Owner/Queen Watermark Insurance Services $0-$1.49 MILLION
welve years ago, Sheila VanZile set off on her own. Armed with the idea of starting an independent insurance agency with a concierge approach to business and more than 25 years of industry experience, she took the leap, leaving behind a regional executive position to achieve her dream. And as her own boss, VanZile gets to set her own rules — so she’s not only the owner of Watermark Insurance Services, she’s also the “queen.” In 12 years, VanZile has grown her company to five employees and established a successful firm that provides services in 10 states. “Having the ability to not only create five jobs but also nurture a business environment that supports my staff’s need to balance their families’ needs with their
work demands has been an important achievement,” VanZile said. In addition to her entrepreneurship, VanZile also sits on the boards of the St. Cecilia Music Center and the Cascade Community Foundation. Previously, she has served as board president of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and on the development committee for the Humane Society of Kent County. VanZile also is a member of the GROWestablished business division and was previously honored by the Business Journal as a Top Women Owned Businesses finalist in 2011 and 2013 and as one of the Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential Women in 2016.
Tracy George Managing Member Floral Ave Promo $0-$1.49 MILLION
racy George launched Floral Ave Promo, a certified Women Business Enterprise, two years ago and already has seen its sales triple. George has hired five employees in that time — most of them former stay-at-home moms who have returned to work. George said providing working mothers with a flexible place to work is important to her. “Floral Ave Promo is extremely passionate about empowering women,” George said. “Specifically, women who have taken time off from work to raise children. We have given this untapped workforce — namely stay-at-home moms — a new opportunity in the work place. George isn’t just giving women an opportunity to rejoin the workforce, she also has created a culture that supports 20 GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS JOURNAL TOP WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES
working parents. She said families come first at Floral Ave Promo, 927 Floral Avenue. “We’ve removed the feeling of guilt if you have a sick child at home,” she said. Offering flexible schedules, part-time and job-sharing positions has paid off. George said the company is nearing $1 million in sales, and she expects this upward trajectory to continue. Floral Ave Promo looks to local Grand Rapids vendors when doing business, such as screen printers and embroiderers. George also is involved with the Grand Rapids community. She sits on the Keystone Community Church board and serves on the Family Promise Capital Campaign Committee, which was responsible for raising funds to move the organization into a new facility.
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