech and expression at a time when it is needed most.”

McDermott joins GRCMC after six years as development director for Guiding Light, where she oversaw a branding and public relations campaign that supported the nonprofit’s successful transformation from a traditional homeless shelter into an organization focused on addiction recovery, community reengagement and job placement. During her tenure with Guiding Light, she increased revenue by nearly 74% and the active donor count by 30% by developing a strong fundraising strategy that included a mix of monthly appeals, digital advertising, targeted marketing, traditional media relations and a new podcast.

Prior to joining Guiding Light, McDermott enjoyed a successful career in sales, marketing and distribution of natural health products, organic food, clothing and homeware for a trio of organizations in the Midwest.  

Nonprofit work, though, lies at the heart of McDermott’s career. She served in various roles with some of West Michigan’s leading nonprofits, including Junior Achievement, Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. Building on these experiences, she also launched and ran SM Nonprofit Services for more than five years, providing digital, website design, event planning and social support to nonprofits and small businesses. She also served as a volunteer with WYCE. 

“I am humbled and excited to step into this leadership role with the Community Media Center, an organization I have admired and worked with during my time at Guiding Light,” McDermott said. “Freedom of speech and access to information are critical to the success and advancement of our community, our country and our democracy.  

“I believe wholeheartedly in the Community Center’s mission to build community through media. I look forward to learning from and partnering with its amazing team as we work to elevate and expand the Center’s programming and reach."  

McDermott studied liberal arts at Thomas Nelson College in Virginia and recently completed a Women’s Leadership program at the Yale School of Management. A native of California, she now makes her home in Grand Rapids. 

The Grand Rapids Community Media Center got its start in 1980 as a public access television station. Over the years, the nonprofit has added new media platforms, programs, classes and outreach as it works to introduce audiences to new voices and ideas on stage, via screens and over the air. Today, GRCMC provides a multitude of media resources to area residents and organizations on a nondiscriminatory and intentionally inclusive basis, working to ensure a diverse array of individuals and partner organizations can participate in building community. 

With the support of more than 400 sustaining donors, GRCMC is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment for community members, volunteers and employees. GRCMC welcomes diversity in its many forms with the goal of providing platforms so all area residents can participate in free speech, strengthen civil society and advance a strong democracy.  

About the Grand Rapids Community Media Center 
Forty-plus years after humble beginnings as a public access TV station, the Grand Rapids Community Media Center has grown to provide and support a variety of community resources including WYCE-FM, Wealthy Theatre, The Rapidian, and GRTV, where it all began. We continually gather new tools and knowledge to teach, problem-solve and serve the media and technology needs of residents, organizations, neighborhoods and local collaborations. We are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment for community members, volunteers and employees with the goal of providing all area residents platforms to participate in free speech, strengthen civil society and advance a strong democracy. For more information, visit

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