Women's LifeStyle Magazine - September 2019

Page 1


Grand Rapids | Holland | Grand Haven





Victoria Ann

Upton Founder, Women’s LifeStyle Magazine

June 22, 1955 - September 5, 2018



Grand Rapids | Holland | Grand Haven


Bonnie Nawara






September 2019 Edition #258



36 Peggy Murphy Honored

16 Her Legacy

with ATHENA Award

FEATURES 22 Hilary Berens Keeps Art Going

Roxanne O’Neil

26 GROW Celebrates 30 Years of Helping Women Succeed in Business


28 Sara Moylan on Founding One of the Nation’s Fastest- Growing Companies and the Myth of Work-Life Balance

Carole Valade EDITOR Elyse Wild editor@womenslifestyle.com ILLUSTRATION BY LIBBY VANDERPLOEG



32 Adriana Almanza: Young Hispanic Professional of the Year Advocates for DACA Students


35 Grand Circus Brings Accessible Tech Education to the Community

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Anu Teodorescu Devin DuMond

36 Peggy Murphy Honored with ATHENA Award

Elyse Wild

35 Grand Circus

Kayla Sosa COLUMNISTS Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council

38 We are ATHENA: Meet the 2019 ATHENA Award Winner and Finalists

and Accessible Tech Education



GROW Kelsey Emmanuel

9 Why Working Out is Good for Your Career



Elyse Wild Two Eagles Marcus

20 Simplify Back-to-School with Nutritious Meal Plans

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Terrie Lynema sales@womenslifestyle.com (616) 951-5422 CALL

20 Simplify Back-to-School with




16 Her Legacy: The Secret Life of Helen Meade


19 Reader’s Lounge




47 September Events

3500 3 Mile Rd NW, Ste A

48 Celebrate Five Years of Love and Healing with i understand

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

To extend an uplifting, inclusive and vibrant invitation to enjoy life, every day, in our community.

& DO

12 Imposter Syndrome: What it is and What to do About it

Nutritious Meal Plans

(616) 458-2121

IN MEMORIAM Victoria Ann Upton Founder 1955 - 2018

30 Pack Elephant is Transforming Corporate Gifting while Elevating Local Artisans

32 Adriana Almanza:

48 Celebrate

50 Women Who Shift

Young Hispanic Professional of the Year

5 years of i understand


53 Support Parkinson’s Research at Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge 53 We’re Out There

SHE Means Business Bonnie Nawara photographed by Two Eagles Marcus The month, we are featuring two covers — one showcasing professional women across West Michigan, the other starring Bonnie Nawara, executive director of GROW (26).


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

All that Glows beaut y event Thursday, September 19th | Bengtson Center Let’s Celebrate! Dr. Bengtson, Dr. Alfonso and the entire Bengtson Center team invite you and your friends to a FUN & Educational evening that focuses on you, our guest. The evening will feature all things beauty, body and skin. It is the event of the season…one you won’t want to miss! RSVP by calling 616.588.8880 or visit bengtsoncenter.com/events

b e n g t s o n c e n t e r .c o m

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


ONLINE ONLY CONTENT We have too much great content to fit it in all in the print edition every month. Please visit womenslifestyle.com for exclusive online content featuring:

Co-Working in West Michigan

From the Editor

It may be a coincidence, or it may be that after a few years at my post, the rhythm of my life is in accordance with our publishing schedule, but as we worked on our annual She Means Business edition, I was in the midst of making some very personal adjustments. I committed to dietary changes, exercising every day and switching out my usual morning comedy podcast for audiobooks on leadership. In all truth, I was doing fine: I have a deep love for my work, I go to the gym fairly regularly, and PHOTO BY TWO EAGLES MARCUS I’ve never struggled with body image. But “fine” was beginning to fall short. I knew it was time to double-down and start creating habits that will equip me to serve my work, community and myself better. As I began this process, I found myself coming in contact with women in our city who have cultivated emotional, communal and financial prosperity by reaching farther, stepping higher and not settling for “fine.” Within these pages, you will find their stories. They are courageous. They are taking risks and charting their own paths of achievement. They are founding companies that fill deep gaps in specific markets. They support each other relentlessly. They are leading their organizations with integrity and innovation. They are providing for their families, their communities and themselves. They are inspiring me. On page 26, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW). The nonprofit has become an integral part of our community, as it offers dynamic support to women at every stage in entrepreneurship. We spoke with GROW’s founder, LeAnne Moss, about how she executed her idea to help women entrepreneurs find success; and touched base with Bonnie Nawara, GROW’s current executive director on how they continue to evolve to meet the needs of their constituents. Sara Moylan of Shefit, one of the fastest-growing companies in the nation, pulls back the curtain on business ownership and motherhood. In the piece, Moylan reveals the arduous journey and ongoing sacrifices of pursuing her dream to provide women with unmatched support as they strive to meet their fitness goals (28).

Nikole Canute of Myka Meyers

Bringing Passion to Fuel Your Business

You will also meet Adriana Almanza, the assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Division of Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley State University and the recipient of the Young Hispanic of the Year Award by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (32); and Winsome Kirton and Seghen Aklilu, founders of Pack Elephant, a company that is changing the face of corporate gifting while supporting local creators (30); and Peggy Murphy, winner of this year’s prestigious ATHENA Award. I hope these women inspire you as they do me. Whether you are holding steady in your position of leadership, developing a side hustle or supporting your colleagues, it is important for all of us to reach higher. By doing so, we lift others. When we ask for a raise, we make it easier for the women around us and those who come after us to be paid no less than what they are worth. When we exert our strengths to rise into leadership, we create a visible path for others to follow. When we talk about the struggles behind our successes, we allow others to feel capable of achieving their dreams.

-Elyse Wild, Editor Runway Off Wealthy, Sept. 12


Grand Rapids Heart Walk, Sept. 26

Women’s LifeStyle is a dynamic multi-media platform designed to make beneficial connections in our community. The positive, upbeat, award winning and popular locally owned publication is supported by a dynamic mobile friendly online presence and an interactive website (including an events calendar, embedded video), as well as friendly, helpful and consistent social media interaction with the community. With 490+ distribution locations, Women’s LifeStyle is favored by an active, engaged and progressive audience. You are now looking at the 258th edition. All content ©Women’s LifeStyle, Inc. 2019.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Spotlight on Community Initiatives

Join In

Sponsored by Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women At Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), entrepreneurs are supported at every stage of their business, from evolving an idea to developing skills for established business owners. There are many ways to volunteer with GROW from office assistance to facilitating workshops, mentoring business owners and more. For more information or to sign up, visit growbusiness.org.

“Welcoming others is important to the future of West Michigan, as we need talented people with new skills and ideas to sustain our community’s growth. I support Treetops to help women and girls find their place and unleash their talents and abilities here in our community.” — Megan, member of the collective

“Together with community partners, we a

Women’s Resource Center

Diana Sieger, President

The Women’s Resource Center provides programs and services to educate and empower women. Volunteer by instructing a small class in Microsoft programs, mentoring or assisting a woman reentering the community from jail, interviewing participants about what services would benefit them from the WRC, be a resume coach and much more. To get started, visit grwrc.org/get-involved/volunteeropportunities.

Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur-Lab The Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur-Lab is a free community program from Grand Valley State University that trains military-connected individuals — veterans, reservists and military spouses — in entrepreneurship and how to start a business. There are two opportunities for volunteers to mentor a participant this fall — on Oct. 21 and Nov. 18. To get involved, contact the Project Manager Julie Cowie at cowiej@gvsu.edu.

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce connects more than 2,700 members to people and resource to help businesses thrive. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer by joining the Chamber Ambassador Committee, OutPro Council, ATHENA Leadership Council, becoming a business program facilitator and much more. Visit grandrapids.org/your-chamber/get-involved/join-a-committee for more information.

Treetops Collective helps New Americans with refugee status find their place in the Grand Rapids community, rediscover their strengths, lean into their leadership, and put their roots down deep, so that they and their families can flourish here for years to come

“Together with community partners, we are extending our reach to provide hope and opportunity for everyone in Kent County.” Diana Sieger, President

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Learn more at grfoundation.org


Grand Rapids Art Museum | 101 Monroe Center | Grand Rapids, MI 49503 | 616.831.2920

Artful Gifts Inspired by Iconic Artists The Museum Store

Product Information (clockwise from top): Sass & Belle Frida Kahlo Vase, Cup (saucer not shown), Key Ring and Coin Purse.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

How Working Out is Good for Your Career BY KELSEY EMMANUEL


hile getting a toned booty and increased muscle strength can be great, often the nonphysical benefits of exercise can be overlooked and underestimated. A regular workout routine can increase your creativity, boost your mood, improve goal setting and organizational skills, build perseverance, boost your confidence and more. Getting your sweat on can positively impact your daily work life by making you feel calm, upbeat and ready to handle anything. So, let’s dive right into the three powerful ways working out creates a foundation for a fulfilling career.

POWERFUL MOOD BOOSTER Mindset is everything. How would improved confidence, increased energy and a can-do attitude affect your work? Would it be a lot more enjoyable? Less stressful? When you are thriving individually in your own physical and mental health, you are able to grow and improve in other aspects of your life. Constant stress can put a halt to your creativity, passion and efficiency. It is crucial to prioritize and cultivate healthy habits that will create balance, decompress and prevent you from hitting a wall.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Many studies show that working out reduces levels of cortisol, which is the body’s stress hormone. Some people even consider working out as a natural antidepressant because it promotes the production of endorphins and serotonin — your feel-good hormones. It is common to feel a sense of confidence and a feeling of empowerment after consistently working out for a few weeks. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better, which will increase your focus throughout the day.

GOAL SETTING Goal setting is a critical aspect of career development. It is a good way to check in with yourself, see how much you are progressing, and to consciously work toward achieving the next level. Goal setting takes research, planning and commitment. As you get better at committing to fitness goals, it will be easier to more consistently set and go after short-term and long-term goals in your career.

BUILD CHARACTER FOR SUCCESS The last few reps of your workout are the ones that count the most when your legs are burning, your muscles are

fatigued, and you are exhausted. By completing that extra mile and pushing yourself to complete two more squats, you are building discipline and determination within yourself. By persevering through the tough parts of the workout, you are able to build strength and see more results. The same goes for your career — your ability to push past stressors and overcome challenges that will help you grow in your career. It is essential to carve time outside of work for your mental and physical health. Treat your scheduled workouts like mandatory appointments you cannot miss. Organize your week, schedule in your exercise and commit to them! Kelsey Emmanuel is a certified CrossFit Level 1 trainer. Follow along with her workout tips and tutorials on Instagram @kelsey. emmanuel and on Facebook at Kelsey’s Health Journey.


supported in part by

SHE Means Business



Grand Rapids | Holland | Grand Haven

Here you will be introduced to local professional women who either own businesses, are leading an organization or improving the lives of others in our area. Take some time and get to know these women, the services they offer and what sets them apart in their fields. Thank you to GROW for partnering with us to make this an affordable way for women to showcase their talents. To have your profile in the 2020 edition, contact sales@womenslifestyle.com, call 616-458-2121, or reserve your profile directly at womenslifestyle.com/smb

Rebecca Stein, Founder and Owner THE MATRICULADIES offers a comprehensive writing practice focusing on personal statement, essay and business case development for competitive or selective processes, such as higher education admissions, scholarships, fellowships, and honors program admissions; resume development, corporate and professional awards; nonprofit grant writing, for-profit business plan and business case development; personal social media profiles, press releases, magazine articles and book editing. The Matriculadies are here to help you with thoughtful and engaging methods and a commitment to letting your voice stand. We can assist you in creating and tailoring your narrative to produce the results you hope to achieve.

THE MATRICULADIES (616) 206-7220 • rebecca.stein@thematriculadies.com • thematriculadies.com



Welcome to the 2019 She Means Business special advertising section.







Elyse Wild, Editor-in-Chief ELYSE IS AN award-winning writer and editor of Women’s LifeStyle Magazine. She leads the publication’s print and digital content production and prides herself on her unfailing ability to help talented writers bring the essential and inspiring stories of women across West Michigan to more than 50,000 monthly readers.

WOMEN’S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE (616) 458-2121 • elyse@womenslifestyle.com •womenslifestyle.com

Devin DuMond, Owner HATCH IS YOUR one-stop creative shop! I have been working professionally as a visual artist — in all its many forms — for over 20 years. My range of experience includes graphic design, print design and production, fine art, illustration, chalkboard and sign art, portraits, website design, ad campaigns, social media marketing, murals, t-shirt graphics, and the list goes on. Everything I do under Hatch, I do with passion. Let’s bring your ideas to life. HATCH CREATIVE SERVICES (616) 617-8640 • contact@hatchgr.com • hatchgr.com

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

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SHEYOUR Means Business LOCAL EXPERT CONNECTION Becky Vandenbroek, Owner

I NEVER THOUGHT that my journey as a mom would lead me to develop a cruelty-free, vegan and clean cosmetic line! It began in 2018 when my daughter asked if she could try on my lip gloss, which prompted me to start researching commonly-used beauty ingredients. I found that most brands use ingredients that have little regulation and could even be harmful, so I decided to develop my own. Girlpalooza is a cruelty-free, 100% vegan, clean beauty that also donates a portion of proceeds back to girl-empowering charities. All of our products are Leaping Bunny and PETA Certified Cruelty-Free.

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Julietta Brothers, Owner CREATING COLOR CONFIDENCE & Raising Color Consciousness. The Message of Color will help you understand: • The power and potential of using color • The rationale behind the colors you choose • How color impact others • What color is saying to you and about you Color is the first thing we see when we open our closets, walk out the door or enter a business. Color is a lifestyle influencer. Julietta Brothers Certified Color Practitioner Speaker Consultant Educator is an experienced presenter who works with numerous agencies and businesses. Julietta’s programs and presentations are designed to inform and entertain professional groups and social organizations.

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


Carolina Gil-Ortegon, Owner AT BODYMIND PILATES we specialize in customizing Pilates workouts that solve the movement gaps or body restrictions of our clients. Our fully certified trainers have been serving the community for 13 years, educating our clients on how to prevent injury, improve their posture, push their edge of ability and prepare or recover from surgery.

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Jessica Starks, President & CEO ARE YOU LOOKING TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS? When a business owner needs to sell their company, they cannot just stick a “for sale” sign in the window. They need the assistance of a business broker to confidentially locate and vet potential buyers, help them through the negotiations, work through the due diligence process and get them to the closing table for a successful transition. Jessica Starks offers professional services that successfully bring buyers and sellers together.

TRANSWORLD BUSINESS ADVISORS (616) 446-3984 • jstarks@tworld.com • tworld.com

Anu Teodorescu, Intern AS A BUDDING WRITER, Anu is turning her passion for words into a lifestyle. In addition to working at Calvin University’s Rhetoric Center and guest writing at the University’s newspaper, Chimes, she writes for Cascade Living Magazine and Women’s LifeStyle Magazine.

WOMEN’S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE (616) 458-2121 • tap25@students.calvin.edu • womenslifestyle.com


“A crucial aspect of thinking like a non-imposter is interpreting events with a sense of curiosity, not fear.”



ary was excited and flattered to get the promotion. She had been working at the company for a little over four years and was seen as a solid performer. The calls and emails from current and former co-workers were nice as well. As she shut down her laptop and packed up for the evening, a few thoughts crept into her mind. “Am I really up to this?” “If they knew how stressed I was on these recent projects, they probably would’ve given it to someone else.” “I’m a fraud.” Welcome to “imposter syndrome.” In 1978, clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the term that refers to professional insecurity and nagging feelings that our accomplishments are due to luck or the generosity or naivete of others rather than our own skills and abilities. Our example with Mary is fictional, but imposter syndrome is real, and it’s rampant. According to Forbes, 70% of the US population has experienced it at some point. A study in the United Kingdom found that a whopping 60% of women put off starting a business due to imposter syndrome. It affects both men and women across many industries, including highly successful icons of business and entertainment such as Tom Hanks, Michelle Obama and Sonia Sotomayor. Its prevalence among accomplished people reveals the ironic truth behind imposter syndrome: To have it means you are achieving success. Self-doubt is a symptom of achievement; it just feels undeserved. There are numerous books and articles about it, but we wanted to hear from someone with first-hand expertise in dealing with it. We recently sat down with Nora Bouchard, an executive coach, to discuss how to address imposter syndrome. Bouchard spent many years coaching at Arthur Anderson and as the owner of her own coaching practice, Frontrunner Consulting. According to Bouchard, two of the most concerning negative consequences of imposter syndrome are procrastination to avoid challenges and overwork to overcompensate by trying to be perfect. Both consequences are brought on by fear and over time, can be debilitating. Women, in particular, can struggle with this as they can be acculturated, even today, to be modest and not celebrate their achievements. Selfconfidence is founded on achievement and no one can give it to us. We must give it to ourselves through openly celebrating accomplishments. It’s all about how we think. In a 2017 TED talk, imposter syndrome expert Valerie Young recounts a story where she had just finished a speech on the topic when an audience member asked her, “Are there any other suggestions you


have about how to overcome imposter syndrome?” Young replied, “Well, I just mentioned several in my talk, have you tried any of those?” The women hadn’t. It dawned on Young that people expected to enter the room feeling like an imposter and leave feeling like a non-imposter. It doesn’t work that way, she noted. It’s about changing our thinking, which takes time; however, change can be accelerated using some of the following practices from Young, Bouchard and others.

Author, entrepreneur and speaker Seth Godin also takes this approach in a recent blog post writing,“Superman still lives on Krypton; the rest of us are just doing our best.” It’s this notion of doing your best, accepting what is and moving forward that lies at the heart of Bouchard’s philosophy. She often shares a quote with clients from 20th-century American literature professor Joseph Campbell: “When you are falling…dive.”

BRING IT OUT INTO THE OPEN. Leaders can be reluctant to talk about imposter syndrome for fear of showing weakness. However, they help themselves and their colleagues by acknowledging it without dwelling on it. Secrecy is part of what gives imposter syndrome it’s power — getting it out in the open weakens its grip.

SEPARATE FACTS AND FEELINGS. This can be done with exercises that visualize your accomplishments. Bouchard has clients write down accomplishments on a whiteboard, which, because these are accomplished people, quickly fills up. An important caveat Bouchard adds is “no buts.” Some rationalize accomplishments with the phrase “but if I did it anyone can.” Young echoes this sentiment, and the person she heard it from was talking about a Ph.D. in astrophysics. No buts.

REFRAME YOUR THOUGHTS AND LANGUAGE. A crucial aspect of thinking like a non-imposter is interpreting events with a sense of curiosity, not fear. Perhaps the most famous example is Edison’s quote about discovering two thousand ways not to invent the light bulb. “Fear and creativity are not compatible,” Bouchard stated. “Fear can motivate in the short term but not long term. Curiosity and wonder are better longterm motivators.”

USE HUMOR. Bouchard notes that humor is effective at helping clients see the unrealistic demands they place on themselves.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Are you a woman to watch? Show our readers why in our new promotional section.




Details at WOMENSLIFESTYLE.COM/W2W Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


supported in part by




Kristin Britt,


I AM THE OWNER and president of The Britt Law Group PC, with locations in downtown Grand Rapids and Spring Lake. My fiveattorney firm takes a dual approach to provide the very best legal services for our clients. We offer comprehensive in-house counsel for small companies who do not have a legal department; providing protection and security without the large firm overhead. Our personal counsel service is for individuals seeking to working with trustworthy attorneys who have their best interests at heart in the areas of family law, criminal law, estate planning and real estate.

Kelsey Emmanuel, FitnessTrainer KELSEY IS THE FOUNDER of Functional Fitness Method. She is a certified fitness trainer and a health writer for Women’s Lifestyle Magazine. She helps women entrepreneurs and busy professionals build lean muscle with short workouts, more food and lifelong habits. Follow along with her workout tips Instagram @kelsey.emmanuel.

KELSEY’S HEALTH JOURNEY kelseyakiyama@gmail.com

Karen Scarpino, President and Owner Karen Scarpino is the Owner of Green Giftz, a branded merchandise agency specializing in high-design, sustainable and earth-friendly gifts. For over 20 years, she has worked with industry leaders like Steelcase, Herman Miller, and Haworth to design and manufacture gifts from re-purposed manufacturing waste, which helps clients meet zero waste goals while telling the sustainability brand story.

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Janet Blackall, Chief Motivational Officer

I LOVE how my camera is a time machine that gives us a ticket back in time to relive special moments. As a photographer, I love how I am a witness to that behind the camera lens. My portfolio consists of corporative events, nonprofit forums, weddings, portraits, and commercial photography. When I work with clients I like to provide them two things that I value the most: a great customer service experience and the passion I have for photography reflected in my work. DREAMS BY BELLA (616) 334-9388 • dreamsbybella@gmail.com

Kristin Revere /Alyssa Veneklase, Owners

WE ARE A VETERAN-OWNED and operated professional motorcycle road racing team located in West Michigan. We are always looking to partner with new sponsors to bring national exposure and a heavy dose of patriotism to their brand. Our goal is to race on the national platform in the Land Of The Free, Because Of The Brave. We are creating a pipeline to produce a facility where warriors can transition to elite leaders in our workforce.

GOLD COAST DOULAS is the premier doula agency in Grand Rapids and the Lakeshore. We offer judgment-free support from conception through the first year. Services include: birth doulas, day and overnight postpartum and infant care doulas, lactation support, classes, and sleep consultations.

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BLACKALL RACING LLC (616) 254-7009 • blackallracing11@gmail.com • blackallracing.com

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

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Roxanne O’Neil, Realtor


Anna Hunt, Owner ANNA HUNT, RN BSN, REALIZED the need for transitional senior living for those who needed help but were not ready for the more traditional assisted living facilities. She built The Cottages at Martin Lake to be a place to “Keep on Living” while offering supportive care for independent, active seniors. The amenities she provides are aimed at making it a place seniors want to live and a place their families will want to visit. Her goal is to give seniors a Lake House without the work so they can enjoy doing the things they love.

I’m proud to be a Peak Selling™ Realtor for Midwest Properties of Michigan.

Peak Selling™ is designed to generate multiple offers after only 5 days on the market, lead to a smooth transaction and be ready to close in 30 days or less. It’s proven to be an excellent way to secure the very best deals for my sellers.

There will be 24-hour staff, but Anna lives right next door so residents and their families can feel assured that mom or dad will be well-taken care of. By living in the community and receiving the supportive care they need, she believes her residents will stay healthier longer.

This program is also tremendously beneficial for buyers who are navigating this crazy market. I utilize a deep understanding of writing winning offers using aspects of the Peak Selling™ program and all of the other tools at my disposal. 2355 Belmont Center Dr., Suite 104 • Belmont, MI 49306

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CJ DeVries, Owner ALWAYS FIRST ON THE SCENE with a fierce, fun and forward-thinking approach, CJ’s passion and expertise is uniting community through music, food, art, events, business and beyond. Her business venture, GRNow, offers the perfect platform to connect businesses, events and brands directly with locals hungry for adventure … or an awesome meal!

GRNOW (616) 818-9176 • cj@grnow.com • grnow.com

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


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In 1949, immediately after Mayor George Welsh left on a prestigious international tour, recall papers were served on his secretary, Helen Meade. In her role as the city’s representative, she had earlier issued the permit for a mass meeting. Preceding this social disruption, Meade had developed a talent for juggling conflicting responsibilities while running the offices of both the long-time “strong mayor” and his rival city manager. When Welsh decided not to fight and cabled his resignation from Rome, Meade continued to serve both his supporters and detractors with unswerving integrity. Diana Barrett’s upcoming book will offer a fresh angle on whether the fight over an assessor position justified a recall move or was mostly a cover for a vicious attack.


oday, Helen Mae Meade would be considered City Hall’s chief of staff. For nearly 26 years, she coordinated the offices of seven mayors and 12 city managers. Upon her retirement in 1971, she was hailed as having “sat at the very epicenter of the city’s political vortex.” She never once lost her “sense of equilibrium” or gave the “slightest hint of a break of confidence,” even when her bosses were political enemies. Her title was “secretary.” “Secretary” shares a linguistic root with “secret,” so Meade’s two children had little to say about her professional life. Her daughter Maureen was asked whether her mother had a favorite among the mayors she served, but could only respond, “I have no idea. She never talked about her work.” Yet Meade’s remarkable professional life offered her some help in juggling its duties with those of a recently widowed mother of two children. Maureen and David were delighted when police cars delivered their mother home after City Commission meetings and, especially, after entertaining visiting royalty, like Queen Juliana in 1952. The ethics of Meade’s profession often mask success; however, her skills were extraordinary, and she seized the opportunity to overcome assumptions that her career involved doing only “what she was told.” During 26 years at the hub of city operations, she juggled the schedules of six commissioners and oversaw their capacity to handle high-profile issues; kept the wheels of government turning with the respect of 30-some department heads; and ensured smooth transitions during arrivals and departures in city government. When Meade stepped into city employment in 1945 with 13 years of professional experience, her sophisticated skills were noted by Mayor George Welsh, a fascinating man who remains the most controversial political figure in Grand Rapids history. Meade’s first project with Welsh entailed spearheading a state-wide referendum to return more state-collected sales tax to cities. Working for Welsh guaranteed both visionary projects and national contacts. During ensuing years, Meade came to be trusted in roles so various as hosting visiting vice presidents and representing the city on a crosscountry collection of foodstuffs for post-WWII Europe. From 1963-1966 Meade was a consultant on municipal affairs to editor Z. Z. Lydens for an official city history.

ILLUSTRATED BY LIBBY VANDERPLOEG In 1970, she was named Secretary of the Year by the national association, begun in 1952 to encourage more women to enter a field once dominated by men. Born in 1908, Helen Mae Feltman played an important role in the evolution from male secretaries to Victorian “angels in the office” to today’s mixed-sex office managers and “admins.” Only in 1969, near the end of her long career, were the duties she performed for both city manager and mayor finally divided. And it took two people to fill her shoes. During her retirement, she continued civic life on the city Historical Commission and hosted its 1976 bicentennial video. Meade died at 76 in 1984. To view more, visit Womenslifestyle.com/her-legacy-thesecret-life-of-Helen-Meade

The Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council is dedicated to educating the community and celebrating the legacies of local women, preserving knowledge of their past and inspiring visions for their future. For more information or to get involved, visit ggrwhc.org.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

GROWING WITH YOU Boven Birth Center

Every mom-to-be has a vision for her birthing experience. At Holland Hospital Boven Birth Center, we’ll be with you every step of the way… surrounding you with compassion, comfort and security. Our beautifully renovated and expanded birthing center offers advanced technology, skilled specialists and all the amenities you’d expect… for a safe and exceptional birth experience. It’s no wonder three out of four lakeshore-area babies are born here.

IT’S TIME TO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN REGARDING YOUR BLADDER ISSUES! Let Dr. Thompson help you find your freedom!

Jannah H. Thompson, M.D.

Call (616) 459-4171 to schedule your appointment

Come see for yourself; schedule your tour at hollandhospital.org/bovenbirthcenter.

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THE DOCTOR and a CoolSculpting Rep

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

READER’S The Visual MBA: Two Years of Business School Packed into One Priceless Book of Pure Awesomeness


by Jason Barron

100 Side Hustles: Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money without Quitting Your Day Job by Chris Guillebeau Here you go — an idea book for 100 side jobs that anyone can do. Whether you’re hoping for some extra income or some extra excitement, this book can launch you on your way. Idea prompts include urban tour guide, ice pop maker and confetti photographer, along with inspiring stories about regular people who became innovative entrepreneurs.

Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler The gig economy is here: The freelancer now makes up one of three American workers. When neither steady job nor benefits are a guarantee, how can we find meaningful, wellpaid work? What does this disruption mean for the future of work? This book digs into the lives of contract workers and explores what this revolution means for the way we do business now.

When Jason Barron went to business school, he drew sketch notes for each class to visually capture the essential points of his education. After graduating, he launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to self-publish a book to help aspiring business leaders of all backgrounds and income levels learn the critical concepts one learns in business school. This highly entertaining book has only these rules: have fun, be curious and discover on your own.

Women with Money: Create the Joyful, Less Stressed, Purposeful Life You Want with the Money You Have by Jean Chatzky What’s your money story? And how does it still affect the way you handle money? In this book, women open up about the topic we never talk about: money. Let’s get real — being in control of your money can give you a sense of security and help you create the life you want. Jocelyn Yost is a librarian at the Grandville Branch of Kent District Library. Although her only side hustle so far has been holding a garage sale, these books are inspiring her to try another!

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019



Back-to-School Dinners with Nutritious Meal Plans WORDS AND PHOTOS COURTESY OF FAMILY FEATURES


ack-to-school season can be cluttered between after-school activities, weekend sports and evening homework as well as making dinner each night. Creating a master meal plan with quick, simple and nutritious meals is an easy way to take control of your family’s hectic schedule. Start by stocking the pantry with staple ingredients that amp up the nutrition and flavor of your family favorites. For example, American Pecans are a nutritious ingredient to have on-hand, among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats and packed with plant protein, fiber and essential minerals; and “The Original Supernut” is versatile enough for breakfast, lunchboxes, dinners and on-the-go snacking. Adding one bag to your weekly grocery list provides a canvas for exploring new dishes that are both nutritious and delicious. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving (28 grams) of pecans contains 18 grams of unsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat.

Creating a master meal plan with quick, simple and nutritious meals is an easy way to take control of your family’s hectic schedule. Pizza with Pecan-Herb Topping 1 1 1 /2 1 /2 1 /3 1

store-bought pizza dough cup raw pecan halves or pieces cup fresh parsley teaspoon garlic powder cup grated Parmesan cheese teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 1 1 /2 2 1 /2 1 /2

pinch salt pinch pepper cup jarred pizza sauce cups shredded mozzarella cheese cup thinly sliced red pepper cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion

Heat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour clean surface. Using rolling pin, roll out pizza dough to 1/8-inch thick and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Gently pierce dough with fork to prevent air pockets. Bake crust 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden in color. In food processor, pulse pecans, parsley and garlic powder until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Transfer to bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes (if desired), salt and pepper. Set aside.

Updating your dinner repertoire doesn’t have to be complicated. Fuss-free recipes such as pizza with pecan-herb topping, baked pecan-crusted chicken tenders and pecan-crusted air fryer pork chops can be ready in less than an hour and put a fresh twist on classic favorites to please parents and kids alike. Discover more back-to-school meal-planning recipe inspiration and cooking tips at AmericanPecan.com.

Pecan-Crusted Air Fryer Pork Chops SPICED PECANS 1 cup pecan pieces 1 /3 cup arrowroot starch 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 /4 teaspoon sea salt, plus additional, to taste 1 large egg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, plus additional for serving 1 tablespoon water 2 garlic cloves, crushed 6 medium boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat

Heat air fryer to 400 F. In medium bowl, mix pecans, arrowroot starch, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.

Using spoon, evenly spread pizza sauce over crust. Top with mozzarella cheese, red pepper slices and onion slices. Sprinkle 1/3 cup pecan mixture evenly over pizza.

In separate bowl, whisk egg, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, water and garlic.

Transfer pizza to oven and bake 10-15 minutes, or until crust is crispy and cheese is melted. Serve with remaining pecan-herb mixture.

Cover pork chops in egg mixture then transfer to bowl with pecan mixture to coat all sides. Repeat with remaining pork chops. Place three pork chops in air fryer basket.

Notes: If dough instructions differ from recipe, use package instructions. Additional topping options include: pepperoni, olives, ham, bacon and roasted veggies. Leftover pecan-herb topping can be used for pasta and salads.

Cook pork chops 6 minutes, flip, then cook an additional 6 minutes. Set aside on plate. Repeat with remaining pork chops. Serve hot with Dijon mustard, if desired.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

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Baked Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders

2 cups raw pecan halves or pieces 1 cup panko or gluten-free bread crumbs 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 /4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste 11/2-2 pounds chicken breast tenders or chicken strips 3 large eggs 1 cup all-purpose flour pepper, to taste

BUTTERMILK RANCH DIP: 1 /4 cup buttermilk 1 /2 cup mayonnaise 1 /2 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon parsley 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon dried dill 1 /2 teaspoon salt

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Heat oven to 425 F. In food processor, pulse pecans until fine as breadcrumbs. In shallow bowl, mix pecans with panko, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. In separate shallow bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. In third shallow bowl, add flour. Lightly season chicken tenders with salt and pepper, to taste. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dip in eggs, flour then pecan mixture. Be sure to press pecan mixture into chicken to be sure it is completely coated. Set chicken on baking sheet lined with cooling rack or parchment paper. Repeat with remaining chicken.

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Place chicken on center rack and bake 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. To make Buttermilk Ranch Dip: In small bowl, whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, dried dill and salt until smooth. Serve pecan-crusted chicken tenders warm paired with Buttermilk Ranch Dip.

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019



she needed “something for me again.” It was then that she picked up some acrylic paint and started “letting it all out.” Now, Berens paints nearly every day as part of her self-care regimen and often finishes a piece in a single setting — a far departure from her early college art days. She describes her process as all about being in the moment. “It’s my version of therapy,” she expressed. “I just zone out and paint.” The result is expansive, abstract fields of color, each one different yet showcasing her signature brushstrokes or intricate dot patterns and her keen eye for harmonious color schemes. If there’s one word that sums up Hilary’s art practice, it would be prolific. Her social media posts are full of new work and venues showing her paintings. This is a result of being proactive and dedicated. She sends her artist’s resume out to 20-30 venues at a time. She values professionalism and stresses the importance of setting appointments, being on time and being reliable. BY DEVIN DUMOND | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELYSE WILD


hances are, if you have recently visited a coffee shop, restaurant or local business in the Grand Rapids area, you have already become acquainted with the artwork of Hilary Berens. In the last year and a half alone, she has exhibited her paintings in more than 30 different locations and is often asked back for repeat shows. We sat down at MomHive — a newly opened co-working space for moms — to discuss her journey of re-discovering art to cope with life’s ups and downs and how it has become more than just a career.

…When I’m working on a piece, that is what I am seeking: peace, relaxation, and creative distraction.”

Berens got her start in college where she earned an associate’s degree in art from Grand Rapids Community College. She described herself as “the person in class who would have really intricate pieces that I would never finish,” which is quite a departure from the artist she is now. It took a return to school for her bachelor’s degree in social work, a complete career change and starting a family to get there. She spent the first nine months after earning her degree as a foster care caseworker before finding her place at Hope Network for the following six years. During that time, Berens struggled with fertility problems, which— after every treatment in the book—finally resulted in boy/girl twins followed shortly by another baby girl. At 13 months old, her son was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic mutation that causes tumors. “It was a constant ‘wait and see’ situation,” she expressed. “I’m very open about my fertility and son’s medical problems as it creates awareness about these conditions.” A true portrait of resilience, Berens recognized the toll all of this was having on her mental health. Anxiety, children, medical problems — everything started piling up, and


“I am creating art that I am proud of but also putting in the work so that I am providing for my family,” Berens said. This hard work has certainly paid off. She now shows her art all over Grand Rapids and beyond with displays in dozens of local businesses and an active art fair schedule. With an awareness for creating art for any budget, shehas added custom painted gifts — such as journals, earrings, hats, greeting cards, magnets and stickers — to her repertoire. “I like to have a variety and different price points,” she commented. “Not everyone can afford the big-ticket items so by offering different products and prices, and this can impact the overall sale.” Another unique practice of Berens’ is what she calls her “transformation pieces.” These pieces start with thrifted artwork, often found at Goodwill or garage sales, which she paints directly on top of while leaving some of the original image visible. This integration of her whimsical style and cast aside art of yesteryear allows her to create new, transformed pieces of art. And, any time the original artist’s name is visible, she keeps that as part of the finished piece to honor the artist. To Berens, it is a beautiful and meaningful way to “keep the art going.” Art can have so many different purposes for both the creator and the audience. For Berens, it is about selfexpression. Many people remark that they feel peace or joy when viewing her art. “It’s pretty perfect,” she reflected. “Because when I’m working on a piece, that is what I am seeking: peace, relaxation, and creative distraction.” Follow Hilary on Instagram at @hilaryberens.grmi.artist where you will see her smiling face and newest creations. Devin DuMond is a Grand Rapids artist, entrepreneur, and professor who is passionate about cultivating community and empowering women. Find her online at hatchgr.com and grwomenwho.com.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019





6 signature events, 17 inspiring seasons






Water on the Mind: A Baroque Musical Journey




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Dina Reed, Deputy CEO of Finance & Administration WHEN DINA REED joined The Rapid in 2018 as the Deputy CEO of Finance and Administration, she brought global financial management and leadership acumen from her prior positions working for the authority that operates Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Delta Airlines, and Walt Disney World. As importantly, she brought with her an unwavering commitment to supporting services that make people’s lives better. Last year, The Rapid provided over ten million trips to work, school, medical appointments, and more in the greater Grand Rapids area. Beyond traditional bus service, The Rapid also offers a suburban connector service called PASS, travel training, a vanpool program, and customized business services that structures mobility options for local employers and employees. Reed guides The Rapid’s annual operating spending and capital program, as well as directing five administrative departments. Together with private business and other public entities, The Rapid team works consistently toward a future in West Michigan where people can live conveniently and affordably without owning a car. “Having the opportunity to lead a public agency where my contributions directly impact the communities we serve is a significant responsibility,” says Reed. “I’m so grateful for the chance to leverage my experience to improve mobility, accessibility, and equity in West Michigan.” That mobility landscape is always evolving, and Dina has been a critical part of The Rapid’s efforts to diversify revenue streams, improve financial planning, and integrate technology that helps provide safe and reliable public transportation in new and creative ways. For example, this July, The Rapid launched a six month pilot program called Rapid On Demand to test the use of an app to better schedule ADA Paratransit and other trips. When asked what project she’s proudest of at The Rapid so far, Reed pauses for a moment, “Launching our Wave [e-fare] card, building the Laker Line…The Rapid has so many amazing projects in the works. One thing that’s less public, but is a passion project of sorts, is our plan to move much of The Rapid’s administrative staff into Rapid Central Station. The project is so much more than a change in space — it will allow us to really focus on our people, public, and mission. The space will be more collaborative and will invite interaction and transparency. Not to mention that it will situate us all in the heart of our public hub, right in the middle of the space that our customers use every day.” A lifelong Michigander, Dina was born and raised near Lansing, lived and worked near Detroit for the majority of her career, and relocated to West Michigan with her family to join The Rapid team. She received her bachelor’s degree in finance from Eastern Michigan University and her master’s degree in business from Michigan State University.

THE RAPID (616) 456-7514 • dreed@ridetherapid.org • ridetherapid.org


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

supported in part by

SHE Means Business



Larissa Wildeman, Production Designer

AS PART OF THE Women’s LifeStyle Magazine staff, Larissa assists in the magazine’s print and digital design. Born and raised in Mexico, she brings to her work a passion for creativity, an acute sense of aesthetics and a tenacity that allowed her to move to the United States, graduate from college and land her dream job.

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Alyssa Cairns & Kelli Palm, Owners

Carrie Vos, Realtor

In July 2019, Alyssa Cairns and Kelli Palm opened momHIVE: Grand Rapids’ only allfemale co-working and community center that offers on-site childcare. Alyssa is a former college advisor and educator, and Kelli works in digital product management. They are passionate about intentional community building and advocating for women’s career success throughout motherhood.

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Betsy G. Ludwick / Jill M. Petter, Owners GENTLE TOUCH has been in business since 1998, but Betsy and Jill have been offering Electrolysis since 1992. With a combined experience of 51 years, you’ll know that you’re in good hands. We make sure to follow all OSHA rules for sterilization and cleanliness. We are also state licensed and inspected. As a mother and daughter team, we strive to offer you the best service possible with integrity and compassion. Gentle Touch offers Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal, Permanent Makeup, Glycolic Acid Facial Peels and Micro-Needling to help you unleash your beautiful potential.

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

I’M CARRIE VOS, founder of Team Vos. After 16 years of selling real estate in our area, I still feel honored to help buyers and sellers make informed decisions. I work hard to achieve excellent results, whether you are a first time home buyer looking to find that perfect home or one of my sellers experiencing the excitement of having your home successfully marketed and sold. I believe in giving back to my community. I am honored to serve as a Director on the Board of the Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors. Professionalism, communication and understanding are my core values as I truly care about my clients.

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Rebecca Dutcher, Owner REBECCA IS THE PRESIDENT and founder of RED66 Marketing. RED66 Marketing focuses on marketing strategy and using digital tools like websites, social media and more to help clients solve business problems. Rebecca has a passion building strong relationships with clients by offering honest input and feedback. She is the current chapter president of the American Marketing Association of West Michigan and sits on the board of directors for GROW. RED66 MARKETING (616) 490-1068 • rebecca@red66marketing.com • red66marketing.com


GROW Celebrates 30 Years of Helping Women Succeed in Business BY ELYSE WILD


hirty years ago, LeAnne Moss sought to answer a need she recognized in our community.

“I saw a lot of barriers that women in particular faced in becoming economically self-sufficient,” she expressed. “I wanted to do something about it.” Moss, then just 25 years old, founded Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) to support women entrepreneurs at every step in their journey. Today, the organization has evolved to become an integral thread in the fabric of our community. “There were job training programs,” Moss explained. “But there wasn’t another option to build women’s economic self-sufficiency. At the time, Moss had just returned from Washington, D.C., where she researched micro-enterprises. “It was a great economic development set up for communities and populations that people often dismiss,” she said. “I came back to Grand Rapids and started talking to people about this idea.” After gaining support from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Moss established the first GROW office — a cubicle at the Grand Rapids Employment Training Council. The Michigan Women’s Foundation (now Michigan Women Forward) provided early funding to launch the programming, which included ideation, personal development, marketing and financing. Moss says the backing of the chamber helped to add legitimacy to her efforts. “It was a new concept,” Moss said. “And I was very young, so it was hard to be taken seriously sometimes. Having the chamber behind me really helped.”


As women, we are nurturers. Sometimes we forget that we have put our business hat on and take our heart hat off. We show women how to work ON their business, not IN their business.” —BONNIE NAWARA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GROW


Early GROW participants included a woman who made baby blankets from a material to which infants bond emotionally; another who was seeking to launch a computer consulting business; and a single mother who wanted to start an auto body shop. “There was a philosophy of dignity and selfdetermination behind it,” Moss said. “I wanted to bring that spirit into being an entrepreneur and give back to the community […] Instead of pushing people through a job training that will get someone a job at Burger King, I wanted to acknowledge that everyone has gifts and talents to contribute to the community.” Moss’ instincts were correct. As women have gained more access to entrepreneurial support, the number of women-owned businesses has grown at an astonishing rate. According to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report by American Express, in 2018, women owned four out of every 10 businesses in the

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

United States — a total of 12.3 million firms — up 58% from just 11 years prior in 2007.


Today, GROW is located at 25 Sheldon Blvd SE. What started with Moss acting as an individual determined to empower women to achieve economic self-sufficiency grew to more than a half-dozen employees who offer women business owners dynamic support. Bonnie Nawara, executive director of GROW since 2010, leads the nonprofit today as it evolves to the needs of its constituents. One of the primary ways it has done this is by entering the financing space: GROW is now a micro-loan lender, providing business loans to qualifying candidates for up to $250,000. This is significant; according to a 2014 U.S. Senate report, though both groups apply at similar rates, only 39% of women business owners received conventional loans, compared to 52% of their male counterparts.

Women own four out of every 10 businesses in the U.S. WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES GROW CLASS | COURTESY PHOTO

“Women don’t have the access to capital that men do,” Nawara stated. “That is one of the pieces that we really help address.” Fund recipients also receive counseling from a loan development officer for the life of the loan. “They are with you every step of the way to help you in any areas you might need,” Nawara said.


African American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, growing

63% from 2007 to 2018.

Nawara mentions that the barriers women have to succeed in business ownership may also be in internal.

In addition to expanding into financing, GROW now offers services on the lakeshore with a dedicated business development officer; and this month, they are launching online training to reach smaller, rural communities who could benefit from their resources.

“As women, we are nurturers,” she said. “Sometimes we forget that we have put our business hat on and take our heart hat off. We show women how to work ON their business, not IN their business.” While the growth of women in entrepreneurship shows no signs of slowing down, African American women are opening businesses at the highest rate of any group in the U.S., accounting for 47% of women-owned firms in 2018. GROW’s 2017 annual report reflects this on a local level: they report 39% of their participants were African American women. “There is more of a focus than ever before on working with communities of color, and that makes a big difference,” Nawara said. “We are seeing many more women of color who have already achieved a higher level of success, stepping up to the plate and helping those who are just starting.” GROW has left its mark on countless local businesses, with alumni including Connie’s Cakes, Cone Appetit, Gold Coast Doulas, Nutcase Vegan Meats, Urban

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019



Exchange and many more. Mallory Root, the owner of Roots Brew Shop located on Grand Rapids’ burgeoning West Side, received funding from GROW when she was starting her business. She also completed GROW’s Small Business Growth and Planning class series. In a previous article for this magazine, Root commented that the experience was essential to helping her launch. “I learned a lot,” she said. “Most importantly, I learned to ask for help. I am a very independent person, and GROW makes you really comfortable asking for help with your business.”

While Moss departed from GROW in 1996 to pursue a career in Seattle, she remains passionate about encouraging women to transform their passion into businesses. “Ask yourself, ‘what it is that you can’t not do?’” Moss said. “Then take the next step. Don’t feel like you have to have everything mapped out — just keep taking the next step, and let the passion shine through.” When she is not editing for WLM, Elyse enjoys traveling to far off lands, taking photos, listening to live music and spinning records.




ork-life balance?” Sara Moylan’s voice resonated through a packed room at the Goei Center. The founder and chief business officer of Shefit — a customizable, high-impact sports bra — and mother of four addressed a crowd of more than 100 women who gathered for an event billed to help them rise in the workplace, their careers and their dreams. Moylan’s voice was wrought with emotion as she divulged a truth that doesn’t often enter conversations about success: “I have to tell you in authenticity, for those of you looking to climb the ladder or start a company, there is no such thing as work-life balance.”

my house or go to the gym without seeing someone bouncing, or someone with two bra straps peeking out. I thought, ‘I think I have the solution.’”

and has experienced 3,400% growth in the past three years. Moylan says that the years of struggling to launch the brand while starting a family is all worth it.

Moylan’s journey to turn her homemade bra into a product for millions of women is nothing short of inspiring. Through a connection from a family friend, she spent two years driving across the state to meet with a patternist, all while working full time, pregnant and with a new baby. She searched on foot through L.A.’s notorious fashion district to hunt for fabric suppliers and a factory to make the product. Finally, she connected with a manufacturer in New York who agreed to prototype the bras.

“It is a burning passion in my belly for what I believe we have, and what we are doing for women and girls across the world,” Moylan expressed. “I truly believe that this is my higher calling. It is not about me.”

A quick Google of Shefit will pull up hundreds of thousands of reviews averaging 4.7 stars, YouTube videos of women singing the bra’s praises, and numerous articles citing the company as one of the fastestgrowing in the nation by authorities on the subject, such as Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur 360. As of this writing, construction is wrapping up on the new Shefit headquarters in Hudsonville. Moylan and her husband oversee more than 20 employees as they lead the industry in customer satisfaction.

At the time, Shefit was funded entirely out of her husband’s income while Moylan worked out of the basement of their Jenison home to launch the company.

Moylan speaks about her success with refreshing candor; instead of re-coloring her journey with joyful discovery and optimism, she describes a sometimes bleak path, illuminated only by her own tenacity and belief in the power of the product.

Five days after sending $25,000 to the manufacturer to produce the first run of bras, Moylan’s husband lost a sales account that made up a significant portion of the family’s income.

“It took place over years and years,” Moylan expressed. “People have no idea what we have sacrificed. There have been many, many ups and downs.” Shefit began the way many products that evolve from ideas into the mainstream do: as a solution to a problem. Moylan is a life-long athlete, citing cheer, track and even rodeo among her favorite high school and college activities. Post-college, she began competing professionally in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness. When she became pregnant and her body began to change, her sports bras were no longer providing the support she needed to keep up her workout routine. “I couldn’t do any of the things I was normally able to do,” she said. “I was depressed and self-defeated.” She decided to take matters into her own hands. Armed with scissors, needle and thread, a hot glue gun and a couple of sports bras, she made what is now the first Shefit prototype. At the time, starting a business was far from her mind. “Then, it was as if the universe was calling to me,” Moylan said. “I couldn’t drive down the street, leave


“My husband was trying to fund the idea, and I was trying to sell the idea,” she said. After years of back and forth with the New York manufacturer, a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 and positive feedback from focus groups, Shefit was ready.

“I wondered what I had just done to my family,” she said. “We were spending thousands of dollars on Shefit — branding, packages, the website. It was really, really scary — I thought I had just thrown everything down the drain. “ Moylan and her husband decided to push through and do whatever they could to put momentum behind Shefit. At that point, they had maxed out their credit cards, emptied their 401ks and drained their children’s college funds. The couple sold many of their possessions, including their cars, and took out a second home equity line. Moylan found a job selling tools; all the while she pounded the pavement selling the bra. Then, Shark Tank called. “That was how it happened,” she said. “It was grind, grind, grind, and never quitting and believing in what we had and not taking ‘no’ for an answer.” Appearing on Shark Tank’s seventh season catapulted the brand into the spotlight and orders for the bra skyrocketed. Shortly after, Shefit moved out of the Moylan’s basement and, a year and a half ago, she left her job to work on Shefit full time. In 2018, according to Inc.com, the company reported $6.6 million in revenue

Moylan passionately notes that a sports bra that allows women to perform, unhindered, to the best of their ability, is emblematic of the heights women can achieve when fully supported. “The product fills a void in the market that hasn’t been filled before,” she stated. “The gear we put on needs to help us get to wherever we want to go.” She notes that her entrepreneurial journey impacts her family life. Her daughters now range in age from seven to 16, and everyone has to pitch in to enjoy time together as a family. “In order for us to have more time together, everyone has to help,” Moylan said. “My seven year old makes her own lunches, the kids pick one extracurricular activity instead

of a three or four, and I make one meal for dinner — not five different meals— and everyone helps clean up. I hope that I am growing strong independent girls who know they don’t need a man to take care of them and that whatever they want to do in life, they can achieve.” This and the fact that she has help is how she fills her roles as both a mom and business owner. “You need to rely on people and your team and your family,” Moylan expressed. “When I am with the kids, when it is mom and family time, I put the phone away, and I stay in the moment with them, because when that moment is over, it is over.” Moylan says that the mission of Shefit is one to which the whole family contributes. “I am on a mission, and our girls know what we are doing,” Moylan said. “Our mission is much bigger than me — it is bigger than my team, and we are on a mission to empower women and girls at every stage in their life — every age, every size, every athletic level so they know that when they are supported and in the right gear, they can do anything.” When she is not editing for WLM, Elyse enjoys traveling to far off lands, taking photos, listening to live music and spinning records.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


Pack Elephant

is Transforming Corporate Gifting while Elevating Local Artisans BY ANU TEODORESCU | PHOTOS COURTESY OF SEGHEN AKLILU


he chances of going to a corporate event and walking away empty-handed are slim. More often than not, you’ll walk away with some sort of trinket branded with a company logo on it — a pen, a stress ball, a drawstring backpack — only to have it float around your home and take up space until the next spring cleaning frenzy. What if, instead of receiving that pen, you got a handpoured soy candle? What if, instead of that stress ball, you got a handmade ceramic mug? What if, instead of a goodie bag full of cheap knick-knacks, you were gifted a bag full of functional, authentic and locally-sourced items? Pack Elephant is a concept that works to do just that. The company, created in 2018 by New England natives, Winsome Kirton and Seghen Aklilu, connects highvolume corporate buyers with artisans to elevate the artistic potential in a community and add a local touch to corporate gifting. Kirton and Aklilu met as pre-freshman at the University of Pennsylvania and went on to work in advertising and big-box retail respectively. The pair created Pack Elephant after traveling extensively together and noting a lack of easy access to unique and authentic crafts in the places they visited. “Yelp and other review sites are typically better for restaurant locations and experiences, but they don’t really speak to physical products, or where to buy souvenirs,” Kirton said. “So we launched with that idea in mind.” After opening a pop-up shop at the Downtown Market to gauge interest, they realized they needed to shift their focus; instead of creating a travel service that promoted locally-made products, they tapped into the corporate gifting industry, filling a gap few knew existed. In addition to working at Calvin University’s Rhetoric Center and guest writing at the University’s newspaper, Chimes, Anu writes for Cascade Living Magazine and Women’s LifeStyle Magazine.


“Elephants are herd animals. They’re truly communal in the sense that no elephant leaves a member of their pack behind,” Aklilu said, referring to small businesses that are often overlooked. “Elephant packs are led by matriarchs,” Kirton added. “As a woman-owned company that’s really about uplifting hyperlocal communities and artistic communities, it just felt really appropriate.” The corporate gifting industry in the U.S. ranges from $115-$140 billion. Pair this with the fact that only 12% of artisans sell their work successfully, and a massive disparity emerges. “It’s true,” Kirton said. “Many of us have worked for a company or at least have gone to a corporate event where you get a gift or some sort of swag, which is a waste of everyone’s time and a waste of their money — a waste of that $125 billion. What if we could take that $125 billion and use it to create a more democratized success for artisans?” They call it hyper-local shopping: shopping for products that are made within an hour’s drive of a city’s center.

Though Pack Elephant is only available in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Austin, Texas, the duo sees huge potential for their brainchild. “Our goal is to be in every city in the U.S. [and] make this concept of hyper-local shopping convenient for enterprises everywhere,” Kirton said.

“It’s giving enterprises the ability to think really small and think about the footprint they’re leaving in the communities they’re serving,” Aklilu explained. “It’s a win-win, not just for the artisans, but for the businesses that are looking for ways to use their dollars more impactfully.” The “packs” — which feature everything from blueberry jam with ginger to hand-painted coasters to margarita bath scrubs — include a flip card with information about and photos of the makers. Each item is hand-selected by Kirton and Aklilu with specific criteria in mind: in addition to being made within an hour’s drive of a city’s center, they must have an authentic style; be made with quality and sustainability in mind, and have a story. While makers do need to meet growing demand, the founders are more than happy to facilitate the growth of local artists. In fact, this mission is intrinsic to their company’s name.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

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or Adriana Almanza, advocating for others is not only a part of her work in the community, but it’s a part of who she is. For years, Almanza has spoken up about issues such as immigration rights, the needs of students, and racism. Almanza, 32, is the assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) where she oversees initiatives for Hispanic students. This March, she was awarded the Young Hispanic Professional of the Year by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

he knows that his sacrifices were not made in vain [...] I’m also giving back to the community that really influenced me growing up.” The biggest issues that Almanza is working on within the Hispanic community right now are immigration reform and education. “The conversation has gone on far too long,” she said. “Something needs to happen.” Almanza hopes to see a path to citizenship for those who aren’t protected under DACA.

Almanza attributes her work ethic to her father, Raul Almanza. Raul was born one of 11 children in Mexico. He came to the United States to work for his family, first arriving in California, undocumented. He worked on farms in Michigan and Florida during different seasons, before settling in Michigan. It was there that he met his wife and the couple had Adriana. You may have already heard of Adriana and her father by this point. The duo went viral on Facebook back in 2015 when she posted a “Letter to Donald Trump” in response to then-candidate Trump’s comments connecting Mexican immigrants with drugs and violent crime. After simmering for a few days, Almanza took to Facebook to post her letter, in which she explained who her father is and how he is not any of the descriptors Trump used, but a hardworking example of an American. “My first encounter with undocumented immigration is the story of my father, and so I know that’s not his story,” she said. “For me, it wasn’t about attacking what (Trump) said, it was more like, ‘Look at my father’s story, which is the story of many other undocumented immigrants.’” Today, the post has 333,000 likes, 3,500 comments and 139,000 shares. Throughout Trump’s presidency, immigration issues have been at the top of daily news coverage. “I feel like he’s created so much divide and negative rhetoric,” Almanza said. “It’s really disheartening and discouraging, but at the same time I see the community getting together and supporting and really working hard to make sure that’s not the language that we use — that that’s not the message we’re giving out.” Almanza got her bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Latin American Studies from GVSU. She also received a graduate degree there in adult and higher education, with an emphasis on undocumented student access to higher education. One of the programs she oversees at GVSU is Laker Familia, a program that exposes students to academic


“It’s really disheartening and discouraging, but at the same time I see the community getting together and supporting and really working hard to make sure that’s not the language that we use — that that’s not the message we’re giving out.” and career opportunities and cultural activities and helps students keep each other accountable throughout the academic year. Almanza also oversees the annual Hispanic Heritage celebration and the César E. Chávez celebration and co-chairs the Latino Faculty and Staff Association. Starting this fall, she will be overseeing the Undocumented and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Task Force at GVSU. The team is made up of administrators and educators who will look at how the university works with its undocumented and DACA students through providing support and looking at the university’s practices and policies. On a statewide level, Almanza is a part of a group that looks at undocumented and DACA student policies and practices in Michigan overall. “I come from the community, I see a lot of the injustices that are happening,” she said. “I see a lot of room for growth and potential, and it’s really important for me to be able to give back [...] My father sacrificed a lot leaving his country and his family behind. I want to make sure

“A lot of people think that when we say ‘immigration reform’ we’re saying ‘just let everybody in and there shouldn’t be a process,’” Almanza said. “It’s about reforming the process because the process doesn’t work [...] I see that far too often — people have an opinion, but they really don’t want to take the time to research or educate themselves on what that looks like.” At the time she was nominated for the Young Hispanic Professional of the Year Award, she was on maternity leave at home with her two young children. “I was getting to the point where I was just feeling really down because I felt like I wasn’t contributing the way I had in the past, and I missed my students quite a bit,” Almanza said. “It came at a good time for me emotionally, when I needed that encouragement and reinforcement that my work matters, and what I do in the community matters.” Almanza plans to run again for the Wyoming school board in 2020 after losing last year’s election. She is also developing a clothing line focused on social justice, culture and politics. “I think clothing is an easy way to wear things and you see someone else with something of the same sentiment, and you can get that feeling of, ‘I’m with you,’” she said. Almanza plans to donate a portion of the funds from the clothing sales to a scholarship fund for undocumented/ DACA students. Almanza managed such a fund at GVSU in 2014, and while she was able to award scholarships to five students, the funds have since depleted. She hopes the next one can be run through a community organization so the students could use the scholarship at any college or university. Kayla Sosa is a multimedia journalism student at GVSU. She’s a local freelance writer and enjoys spending time with her husband, her kitty and her family. When she’s not writing, she likes to go on nature walks, do yoga and paint.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019



rand Circus Grand Rapids is exposing members of the community to coding and how it can be an accessible — and financially fruitful — career option.

Grand Circus first opened in 2013 in Detroit with a vision to focus on education, community and entrepreneurship. Since then, they’ve trained 1,500 people, hosted more than 100 boot camps and worked with more than 300 companies across Michigan. They opened a second location in Grand Rapids in 2016. Kelsey Perdue is the assistant campus director and boot camp program manager for Grand Circus Grand Rapids. “When Grand Circus was coming to town, I was attracted to them because one, they were a business, but they’re very mission-driven,” she said. “And, two, their mission is really to help people change their lives, to start a new career in tech.” Careers in technology are in high-demand, and you don’t necessarily need a four-year degree to get a well-paying job. Grand Circus provides the education and resources to anyone who wants to learn through coding workshops and career services. Both the Detroit and Grand Rapids locations host free intro to coding workshops every other week. Boot camps are 12-24 weeks and vary depending on the technical skill or coding language. “I think it’s important for people to have an option other than the traditional four-year degree or two-year associate’s degree,” Celena Mancina, vice president of operations at Grand Circus Grand Rapids said. “Traditional colleges and universities are expensive, and a lot of times people can’t make that investment […] So, being able to do something that’s relatively quick and a low-money investment is a huge piece of accessibility.” In her role, Perdue oversees various programs and meets with clients and community partners. As a coach, she teaches students soft skills and helps them with their career goals.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

“Technology impacts so many parts of our lives, and it’s going to continue to do so,” Perdue said. “Jobs are going to become more digitized, so it’s important that people know it’s a thing, it’s growing and have some familiarity with what it is.” Exposure to technology and STEM career options is the priority for the staff at Grand Circus — especially exposing those career paths to women and people of color. “Technology is used to build so many products and systems around us,” Perdue explained. “And if you don’t have people with different life experiences and perspectives that’s part of the build out — the thinking through and building out of a product or a service — that product or service will not serve everybody the same way.” The company is focused on all levels of diversity, including age, sexual orientation and ethnicity. “We believe the tech industry should be as diverse as our community,” Mancina said. “We know more diverse communities have better outcomes, so we want to make sure we’re training more women and people of color so that they can go into the workforce and make a difference.” Through a partnership with TechSystems, Grand Circus offers a scholarship for women called Develop Her. And in May, they hosted a mother and daughter coding workshop. “For women in particular, we are half of the workforce,” Perdue said. “We have valuable perspectives, we have valuable experiences to bring to any team. And so it’s truly a disservice to a company, a team, a product, a service to not have women at the table.” Last year, Perdue said Grand Circus Grand Rapids reached nearly 500 people through their intro to

“We know more diverse communities have better outcomes, so we want to make sure we’re training more women and people of color so that they can go into the workforce and make a difference.” — CELENA MANCINA

coding workshops, with over half being from groups underrepresented in technology. “Give coding a try just to say that you’ve done it,” Perdue said. “We always have something going on and people can really get started anytime if they want to learn a little bit about coding.” Scholarships are also available based on financial need and for those who identify as LGBTQ+. Visit grandcircus.co for more information. Kayla Sosa is a multimedia journalism student at GVSU. She’s a local freelance writer and enjoys spending time with her husband, her kitty and her family. When she’s not writing, she likes to go on nature walks, do yoga and paint.


“To now be the recipient and be honored at the ATHENA Awards is humbling and rewarding.” — PEGGY MURPHY



ach year, a woman in Grand Rapids is honored with an ATHENA Award for her professional excellence and diligence in uplifting women in the community. The ATHENA Awards began in Lansing in 1983 before they were brought to Grand Rapids six years later. Peggy Murphy, the 2019 ATHENA Award winner, was instrumental in bringing the awards to Grand Rapids. This year marks 30 years of ATHENA shining the spotlight on women succeeding professionally while also helping others to do so as well. “We put the event together to honor Dottie Visser, who was a divorced mother of two in 1970 and started a picture framing shop, and by then had over 30 stores in three states,” Murphy said. “I thought the world of Dottie and was thrilled she was our first honoree.” For 30 years, Murphy has continued to be involved in various organizations in Grand Rapids, and her efforts now come full circle as this year’s ATHENA Award Winner. Murphy has been an integral part of the annual awards by helping choose nominees and serving on the selection committee. She considers herself an “introverted and behind the scenes” kind of person. “To now be the recipient and be honored at the ATHENA Awards is humbling and rewarding,” she said. Murphy is a shareholder and CPA (Certified Public Accountant) with the accounting firm Hungerford and Nichols. She started 25 years ago at the company as the first woman in her position. Today, her clients are women business owners in West Michigan.


“I just love working alongside and guiding my clients, helping them start a new venture or purchase a business, obtain financing, grow their businesses, manage their tax matters, weather the storms, work with their teams, plan for succession and bring their business careers to graceful ends,” Murphy wrote in her nominee form. “I became a teacher, coach and friend to — I assume — over a hundred women business owners over these years.” Murphy also stands as a pillar of support for her coworkers. “I am proud that we have developed many women professionals to serve these women business owners and all other businesses,” Murphy wrote. “Our clients are greeted with hugs, and we walk the journey of business ownership together. It is very fulfilling.” Murphy will be honored at the ATHENA Awards luncheon, taking place this year from 11:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. Awards will also be given to the Young ATHENA winner — given each year to a professional man or woman under 40 who exemplifies ATHENA values. This year, for the first time, an ATHENA award will be given to an organization. The organizations nominated include the Center for Women’s Sexual Health, LCS Record Retrieval (formally Legal Copy Services) and OST: Open Systems Technologies. “While we feel it’s important for individuals to keep pushing and demonstrating what leadership and a strong ecosystem for women looks like, we know that

having organizations that exemplify that is also key,” Mel Trombley, Director of Leadership Programs at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. Along with Murphy, the other ATHENA nominees will be recognized, which include Mayor Rosalyn Bliss of the City of Grand Rapids; Sandi Frost Steensma, President and CEO of Kennari Consulting; Sandra Gaddy, CEO of the Women’s Resource Center; and Michelle Rabideau, President of the Saint Mary’s Foundation. Additionally, five scholarships will be awarded through the Eileen Devries Memorial Fund to women over 30 who are pursuing their dreams of higher education. As ATHENA continues a legacy of honoring women, Trombley hopes to see even more diversity within the awards and adjacent events. “That’s one of the things that we’re really trying to be conscious about: how do we create platforms for diverse voices, even amongst women, to get together and learn from each other?” Trombley said. “I think that’s really the principle of ATHENA, is how can we collaborate and pull people along and push each other in safe environments? That’s shown up in a variety of different ways from age diversity, to racial diversity, to sector diversity, and it’s really beautiful.” Kayla Sosa is a multimedia journalism student at GVSU. She’s a local freelance writer and enjoys spending time with her husband, her kitty and her family. When she’s not writing, she likes to go on nature walks, do yoga and paint.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019






Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

Anissa Eddie



Sandi Frost Steensma

Amy Marshall



Sandra A. Gaddy

Paola R. Mendivil



Michelle Rabideau

Kimberly Van Driel




LCS Record Retrieval Center for Womenʼs Sexual Health OST

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019





CPA, CGMA, SHAREHOLDER, HUNGERFORD NICHOLS CPAS + ADVISORS Peggy Murphy CPA, CGMA has been a trusted advisor to women business owners for 35 years. She assists them in purchasing/starting, financing, and growing their businesses, managing through economic downturns, and planning for succession or sale. Peggy developed training programs for women business owners and was instrumental in launching Athena in Grand Rapids in 1989! Peggy has been an owner in CPA firms since age 25, gaining firsthand experience in operating a business and guiding other women in the firm. She has served numerous community organizations including Grand River Bank, GR Civic Theater, GR Economic Development Corporation, AWE and GROW.


Mayor Rosalynn Bliss became Grand Rapids’ first female Mayor when she took office on January 1, 2016. She previously served as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years. Mayor Bliss is Grand Valley State University’s endowed chair for the Frederik Meijer Honors College. She earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of South Alabama and a master’s in social work from Michigan State University. She serves on several local, regional and statewide boards and commissions, and has been recognized for her leadership in both child welfare and public service.

Sandi Frost Steensma

Sandra A. Gaddy

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTER Sandra Gaddy is the CEO of Women’s Resource Center, an organization which began 1973, whose mission is to equip women to achieve purpose, fulfillment and financial stability through meaningful employment. She previously served as Vice President of Advancement for Inner City Christian Federation, and Chief Communication and Development Officer for Mel Trotter Ministries. Prior to her nonprofit work, Sandra spent 15 years in banking including serving as Vice President of Business Banking and Wealth Management. Sandra’s professional and community activities include: Hope College Board of Trustees and Executive Committee; Michigan Non-Profit Association (MNA) Board of Directors; Grand Rapids Black Women Connect Council, Vice-Chair; Inforum of Michigan Regional Council; and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter.

PRESIDENT & CEO, KENNARI CONSULTING Sandi Frost Steensma is President and Founder of Kennari Consulting, a non-profit consulting business specializing in annual fundraising, capacity building and endowment fundraising. Sandi has more than 25 years of experience in successful fundraising, serving as a consultant and/or serving agencies as Development Director and/or Executive Director. She worked as a consultant for Monaghan Associates for eight years and served Hospice of Michigan as statewide Corporate Director of Development and as Executive Director of the Grand Rapids office. In addition to achieving her CFRE nearly ten years ago, Sandi was named to the Kellogg Foundation Action Lab College of Consultants.


Michelle Rabideau

CRFE, PRESIDENT, SAINT MARY’S FOUNDATION Michelle Rabideau is a national leader in philanthropy, raising more than $100 million for various organizations over 20 years. She is currently President of Saint Mary’s Foundation, the philanthropic arm for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Michelle serves on the Michigan Women’s Foundation and National Kappa Delta Foundation boards, and was Governor-appointed to the Michigan Community Service Commission. She served two terms in public office on the East Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education. Michelle has been recognized as one of “50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan” and with the Benjamin Franklin Award for Outstanding Fundraising

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF JUICE STRATEGIST, MALAMIAH JUICE BAR / PRITZKER FELLOW, KCONNECT Anissa is a dedicated advocate for children and families with a passion for elevating community wellness and prioritizing equity and inclusion in her work. Anissa currently serves as the Pritzker Fellow for Kent County in a coordinated role with First Steps Kent and KConnect. Anissa has a BSW from Calvin University and an MSW from the University of Michigan. She has worked as a school social worker, an outpatient therapist and an adjunct professor. In addition, Anissa is the Co-Founder of a family-owned business, Malamiah Juice Bar. Anissa lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her partner, Jermale, and their three sons.

Amy Marshall

CO-OWNER, MANAGEMENT BUSINESS SOLUTIONS Amy is currently a Co-owner at Management Business Solutions. Amy started at MBS in 2009 and became co-owner in 2014. Within these last few years, Amy has been able to build a successful team of committed recruiters, develop a thriving internship program, implement policies and procedures and gain the trust of long-lasting repeat clients. Amy’s currently serves on the Aquinas Alumni Leadership Council, YMCA SpartanNash, and The Maria Lida Foundation Board of Directors and actively volunteers in the community. Amy has received the Grand Rapids Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award in 2010, 2012, and 2018 along with the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan Award.

Paola R. Mendivil

CATERING COODINATOR, EL GRANJERO MEXICAN GRILL Paola R. Mendivil is an award-winning bilingual entrepreneur and successful business owner. Originally from Mexico City, Paola moved with her family to Grand Rapids in 2005. Since then, she has built a reputation as a kind and reliable community leader. As such, Paola serves to instill trust and confidence in others so that they can accomplish their goals. As a Westside resident, Paola is civic-minded, family-oriented, and her life motto is ‘Why Not?’ Paola loves spending time with her husband Alberto and two sons, Alan and Ian enjoying activities during both summer and winter.

Kimberly Van Driel

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SPACE MANAGEMENT, DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS INC. Kimberly Van Driel is the Director of Public Space Management for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Originally from a suburb of Grand Rapids, she moved to Colorado and Florida to obtain her bachelor’s degree. Kimberly is passionate about activating spaces, with a focus and emphasis on public space. Her experience highlights tactical urbanism, placemaking, art, design, events and programming that capture citizens, endorse creativity and highlight culture and diversity while strengthening connection and empowering people to get involved with their community.

2019 ORGANIZATIONAL ATHENA AWARD FINALISTS: LCS Record Retrieval LCS Record Retrieval was founded in 1982 by Paul VanTol with a vision to simplify an attorney’s record retrieval process and provide the best customer service in the industry. LCS is an employee-centered organization with a unique set of company core values: Service, Greatness, Joy, Grace, and Humility. Staff are provided individualized opportunities in their pursuit of professional development and community involvement. LCS also provides equal opportunities for women within the organization to work towards and achieve their professional goals. Currently, LCS is proud to have a leadership team that is 64% women. The LCS philosophy, core values, and development of all staff within the organization is a model of the ATHENA Leadership Principles.

Center for Womenʼs Sexual Health The Center for Women’s Sexual Health was founded in response to the lack of transparency around the nuanced issues that can affect women. Their mission is to help women understand that their concerns are legitimate, their questions have answers, and their lives can achieve the authenticity they often unknowingly crave. With both patients and staff, The Center for Women’s Sexual Health moves every day to encourage, validate, educate, and empower, understanding that women with a healthy sense of self create and build relationships, families, businesses, and communities.

OST OST is proud to have a leadership team, including their President/CEO, made up of 60% females. OST believes that better solutions are formed when more diverse perspectives are at the table. In the technology industry specifically, OST recognizes the importance of broadening the makeup of their workforce, which is why one of their key objectives is to partner with organizations that introduce women to careers in technology. The company encourages, promotes, and supports their female employees by offering benefits that honor their individual decisions and pursuits, such as flexible schedules, paid maternity leave, generous paid time off, nursing facilities, and a wide range of professional development programs.

30th Annual Athena Awards The Athena Awards is an annual event to celebrate local individuals who embody, encourage and promote the inclusion of women. Lizzie Williams, right, is the emcee for the 2019 event, which takes place at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids on September 19. grandrapids.org

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


rad american women a-z self-guided walking tour | downtown grand rapids

A project spirited by 2019 Young ATHENA Award Finalist

Kimberly Van Driel Download app at grwalks.com


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Congratulations to Peggy Murphy on winning the 2019 ATHENA award!

Congratulations to all the ATHENA finalists!

We are all very proud of you! ~Your Hungerford Team

www.hungerfordnichols.com (616) 949-3200 | 2910 Lucerne Drive SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49546

be the change

Contact us hosthomes@arborcircle.org

(616) 451-3001 Do you have a spare bedroom? You can help end youth homelessness in West Michigan through our Host Homes program.

no spare bedroom? no problem! check out more engagement opportunities at


Congratulations to the extraordinary 2019 ATHENA Award Recipient and Finalists Thank you for all you do to make our community and world a better place!

Our mission is to accelerate Michigan’s progress by advancing equality and opportunity for women and girls. www.miwf.org


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Congratulations to

Michelle Rabideau President, Saint Mary’s Foundation

for being a finalist for the 2019 ATHENA Award!


CMA Awards Kentucky entuc


ountry Christmas

November 14-17, 2019 (Thursday - Sunday)

Your Tour Includes: • Transportation via deluxe highway motorcoach • Three nights at the Opryland Resort (Atrium Rooms) • Seven Meals included • A special evening with a successful local songwriter • Two fabulous live performances (one show featuring special guest Trace Adkins) • A guided City Tour of Nashville, including a self-guided tour of the Ryman Auditorium • Experience the Grand Ole Opry Resorts and all the attractions; the Delta Flatboats,Treasures for the Holidays, and ICE! • Baggage handling for one piece of luggage • All taxes and tips included ~ driver’s tip appreciated Your Price: $1,549.00 double occupancy *Single, triple, and quad rates also available $100.00 deposit required to hold your seat!


April 30 - May 3, 2020 Your Tour Includes: • • • •

Transportation via deluxe highway motorcoach Three nights accommodations at first-class hotels Seven Meals included A Derby Day Riverboat Race

• A Bourbon Distillery Tour • A Bourbon & Chocolate Reception • A guided tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum A visit to the Derby Hat Boutique A tour of Undalata Farms, a Saddlebred Farm VIP Fast Pass Access Pass to Churchill Downs Reserved 1st Floor Grandstand Seats near the starting line at the Kentucky Derby • Baggage handling for one piece of luggage • All taxes & tips included ~ driver’s tip appreciated • • • •

Your Price: $2,499.00 double occupancy *Single, triple, and quad rates also available $100.00 deposit required to hold your seat!

November 3-7 or 10-14, 2020* *Dates pending due to scheduling

Your Tour Includes: • • • • •

• • •

Transportation via deluxe motorcoach Four nights first-class hotel accommodations Nine meals included Three LIVE Country Music Events: The CMA Awards Show, The Grand Ole Opry, and a Songwriter’s Night Six Awesome Tours: The City of Nashville, Ryman Auditorium, RCA Studio B, Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, Gaylord Opryland Resort, and Fontanel Mansion A visit to Opry Mills Taxes and tips for all inclusion Baggage handling for one piece of luggage

Your Price: $1,759.00 double occupancy *Single, triple, and quad rates also available $100.00 deposit required to hold your seat!

616.636.4628 | www.countrysidetours.net |PO Box 48, Sand Lake, MI 49343 Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


supported in part by


Diane Culver, Realtor, Associate Broker AS CERTIFIED Seniors Real Estate Specialists, Culver Realty focuses special attention on seniors. We specialize in helping emptynesters, retirees, seniors who want or need to downsize to a home that better fits their current needs. We listen to our clients’ goals and concerns to match them with the right resources to help them transition smoothly to their next dream home as their buyer’s representative. When professionally marketing and selling a client’s current home, we partner as the client’s listing agent to help them prepare and showcase his or her existing home in the very best light and market position.

CULVER REALTY (616) 446-4173 • diane@dianeculver.com • culverrealtyGR.com

Shari K Hooper, Senior Financial Advisor I HELP PROFESSIONAL, widowed and divorced women by providing education and advice regarding their overall financial health. I dive into their company benefits, assets and income, and create a holistic, comprehensive financial plan designed to create organization and peace of mind.

Sarah Hall, President WE’RE AN EMPLOYEE benefits agency focused on strategically aligning benefits with our client’s goals. In an ever-evolving market we pride ourselves on anticipating the change and providing the tools our clients need to do the same. The result is a partnership that helps them attract and retain top talent.

THE GRISWOLD GROUP (616) 364-3118 • sarah@thegriswoldgroup.com • thegriswoldgroup.com

JoAnn Abraham, VP of Development AS VP OF THE CLARK FOUNDATION, I am proud to raise resources for the Clark Promise of benevolent care. Through the generosity of our donors, residents have the assurance that if financial challenges arise, they will never have to leave. Clark will always be their home. The Foundation also supports lifechanging models such as Music Therapy and Montessori for Adults with Dementia. Clark is the first senior community in the US to implement this Montessori method supporting adults with memory loss, enabling them to be independent and lead purposeful lives, leaving families amazed, inspired and hopeful.

ARGI FINANCIAL GROUP (616) 552-7080 • sharihooper@argi.net • argi.net

CLARK FOUNDATION (616) 278-6531 • joann.abraham@clarkretirement.org • clarkretirement.org

Denavvia Mojet, Owner

Faith Megna, President

I RUN A FULL-SERVICE Public Relations firm. We build bridges between clients, communities and leaders with strategic communications. Readers should connect about large-scale grassroots advocacy, high-level political stakeholder engagement and innovative outreach. From corporate cannabis clients to local social equity organizations, we deliver outcomes to clients looking to make a statement while making their communities a better place. MOJET ENTERPRISES (616) 439-1020 • info@denavviamojet.com • denavviamojet.com



CONNECTING LOCAL businesses and consumers celebrating birthdays is the foundation of eBirthday Deals, a digital marketing company based out of Grand Rapids. The program offers targeted lead generation, which builds customer loyalty and ensures purchase intent directly from businesses, keeping consumer spending in the local economy.

EBIRTHDAY DEALS faith@ebirthdaydeals.com • eBirthdayDeals.com

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019



Alison Kinsman, Realtor® ALISON VALUES each and every buyer and seller, whether they are purchasing a luxury home or a first home. She’s honest, ethical and communicative and strives to make sure her clients are well cared for from the first interaction, through closing and beyond. Alison works diligently to make the home buying and selling process as smooth as possible. Her organizational skills and attention to detail complement her professionalism and girl-next-door personality. Alison works for her clients, treating them like good friends, to achieve the house of their dreams. It’s more than a house; it’s a foundation of memories.

KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY (616) 644-5467 • alisonkinsman@grar.com • alisonkinsman.kw.com

Jeanne LaSargeBono, Executive Director JEANNE WORKS TIRELESSLY to help create a culture of health through her staff and local board of directors. She leads successful activities like Go Red For Women, the Grand Rapids Heart Walk, Have Faith in Heart and events that are targeted to improve Social Determinants of Health in West Michigan. Her goal is to be a relentless force, along with the AHA and its volunteers, for a world of longer, healthier lives. Her overarching focus is around Healthy For Good — a movement to inspire you to create lasting change in your health and your life, one small step at a time. The approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Learn how you can be involved with a healthier West Michigan by connecting with Jeanne.


WEST MICHIGAN AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION 616.482.1520 • Jeane.LaSargeBono@heart.org • heart.org

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


, Y A D S R THU RD , 2019 3 R E B O T OC

Women’s Resource Center will host its 13th Annual Wine, Women & Chocolate event Thursday, October 3, 2019, from 5:00 to 7:30PM at Cascade Hills Country Club, 3725 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, 49546. This popular event includes an auction, wine, craft beer and cider selections, luscious chocolate tastings options and amazing hors d’oeuvres. The evening includes a brief but inspiring program. For more information about the event, ORS ED VEND R T U T A E F Y V IVA N BREWER • E P A K ILW IN S SHED GR L D I’ S • THE CRU A IM R G Y AT E S B Y REAMER E C IT Y C CHOCOL R U IT N R U GE BEVERA K E RY • F I- IL IX IR CAKABA • Y R E IN CREEK W LEMON

sponsorship opportunities or tickets, visit www.grwrc.org or contact us at 616.458.5443 ext.110 CHARDONNAY






Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

September Events September 7 - October 27

Project 1 by ArtPrize is the first in a series of multi-sited public art exhibitions in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We’ve commissioned five artists to create sculptures, installations, performances, urban interventions and community-oriented projects throughout our city this fall. project.artprize.org

September 13-19

Ring of Fire. A musical adventure woven together by the legendary songbook of Johnny Cash; not just a reflection of his life but also an examination of the universal human story. Grand Rapids Civic Theater. grct.org

September 19-21

Tulipanes Festival. The Tulipanes Latino Art and Film Festival is held in September, and welcomes thousands to celebrate the many contributions of our Latino community through art, film and music. Holland Area Arts Council. laup.org/tulipanes

September 1

National Dahlia Show. Stroll through the Grand Room filled with stunning blooms, entered by dahlia aficionados from throughout the country. Be amazed by flowers the size of dinner plates and discover the huge variety of flower colors and forms available. Frederik Meijer Gardens. 11 a.m. meijergardens.org Small Business GPS: Marketing Strategies Part 1. Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women. 6 p.m. grow. nonprofitsoapbox.com

September 6

Bands at Blandford How to Live Together. This annual outdoor music series features local bands ready to

give attendees an evening of fun at the Blandford Farm. Blandford Nature Center. 7 p.m. blandfordnaturecenter.org

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at the Member Orientation session for new, existing and prospective members. WMHCC Office. 4:30 p.m. hccwm.org

GRAM After Dark. Quiet Clubbing. Flip between DJ sets by adjusting your headphones. GRAM. 10 p.m. artmuseumgr.org

September 17

September 7

46th Annual Eastown Street Fair. This annual event is a family-friendly celebration of arts, crafts, food, music, and the Eastown neighbourhood — one of Grand Rapids’ most eclectic districts. Eastown. 9 am-9 pm. eastowngr.com Grand Rapids Pride Center Annual Open House. Stop in and connect with the Grand Rapids Pride Center as they empower our LGBTQ communit. Grand Rapids Pride Center. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. grpride.org

September 11

Community Day of Remembrance and Scout Salute. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. 8 a.m. MichiganScouting.org/911ScoutSalute Google: Sharing Your Story Through Video. Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women. 12 p.m. grow. nonprofitsoapbox.com

September 13

Live Mannequin Night. Grab your family and friends and head to Downtown Holland for a night of shopping, dining and fun. Downtown Holland. 1 p.m. downtownholland.com

September 16

WMHCC Member Orientation Conozca su Cámara de Comercio Hispana. learn more about membership with the West Michigan

Grand Rapids Ballet: Michigan’s Only Professional Ballet Company. This program will employ a full company of Grand Rapids Ballet dancers performing works by some of today’s most in-demand choreographers. Frederick Meijer Gardens. 7 p.m. meijergardens.org

September 19

Ethics Month: Strategies for Disclosing Mistakes and Bad News. Karen Swim, BEPS PRSA national board member will share strategies for revealing and disclosing mistakes and bad news. University Club of Grand Rapids. 11:30am-1 pm. universityclubgr.com 30th Annual Athena Awards. Join the Athena Awards Luncheon to celebrate local individuals who embody, encourage and promote the inclusion of women. JW Marriott Grand Rapids. 11:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m. grandrapids.org

September 21

Grand Rapids African American Arts and Music Festival: Join in on this fun festival featuring food, fun, games, music and art. Martin Luther King Park. 9 a.m.-11 p.m. facebook.com/GRAAAMF International Red Panda Day. Celebrate red pandas, and learn cool facts about these amazing animals. John Ball Zoo.9 a.m.-4 p.m. jbzoo.org Metro Health Vitality Gala 2019.Join in for the 2019 Vitality Gala, a blacktie affair benefiting the leading-edge, life-saving intervention & treatment at Metro Health’s Comprehensive Stroke

Compiled by editorial staff. We do our best to ensure the accuracy of each listing. Time, date and location of events are subject to change.

Center. DeVos Place Convention Center. 6 p.m.-9p.m. metrohealth.net/ metro-health-gala-2019

September 22

A Community Conversation on Facing the Opioid Epidemic. Recently declared a national public health emergency, opioid-related deaths kill more people in Michigan than car accidents or firearms. Grand Rapids Public Library. 7 p.m. grpl.org

September 24

2019 Season of Hope. Season of Hope is an annual event hosted by Mel Trotter Ministries and is designed to create a safe venue for conversations that challenge us as community members to better understand the issues around homelessness. JW Marriott Grand Rapids. Noon-1:30 p.m. meltrotter.org/events

September 26

Business Insights with Philomena Mantella. In this TEDx-style talk, Dr. Mantella will share her career journey and give insight into the future of GVSU under its new leadership. Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m. grandrapids.org

September 28

OddBall: Metal. The highly anticipated annual gala welcomes art enthusiasts, emerging and established creatives, and visionary industry supporters for a night of immersive entertainment. UICA. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. uica.org

For more event listings,visit womenslifestyle.com.

Write. Vote. Win. writemichigan.org | For writers of all ages Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

In partnership with


Assisted Living at its best!

The ASSISTED LIVING approach at Porter Hills Village “CATERS” the best services, features, and amenities for your loved one.


DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM ASSISTANCE? • Individual care plans • Bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene • Housekeeping • Highly trained professional staff • Intergenerational opportunities through YMCA’s onsite child care center • Experience the not-for-profit difference! ASK FOR DETAILS ABOUT HOW TO RECEIVE ONE MONTH FREE!


Engage in an interactive discussion with our staff expert Lori Heminger, RN about the ins and outs of what seniors need and families want when a loved one requires assisted living care. Space is Limited! Please R.S.V.P. to 616.942.6221 OR JOIN US FOR OUR OPEN HOUSE

Thursday, September 19th, 2019 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 3600 E Fulton St | Grand Rapids

Porter Hills Village Beautiful Gardens | Spacious Apartments | Chef Inspired Dining

Visit us during one of our events or call 616.942.6221 today to make an appointment for a tour of our CATERED ASSISTED LIVING. 3600 E Fulton St., Grand Rapids • www.porterhills.org

Assisted living does not mean you have to leave your home. Our carefully screened home care aides provide care, drawing from both their experience and their hearts. Call today so The Giving Care Group can put together a plan that will keep you safe and assisted in your own environment.

(616) 366-7712


Celebrate Five Years of Love and Healing with i understand BY ELYSE WILD | PHOTOGRAPHY BY TWO EAGLES MARCUS


n Sept. 25, local nonprofit i understand invites you to Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park for a stunning celebration marking five years of providing comfort, support and education to individuals in our community who are affected by mental illness and suicide. Founded by Vonnie Woodrick, i understand takes a pro-active, community approach to raising awareness around depression and suicide. Such an organization is more important than ever as suicide rates continue to climb across the country. According to a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield, diagnoses of major depression have increased a stunning 33 percent across the U.S. since 2013. Along with hosting a variety of support groups held regularly at Fountain Street Church, the nonprofit provides a fulltime clinical nurse specialist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital to educate family, staff and patients on good mental health practices and provide after-care packages. Along with providing comfort, education and support, the nonprofit also advocates harnessing the power of language to expand our conversation and understanding of mental illness and death by suicide. In fact, at iunderstandloveheals.org, one can sign a petition to help the organization change the official definition of suicide per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary from “1. the intentional taking of one’s own life. 2. the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally,” to “1. a terminal side effect of mental illness. 2. the result of wanting one’s physical or emotional pain to end.” Woodrick believes that evolving the language behind mental illness has the potential to change the way we understand and treat it — and save lives.

What: i understand 5 Year Celebration Dinner When: Sep. 25. 6:00 p.m. Where: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, 1000 E Beltline Ave NE Cost: Tickets start at $150. culmination of events that led her starting i understand in 2014. The celebration will be emceed by WoodTV anchor Susan Shaw. Among the speakers at the event will be Doug Meijer, a longtime supporter of i understand; and special guest, Rockford’s own Ginger Zee. Now the chief meteorologist for ABC News, Zee will share her own experience with depression, which led her to attempt suicide at the age of 21. Sponsorship opportunities and tickets are available at iunderstandloveheals.org. We can’t wait to see you there!

In 2018, Woodrick stated, “When we look, and we focus on this as an illness, there are so many possibilities.” At the Sept. 25 celebration, Woodrick will debut her first memoir, in which she lays bare how her husband’s death by suicide in 2005 impacts the lives of her and her children. In the book, Woodrick graciously offers readers an intimate look at the aftermath of suicide, and the

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

Chakra Boosters. • Healing Tattoos. • Energy flows where the tattoo goes.

2019 July - December Design Class Schedule $40 per class Classes begin at 10am

July 20th Wearable Floral Create unique pieces to wear.

Intuitive / Psychic Readers ~ Reiki and Energy Therapy The Rev. Vivian Love Kyle • Intuitive Angel Reader

August 17 Enchanted Fairy Garden th

Design a fairy garden using plants and fun fairy accents.

Intuitive artist and counselor who channels messages from the angelic realm. Her clients receive insights and guidance from those entities and spirits with which they are surrounded. Vivian is a 5th generation medium who continues the legacy as teacher, spiritual counselor, and healer. www.loveisvictorious.com

Eugenia Marve • Psychic • Medical Intuitive • Medium

September 21st Brunch + Design Come enjoy a delicious brunch as you design with seasonal flowers. Mimosas included!

Awarded educator, workshop facilitator, Psychic over 45 years. Gives clients information about relationships, economics, health and those not present. International and national phone or Skype readings available. God is her foundation. www.marvecreations.com

October 19th Pumpkins & Succulents EasternFloral

Margaret Newman Nickelsen • Psychic Reader

Succulents and foliage cascade atop a real, live pumpkin.

November 23rd Thanksgiving Tradition

Create a beautiful centerpiece with candles to grace your table this year.

December 21 Boxwood Christmas Tree st

Design and trim your very own boxwood Christmas tree.


Over 40 years experience reading for people from all walks of life. Each reading is unique, personal, in an atmosphere of calm assurance. Margaret is a certified Spiritual Director. Your Divine Self guides your reading. www.jokersjourney.com

Beth Ann Townsend • Traditional Healing & Educator

Beth offers Craniosacral, Reiki, Traditional Healing Modalities and Energy Therapies creating an integrative approach to wellness. She has studied and practiced with Traditional Elders for over 35 years. www.healingtraditionsgr.com

Call (616) 456-9889 to Schedule

$40 for 1/2 hour reading, $80 1 hour. Gift certificates available.

spirit dreams

1430 Lake Drive SE • Grand Rapids, MI 49506 • www.spiritdreamsgr.com HOURS: M-F 10-6 • Wed 10-7 • Sat 10-5 • Sun 11-4


FIREBIRD October 18-20, 2019 | Peter Martin Wege Theatre | 616.454.4771 x10 | grballet.com/firebird Yuka Oba in Possokhov’s Firebird; photo by Damion Van Slyke

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


Purse Auction 7 TH A N N U A L C E L E B R I T Y

Fundraiser for Kids’ Food Basket & Whole Child INC! Hosted By

Celebrity Purses Jewelry Live Auctions Silent Auctions & More!

Purses H Designer




Thursday, September 19th, 2019 ◊ 6:00 -9:00 pm

Watermark Country Club 5500 Cascade Rd. SE Grand Rapids

MI 49546

Tickets $25 Per Person - Visit EventBrite.com https://9-19-19.eventbrite.com/

Every day, kids in our community deal with issues of hunger, household dysfunction, abuse, and neglect. Our Annual Celebrity Purse Auction Fundraiser supports organizations that help children dealing with these life altering issues. Join us for an incredible evening of networking, philanthropy, and shopping on September 19th! For tickets, sponsorship, or donations (purses, jewelry, or wine), please contact:

Charlotte Touchette

Woman’s Life Chapter Development Specialist

616.389.3081 or ctouchette@womanslife.org



n the fall of 2018, Devin DuMond, a Grand Rapids native, graphic designer, and entrepreneur, decided that West Michigan women needed a space to gather, cultivate connections and grow. She envisioned a setting in which women could network, connect over educational resources and inspire each other with their stories, advice and experiences. Along with owning a graphic design business, Hatch Creative Services, and teaching at both Grand Valley State University and Kendall College of Art and Design, by January of 2019, DuMond had created Women Who — a community organization that holds a free monthly event led by women, about women, and for women. Each event takes place on the third Thursday of every month and goes from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with time to network, listen to a speaker and ask questions. While some events are workshop-based, others are built around storytelling or guided discussions. This month’s event, entitled Women Who Shift, takes place on Sept.19 at 6:30 p.m. Julie Otte, an emotional release therapist, holistic counselor and brain health coach will guide a mindset workshop called UnF*ck Yourself, designed to encourage women to create the lives they want based on the way they choose and prioritize their thoughts. Otte, who has experience helping patients recover from a range of traumatic experiences, like PTSD, childhood abuse,


depression and grief, will introduce participants to the idea of “brain dumping” and the “forward movement tool,” both of which will enable them to focus their thoughts on the best versions of themselves. “It’s the idea of shifting from somewhere where you’re stuck in life, where you’re not getting the results you’re hoping for, and learning strategies to get yourself unstuck,” DuMond said. With topics ranging from setting intentions to body positivity to budgeting, DuMond designed Women Who events to alternate between business and lifestyle topics in an effort to appeal to women of any persuasion — entrepreneurs or otherwise. “Last year when I was starting to do these women events, they were very entrepreneurial based,” DuMond said. “I would go to a place and invite the people I was meeting and they would say, ‘Oh, I can’t go to that, I’m just a mom. I don’t own a business.’ [...] So I really made a point with this project that there would be a little something for everybody.” Visit grwomenwho.com for more information.

What: “Women Who Shift When: Sept.19, 6:30 p.m. Where: Location TBA Cost: Free

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019




“I had a worry-free vacation, thanks to Emerald Meadows.” Emerald Meadows offers respite care for your loved one, allowing you to go on vacation, or just have a needed break from caregiving. Without a doubt, we’ll provide the best care for your loved one, and you’ll get the rest you need to be refreshed.

Keep the conversation going at 19em.SeniorDialogue.com


6117 Charlevoix Woods Ct SE • Grand Rapids, MI 49546

(616) 202-3333


Pietro’s most popular, most recognized #1 pasta in West Michigan. If you are celebrating with us at lunch, you can apply $11 toward any lunch menu selection. Just a few simple easy-to-follow rules: Available for dinner Monday thru Friday 4 pm. to close and all day Saturday and Sunday on your birthday. Lunch is available Monday thru Friday 11 am – 4 pm. You must be at least 13 years of age and bring proof of your birthday. Free birthday meal valid with additional meal purchase of $14 at dinner / $11 at lunch. Not valid with any other promotional discounts or for take-out.

Scan to visit website & click on Promotions to sign up for your birthday promotion.

(616) 452-3228 pietrosGR.com

Tom Briggs

SOUND & LIGHT Weddings, Corporate Events & DJ Service

Book me now at

(616) 532-7059



tomthedj50@yahoo.com tombriggs.webs.com


Grand Traverse


NOV 8-10, 2019


Two nights in downtown Chicago, motor coach travel, prizes, games, ticket to Second City & shenanigans. Hosted by Kandace & Kerry, twin sisters & publishers of Grand Traverse Woman Magazine.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


See your Program Director to Enroll Today! Visit AppleTreeKids.cc



A story of – Skills, Friendship, Compassion ...


Black Tie Galas | Tradeshows

The story of the Caregivers Sewing Group

Golf Outings | Weddings

A A story story of of – – Skills, Skills, Friendship, Friendship, Compassion... Compassion...

Anniversaries | Marathons



The The story story of of the the Caregivers Caregivers Sewing Sewing Group Group

he Glitter Booth Photo Booth will entertain your guests with a fun, interactive experience and provide each guest with a printed photograph in seconds, preserving those memories for years to come.

Photo Booth | Green Screen Animated GIF | Light Painting

CALL US (616) 855-2163


Thursday, September 19, 6:30pm | Koning Micro Cinema (inside Wealthy Theatre) Thursday, September 19, 6:30pm | Koning Micro Cinema (inside Wealthy Theatre)

Tickets (Wealthy Theatre website or at the door): $5 - General Admission / $4 - Community Media Center members Tickets (Wealthy Theatre website or at the door): $5 - General Admission / $4 - Community Media Center members

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


Support Parkinson’s Research at Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge


icture this: brightly-colored yoga mats lining the sides of a railroad bridge-turned-pedestrianwalkway, an autumn breeze in the air. Music pumps from speakers as dusk approaches, and people of all ages are participating in a workout class that combines elements of ballet, yoga, and strength-training and Pilates. It’s the sixth annual Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge, a fundraising event for the Van Andel Institute (VAI) hosted by Purple Community in partnership with Lolë Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan Credit Union. The best part? Every dollar made from the event goes toward cancer and Parkinson’s disease research at the Institute. “It started off as a partnership with Lolë Grand Rapids and Pure Barre Grand Rapids,” said Ashley Owen, the senior event coordinator at Purple Community. “A couple of the gals that work at both of those organizations came together and said, ‘We want to do something good for the community.’ They decided on this event and it evolved to hosting it on the Blue Bridge the second year — and it’s just been so well-received by the community.” Registration for the September 12 pop-up

class will be available prior to the event date all the way up until the beginning of class at 7:30 p.m. Participants should plan to bring a yoga mat, a towel, hydration, friends, and even some cash for raffles! Tickets start at $15 and will include a rigorous but enjoyable workout designed and led by instructors from Pure Barre Grand Rapids and Pure Barre Grandville, as well as the chance to enter raffles and win prizes like spa packages, Pure Barre classes, and Lolë gift certificates and merchandise. A VIP after-barre experience (with cocktails and appetizers!) at the Jdek at six.one.six in the Marriott will also be available through a ticket-upgrade. Between bake sales, cancer walks and marathons, Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge with Lolë is just one of hundreds of fundraisers put on every year by Purple Community, the VAI’s community awareness and fundraising program. In 2018 alone, they raised over $700,000. “One of the most exciting things about our program is that 100% of every single dollar that people work so hard to fundraise goes right back into our labs and into the research, thanks to an endowment established by our founders, Jay and Betty Van Andel,” Owen said. “So when people give to us, it’s really 100% hope.”

What: “Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge When: Sept. 12, 7 p.m. Where: The Blue Bridge Cost: $15/ individual admission; $40/V.I.P. admission

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019


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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • September 2019

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