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Grand Rapids|Holland|Grand Haven



Erick Gerson







Discover Your Favorite Artists The Museum Store

Product information (clockwise from top): Basquiat Notecards TeNeues, Gordon Parks Postcard from GRAM’s Collection, Jacob Lawrence: Chronicle Children’s Books Nefertiti Hotsox, Africa Rising: Gestalten Books, Sharp Suits: Chronicle Books


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


February 2020 Edition #263


8 Her Legacy

PUBLISHER Two Eagles Marcus




20 Living as a One Percent Survivor

Carole Valade EDITOR

22 How Hope Saved the Life of a Congenital Heart Defect Survivor


Kelly Nugent CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Elyse Wild Megan Sarnaki Michelle Jokisch Polo


Shanika Carter

Women’s History Council GROW

23 An Open Heart: How One Young Mother Overcame a Deadly Cardiac Infection 26 Four of The Divine 9: Active and United in Sisterhood in Grand Rapids

Kayla Sosa

Greater Grand Rapids

16 Erick Gerson: Broadcast News Veterans Reflect on the Man Behind Their Makeup 18 Go Red for Women




22 How Hope Saved the Life of a

Congenital Heart Defect Survivor

7 Networking Effectively

12 Ask the Doctor: Hormones and Weight Loss – Is it the Hormones, or the Scales, That Are ‘Out of Balance’? 14 Take This to Heart

Kate Sage, DO Mark Dunham


Steve Lasater, MD

07 How to Network Effectively


08 Her Legacy: Mary Roberts Tate, African American Suffragist

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

12 Hormones and Weight Loss


14 What You Should

Know About Heart Disease

(616) 458-2121

10 Reader’s Lounge

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 30 February Events

EMAIL info@womenslifestyle.com MAIL 3500 3 Mile Rd NW, Ste A Grand Rapids, MI 49534 IN MEMORIAM Victoria Ann Upton Founder 1955 - 2018

18 Go Red for Women

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


Jordan Carson, Eva Aguirre Cooper, Erick Gerson photo by Elyse Wild Makeup artist Erick Gerson is a staple of the local broadcast news community. Turn to page 16 to see what two local news veterans have to say about the man behind their makeup.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020



Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

From the Editor



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:


he numbers behind heart disease in women are staggering: It is the number one killer of women. One in three will die from it. 80% of these deaths are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and abstaining from smoking. Cardiovascular diseases kill more women than all forms of cancer combined. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2018, there exist significant gender differences in the management and outcome of cardiovascular disease, leaving women at even greater risk.

Celebrating Black History Month in West Michigan

This month, we are celebrating our annual partnership with the American Heart Association on a mission to save lives by sharing stories of women who have survived heart disease and deadly cardiac events. Meet Meredith Sedelbauer, a young mother who contracted a fatal infection in her heart after giving birth to her daughter. Sedelbauer’s symptoms — which included memory loss, loss of mobility and vision, and migraines — were disregarded as postpartum depression and the flu. When the infection rendered her unable to walk, doctors finally diagnosed her with endocarditis and rushed her into openheart surgery (24).

Are Your Kids Vaping? What You Should Know

Isidra Rufino shares the harrowing story of giving birth to her daughter shortly after immigrating from Mexico. Born premature with a congenital heart defect, Rufino was met with the devastating news that her baby would live only a few short weeks. After a medical social worker urged Rufino to seek a second opinion, her daughter overcame the odds and is now a healthy 19-year-old woman pursuing a degree in nursing (22). Four years ago, Paulette Cancler’s day began with what she thought was heartburn, but gradually escalated to shooting heart pains. While dialing 911, she collapsed, waking up 10 days later in a hospital bed. Cancler survived what is known as a “widow maker” heart attack, in which 100 percent of the left anterior descending artery is blocked (20). These stories impart the urgency behind achieving equity in healthcare for women and raising awareness for the silent dangers our sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and friends are living with every day. We can save each other’s lives by supporting healthy choices, learning our risk factors, knowing our numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI), and advocating for equal treatment in our healthcare systems. We invite you to join us in this mission, whether it be by sharing one of the stories you read in this edition, talking to your loves ones about their heart health or by attending the Grand Rapids Go Red for Women Luncheon on Feb. 13, at Notos Old World Italian Dining, where you can learn more from a panel of experts, hear survivor stories and contribute to a silent auction. We hope to see you there!

Cardiomyopathy: Broken Heart Syndrome

Rosanne Cash on Staying True to Herself

-Elyse Wild, Editor

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 263rd edition. All content ©Women’s LifeStyle, Inc. 2020.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


Spotlight on Community Initiatives

Join In

Sponsored by Grand Rapids Community Foundation

“It put joy in my heart to witness the four pillars of NIA Centre come alive. When you volunteer, you are inspired as you serve. You feel motivated to build and take action toward positive change and growth. As a result, your life is impacted and transformed when you see people from all different

Spectrum Health Hospice

backgrounds and economic levels doing life together who

There are many ways to give your time at Spectrum Health Hospice, from light housekeeping, crafting activities and cosmetology, to visiting with pets, yard work and community outreach. Spectrum Health Hospice supports patients and families in 11 counties throughout West Michigan. Volunteers may choose which geographic area they would like to serve in. For more information, visit spectrumhealth.org/ volunteer/hospice.

genuinely connect.” — Raycheen Sims, NAI Volunteer Coordinator

Project Night Lights

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital invites the community downtown Grand Rapids to participate in Project Night Lights. At 8:30 p.m., community members, local law enforcement and first responders flash their lights from Michigan Street up to the windows of the children’s hospital, where kids in their rooms flash their lights back down. A firetruck will sound their alarm to mark the start and end of the event. Give your time this month, on Feb. 12, to shine some light into children’s lives.

YMCA The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids has a wide variety of opportunities and options for one-time, seasonal and ongoing volunteerism. Some programs volunteers can get involved in include day/overnight camp (Camp Manitou-Lin), fundraising, childcare, health & wellness programs, older adult programs, youth/adult sports programs and the Cooking Matters program. For more information, visit grymca.org.

Community Food Club

The Community Food Club helps increase food security on the Southeast Side of Grand Rapids. The club needs volunteers to work two hour shifts as check-out clerks at the grocery store-style club. Volunteers are also needed to help check members in at the beginning of their visit. Contact the Food Club directly at 616-288-5550 or admin@communityfoodclubgr.org.

NIA Centre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is working toward placing world-class African American Cultural Center in Grand Rapids, MI. NIA Centre’s mission is to provide an inclusive gathering space created to inspire, build, transform, and connect all people, of all ages. This amazing journey began five years ago when an African American woman by the name of Ruth Coleman cast her vision for creating such a cultural institution in West Michigan. NIA Centre’s six focus areas include: Arts and Entertainment, Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity, Education, Entrepreneurship and Wealth Building, Health Care, and Research.

More than 500 scholarships are waiting for you. This year we’ll give more than $1 million in scholarships to Kent County students—students like Edgar, who graduated from East Kentwood High School. Scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate students attending college or trade school. Apply by March 1 at grfoundation.org/scholarships. 6

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Learn & Do

How to Network Effectively COURTESY OF GROW

to do business with someone they know, like and trust. According to Diane Darling, founder and CEO of Effective Networking Inc., it is essential to build these relationships before you need them. She states, “It’s difficult because we tend to only do things in life when we need to. But if you’re running a marathon, you don’t wait until the morning of the race and then just go out to run.” • Have a selfless mindset, not a transactional focus. If you begin networking with a transactional focus, thinking to yourself, “How can these people help me?”, you’ll be less successful. The relationship must come first. Instead, think, “I’d like to get to know these people!” Focus on starting relationships and how you can help them. At some point down the road, your contacts may be able to help you. Even if they can’t, you’ve made a good connection with someone, perhaps even a friend. • Details matter. According to Martin, small conversations matter and can have a big impact. Small conversations are like bricks in relationship building. Brick-by-brick, you will come to know and respect your peers, and they will do the same to you.


ne of the great paradoxes of our age is the lightning-fast pace of change driven by technology combined with unchanging truths that are passed on over decades. This perfectly describes the state of an old friend in the business world: business networking. We wondered how the days of happy hours spent mingling in the crowd of strangers and handing out business cards had changed with the relentless sprint of technology; so, we did some research and spoke with Marvin Martin, a business development officer at GROW and Kim Suarez, a retired health care executive, to get their perspective. WHAT’S CHANGED

• Purpose and Discipline — Ms. Suarez noted that networking today seems more purposeful and disciplined. Depending on your goals, you should know what kinds of people you’d like to get to know and have an “elevator pitch” and a “sales pitch” prepared in advance. • Preparation — Technology helps you prepare for and follow up after a face to face event. You can quickly and easily learn about the attendees and the organization holding the event. Preparation can help ease some of the nerves you may feel by providing information to help carry on a conversation. • Speed — While it’s perfectly fine to promise someone you’ll follow up on a question they asked, you could also look up the information on your phone, on the spot. People do expect timely responses after events. • Scale — Geography is no longer a barrier, as you can connect with people down the block or on the other side

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

If you begin networking with a transactional focus, thinking to yourself, “How can these people help me?”, you’ll be less successful. The relationship must come first. of the world through social networks, like LinkedIn. With the internet and a video camera in the palm of your hand, you can share advice, industry trends and other content from anywhere at any time. On the downside, technology may foster a greater emphasis on quantity over quality. While using networking websites, you can get drawn into a numbers game and try to connect with anyone based on the off chance that you may be able to work with that person someday. It’s more likely that those “cold” invitations rarely result in meaningful connections. Overall, we all agreed that the positives of technology far outweigh the negatives when it comes to networking. WHAT HASN’T CHANGED

• Relationships are king. There are three keys to business networking that remain true from long before the first US Chamber of Commerce meeting in 1912: Relationship, relationship, relationship. Relationships are to networking what location is to real estate. People like

• It’s not a spectator sport. Suarez emphasizes actively participating in industry groups. “Do your homework, participate in events and follow up.” Active networking is especially important for entrepreneurs who wear many hats and may have diverse goals. ADVICE FOR WOMEN AND MINORITIESS

GROW frequently works with members of groups that have traditionally been at the margins of mainstream business, such as women and minorities. Both Suarez and Martin have advice for entrepreneurs and employees in these groups. • Understand that you belong there. Martin stresses this point and adds, “be aware of your goals and what you want to accomplish.” Your goals are as important as anyone else’s. • Network within and across communities. Suarez notes that while it’s important for minorities and women to maintain networks in their communities, it’s also vital to build across communities. Finally, Martin offers advice that may seem like a contradiction in these times. “Pick up the phone and call.” According to Martin, it’s the “oldest trick in the book” but not that common anymore. By blending all the technological advantages of 21st century, networking with the telephone will help you stand out from the crowd, build strong relationships, and ultimately grow a vibrant network to help you and your business.

GROW is a service focused on current and aspiring business owners. They are the local entrepreneurial resource to help owners the next steps, empowering and supporting them with professional expertise for a lifetime.


Mary Roberts Tate, African American BY SOPHIA WARD BREWER FOR THE GREATER GRAND RAPIDS WOMEN’S HISTORY COUNCIL To the Public Pulse, Grand Rapids Press, October 17, 1902 Editor: I have been a tax payer for the past 19 years, and I want to enlighten white citizens as to the colored tax payers of Grand Rapids. We have 200 families and 68 pay taxes on property worth over $100,000. I will say that our boys and girls are as wide awake and as enterprising as you will find anywhere, and the rule is that their morals are good. As to the new engine house, I think the good citizens of Grand Rapids would just as soon a black man should save their property and perhaps their families from fire as a white man. So give us the engine house. Mrs. M. R. Tate [excerpted]


t the end of the nineteenth century, African American women found themselves outside the mainstream fight for suffrage and broader women’s rights. Immediately following the Civil War, the national women’s suffrage organization split for twenty years in a fight over whether to support suffrage for African American males only in the Fifteenth Amendment or whether to hold out for universal suffrage for all. Feelings were wounded, racist language flew, and it took a long time for the mostly white movement to heal. In the meantime, between emancipation and the end of the century, Grand Rapidian Mary Roberts Tate acclaimed African Americans for making “more progress than any other nation in the world” had managed in so a short period. Until her death in 1914, this now virtually unknown African American reform advocate gave voice to African American women both locally and nationally, on stages and in newspapers. By 1894, when Mary Roberts Tate was 45, she and a few other African American women in Grand Rapids started the Married Ladies Nineteenth Century Club, a social and political group dedicated to the uplift of the race. This groundbreaking women’s club was formed two years before the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs organized, and fifteen years before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Mary Roberts Tate was a local beautician and business owner, who also served as organizer, vice-president, and principal lecturer of the Michigan Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. In September of 1900, she led the state Federation in its petition to President McKinley for restitution to an African American widow after her husband had been killed by a mob when he was appointed a postmaster in South Carolina. Fearless, Tate used her voice to enlighten people about the plight and progress of African Americans and about women’s rights at a time when most black women were largely unseen and unheard in public life In a speech captured by the Grand Rapids Herald in 1907, “North Unfair to the Negro,” Tate condemns the attitudes of white people who were kowtowing to the South during what we now call the Jim Crow era: “The north has grown silent and is holding hands off in matters pertaining to our welfare, and dislikes, or fear to take up our cause, no matter what injustices we

ILLUSTRATIONS BY LIBBY VANDERPLOEG suffer.” More locally, in 1906, Mary Roberts Tate had represented her club and community in a show of solidarity and respect for women’s suffrage movements, by speaking at a memorial tribute to Susan B. Anthony at the prestigious Ladies Literary Club. Mary Roberts Tate and other African American women during this period demonstrated that they could shoulder the burdens of their race while they also carried the burdens of womanhood. As she travelled, spoke, and advocated for the rights of all, Tate seemed to understand the weight behind Sojourner Truth’s famous words, “Ain’t I a Woman?” So, during 2020 and the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, remember women like Mary Roberts Tate who were counted on but often discounted during the struggle for the vote. Tate died in 1914 before universal suffrage was achieved.

Throughout 2020, the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council will talk about suffrage from Coloma to Traverse City and in Grand Rapids venues from cemeteries to movie theaters. Celebrate women leaders, then and now, on August 26th at HER VOICE HER VOTE! And follow us on Facebook, our website at ggrwhc.org and in WLM!


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

I LAUGHED SO HARD IT RAINED … RIGHT DOWN MY LEG It would be funny if it weren’t so humiliating! As we age and our body changes there are many things that we just have to deal with. Incontinence is NOT one of those things. Dr. Jannah Thompson can help you find a solution to this embarrassing medical condition. Resolve not to settle for living with Jannah H. Thompson, M.D. incontinence! Female Urology/ Urogynecology

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


Learn & Do

READER’S By Mark Dunham

WHILE THE DEPTH AND BREADTH OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY cannot possibly be covered in just a few books, here are four titles that explore aspects of history that might otherwise have been overlooked.

The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead Set at a fictionalized version of the real Dozier Reform School, once the largest of its kind in the country, the novel explores the effects of incarceration and forced labor on two young African American men, both of whom are unjustly sentenced and imprisoned. The brilliance of the novel lies in Whitehead’s ability to show not just the cruelty of the school, which closed in 2011, but also in how the effects of their unjust imprisonment reverberate through the ensuing decades.

Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson No matter what kind of practice you choose, we have a book for you!

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Eugenia Marve • Psychic • Medical Intuitive • Medium

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

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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

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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

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Jacqueline Woodson is a poet at heart, and Another Brooklyn, while certainly not lacking in plot, is primarily about what it feels like to live in a certain time and place, and how it feels to remember. Another Brooklyn is a coming of age story, partially set in the 1960s and 1970s, and about how we are shaped by our friendships and circumstances. Woodson’s Brooklyn existed in another time, formed in the aftermath of white flight and irrevocably changed by gentrification, a place both familiar and distant, a place formed by racism and segregation.

An African American and Latinx History of the United States, by Paul Ortiz An African American and Latinx History of the United States places the labor of African American and Latinx peoples and the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice for all communities squarely at the front and center of history. Ortiz shows the impact of non-European and indigenous peoples on the building of this country and the role played by the enforcement of segregation and discrimination. He also shows the effects of this struggle on the world stage, as well as how it was influenced by the revolution in Haiti and the wars for independence in both Mexico and Cuba.

Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi Another National Book Award winner, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, addresses the ways in which deeply rooted racist ideas were created and spread in American culture. Kendi, professor of history and international relations at American University in Washington, traces anti-black racist ideas to the first century of European settlement in the North American colonies, where Puritan clergyman Cotton Mather’s racist theology was instrumental in justifying slavery, through to today’s unending racism of the well-intentioned, deconstructing the writing of many prominent people along the way.

$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

Mark Dunham is an Adult Services Librarian at the Krause Memorial Branch of the Kent District Library.

HOURS: M-F 10-6 • Wed 10-7 • Sat 10-5 • Sun 11-4


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


Health & Beauty ASK THE DOCTOR:

Hormones and Weight Loss Is it the Hormones, or the Scales, That Are ‘Out of Balance’?




have been in menopause for about three years now, and because I was so bothered by hot flashes and night sweats, my doctor finally agreed to put me on an estradiol patch, after I had begged him to do so for over a year. I do feel better now, and my hot flashes and night sweats, while not totally gone, have become tolerable. But I keep struggling with weight gain, having put on over 15 pounds in the last three years. Also, I still feel a lot of fatigue, even though I generally get a good night’s sleep. My doctor has advised that I watch my calories and that I exercise regularly, both of which I really try to do, but it isn’t helping. What can I do? Please help! — Mary C. DEAR MARY, I frequently hear this from new patients in my office, getting the impression, when voicing complaints of this sort, that they have in essence been told, “Welcome to the human race!” by friends, acquaintances, and on occasion even by their own physicians. But that is not a compassionate solution, and there are a number of steps that can be taken to help them. Weight gain after menopause is extremely common and has a number of possible causes. A woman whose lifestyle has changed as she ages, typically by having less physical activity and oftentimes by eating more calories than in the past, will almost certainly gain weight. It is important to develop and maintain good habits of regular (preferably daily) exercise as well as to consistently eat healthy, both in the amounts of food as well as in the types of food that one consumes; these factors become even more important as a woman ages, both around the time of her menopause as well as in her post-menopausal years. The type of diet with the most robust and convincing medical evidence supporting its health benefits is the Mediterranean diet which emphasizes whole grains: fruits and vegetables; fish rather than red meat; olive oil rather than dairy products; and, if one consumes alcohol, wine in moderation. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet has been

In combination with a healthy diet and a moderate exercise program, muscle mass can often be maintained or even increased, and belly fat will often diminish. shown to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other diseases and problems. Note that the Mediterranean diet is neither a weight-loss diet nor a diabetic-type diet per se, but it can be easily modified to achieve these ends by reducing the amount of carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, that one chooses. Another common factor that often contributes to weight gain after menopause is that a woman may be lacking in testosterone (I had discussed testosterone for women at length in this column in the August 2019 edition.) Among the many benefits that testosterone provides is that adequate levels of testosterone in the body helps a woman maintain muscle mass and keep fat off — that’s the good news. In combination with a healthy diet and a moderate exercise program, muscle mass can often be maintained or even increased, and belly fat will often diminish. Having adequate levels of testosterone can also help a woman feel more energy and avoid fatigue; having sufficient amounts of estradiol provided after menopause certainly is necessary in this regard, but adequate replacement of the woman’s missing testosterone can also help a lot. One final word about a woman’s exercise plan: it’s very important to include both regular aerobic exercise, such as running, biking, swimming, rowing, etc., as well as regular resistance exercises, such as weight training or resistance bands. This helps to reduce the risk of diabetes, of cardiovascular disease, and of osteoporosis, among others. To ask Dr. Lasater a question and have it featured in our column, please email slasatermd@gmail.com.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Health & Beauty



he number one cause of death for women in the U.S. is heart disease. So let’s have a heart-to-heart about it. One in four people die of heart disease, and almost half of Americans have a risk factor for heart disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Heart disease can take many forms. The most familiar is a heart attack, where the heart does not get the oxygen it needs. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the process where the vessels that bring oxygen to the heart are partially or fully blocked. CAD can lead to a heart attack, but can also cause other symptoms like chest pain. There is also heart failure, which can be caused for a variety of reasons, but leads to the heart not pumping as well as it should. Arrhythmia is when the heart beats irregularly and can be a result of one of the other causes of heart disease. “Women should be aware and proactive about heart disease,” said Dr. Barb Karenko, a cardiologist in Grand Rapids.

WE KNOW IT BY HEART To lower your risk of heart disease, Dr. Karenko recommends making sure that your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure are under control. She also recommends refraining from cigarettes and illegal substances, exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet. “You should also establish with a Primary Care Physician (PCP), and a Cardiologist if your PCP recommends it,” Karenko said.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER If you do notice new symptoms that could be attributed to heart disease, you should bring it up with your doctor. One common symptom is exercise intolerance, which means you can’t do something you could do a few weeks or months ago without feeling out of breath. Chest pain or discomfort, irregular heartbeats, sweating, dizziness, swelling, weight gain and trouble breathing are some other signs of heart disease. Karenko says that symptoms that may be more specific to women are a new feeling that your bra is too tight, new-onset acid reflux, nausea, jaw pain, or abnormal fatigue.

A BLEEDING HEART “Women put everyone else first,” Karenko explained. “I try and reinforce that all of us, especially moms, have to take care of ourselves. Women have a higher mortality from heart disease because they delay seeking treatment. Women ignore symptoms because we’re holding it together for everyone else.”  




couple passing away within a few days of each other. “It’s called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, and it’s real,” Karenko said. “When emotional events happen, such as a death or traumatic experience, it can cause stress hormones to surge and affect the heart. It’s a broken heart.”

PUT YOUR HEART IN THE RIGHT PLACE Most of the time your primary care doctor can start the appropriate labs and test for heart disease. If you know that you were born with a heart defect, if you have a family history of genetic heart disease, or if you have a first-degree family member (parents or siblings) who had a heart attack or heart disease at a young age, then your PCP may direct you to a cardiologist. Testing may include blood work and a chest X-Ray to start. The doctor may also order an Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to look at your heart rate and rhythm. Additionally, an ultrasound of your heart (Echocardiogram or Echo) may be ordered to look at how the heart is functioning mechanically.

“I try and reinforce that all of us, especially moms, have to take care of ourselves. Women have a higher mortality from heart disease because they delay seeking treatment. Women ignore symptoms because we’re holding it together for everyone else.” — DR. BARB KARENKO

If heart disease is detected, lifestyle changes and medication are often the first-line treatment and are aimed at controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Other treatment options can include procedures or surgeries to open blood vessels in the heart, replace a valve in the heart, or to implant a device that can help the heartbeat stay regular.

It wouldn’t be the month of love without a story of heartbreak. We’ve all heard the one about an elderly


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

AGE HEALTHIER & LIVE HAPPIER IT CAN START WITH A SIMPLE TEST Find out how optimized hormones may improve your energy, sleep, weight, and libido.


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Rebalance your hormones and rebalance your life. Using bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, we’ll address hot flashes, low libido, weight gain, and much more. Call Aging Gracefully today! (616) 301-7390 www.optimalwellnessmedical.com 5070 Cascade Rd SE, Suite 210 Grand Rapids, MI 49546

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


Erick Gerson Broadcast News Veterans Reflect on the Man Behind Their Makeup WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELYSE WILD


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


put on my mom’s foundation when I was about 6-years-old,” Erick Gerson said. “I would watch her put on her makeup and she was so focused on it, and obviously she enjoyed it. I wanted to feel what she was feeling when she put makeup on.”


Today, Gerson is a highly sought after and arguably the most recognizable makeup artist working in Grand Rapids. His work has been featured on national TV and in magazines across the globe. His client list ranges from brides to broadcast news anchors to runway models, with looks ranging from stunningly natural to breathtakingly ornate. Eva Aguirre Cooper and Jordan Carson are familiar faces around West Michigan. Cooper recently ended a 22-year stint at WOOD TV8 to work as Vice President of Community Partnership of Univision, and Carson has been with WOOD TV8 for more than 10 years. Both are longtime clients of Gerson’s. “There is something special about the work he does and it goes beyond the brushes and the contouring,” Carson commented. “He is a special part of our community.” Gerson grew up in Ciudad del Carmen, a city in the southwest of the Mexican state of Campeche. He moved to the U.S. in 2003 and searched for a fulfilling career in everything from graphic design to the hotel industry. It was when Gerson met his now-husband, a theatre director at Wyoming Public Schools, that his life began to shift. “They were doing ‘Cats,’ and he needed help with makeup,” Gerson laughed. “I had no idea what I was doing.” He prepared by researching makeup techniques at the library and familiarizing himself with ‘Cats,’ which he hadn’t yet seen. “I knew that was what I wanted to do, right then,” he said. “I fell in love with it.” “Cats” was followed by “Pinnochio,” “The Wizard of OZ,” and more school theatre productions, and Gerson grew his skills with each one. He said the support of his husband gave him the impetus to pursue makeup full time. “He is my support,” Gerson expressed. “Thanks to him, I quit my job and just focused on makeup.” Gerson gained experience working at a MAC Cosmetics counter. He struck out on his own when his clientele grew. Now, a typical weekday for him could mean waking up at 4 a.m. to do makeup for local morning shows, meeting with editorial clients and hosting classes for novices and professionals. On weekends, he does makeup for bridal parties, which can be anywhere from 6-10 people, including the bride. For weddings, he is booked out as far as a year in advance — and, he still does makeup for student theatre productions. While Gerson has countless client testimonials raving about his work, a constant among them are testaments to his caring and attentive personality. “The way he makes you feel throughout the entire process, you feel like a million bucks,” Carson expressed. “You feel like someone special and important because he makes you feel like the only person in the room. Everyone is important to him.”

adored by their audiences, women in broadcast news often face criticism from those who tune in day after day — and themselves. “Our viewers are very supportive, but they can critical of our appearance and that can make you want to strive to look better,” Carson said. “As women in general, we are always our worst critics. When you work in broadcast media and you are in front of the camera every day, you are definitely critical. I have been doing it for 10 years, and I am getting more accustomed to it, but I used to say, ‘Oh gosh, my hair looks terrible this way, my makeup doesn’t look good.’ With Erick, he does such a great job in making me feel great, that it exudes from the inside.” Cooper agrees. “He is a trusted source,” Cooper said. “Everybody wants Erick because he makes you feel good and takes care of you. You trust him when he wants to try something different that you haven’t done before.” Cooper and Gerson are both from Mexico, a point that has drawn them close over the years of early morning makeup sessions. “We will go off and start speaking Spanish together,” Cooper expressed. “I think of him as my little brother — our connection is really special. It is really nice to meet a Latino doing so well.” Carson emphasizes that while Gerson is a skilled professional when it comes to makeup application, it is his personal touch that sets his work apart. “He makes you feel beautiful, which is different than making you look a certain way,” Carson said. “He is one of our very best friends.”

“With Erick, he does such a great job in making me feel great, that it exudes from the inside.” — JORDAN CARSON

To connect with Erick, visit erickmakeup.com or check out his Instagram @erickmaeup. When she is not editing for WLM, Elyse enjoys traveling to far off lands, taking photos, listening to live music and spinning records.

For women in local news, Gerson is a familiar and welcome face; while local news anchors are typically

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020



When you support Go Red for Women by advocating, fundraising and sharing your story, more lives are saved.

“The association is encouraging everyone to wear red — such as a red dress, shirt, hat or other item in support of all women who have been touched by heart disease or stroke.”


his issue features women who are different ages and demographics but have one thing in common. All have various forms of heart disease or stroke.

Other events such as the Go Red for Women Luncheon are scheduled in February. In Grand Rapids, the event will be on February 13 at Noto’s. Tickets are available at Heart.org/GrandRapidsGoRed.

Heart disease is affecting our community at an alarming rate, especially our mothers, sisters and daughters. If every woman reading this magazine takes steps to learn about her risk factors, stays physically active, eats a heart-healthy diet and sees her health care provider, we will begin to see a positive impact in the disparities of heart disease and stroke. This is the message of the Go Red for Women movement from the American Heart Association.

What are some of the key messages of Go Red for Women? Cardiovascular diseases kill more women than all forms of cancer combined, but 80% of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.

Why red? Friday, February 7, has been designated “National Wear Red Day for Women.” Red is the American Heart Association’s color for women and heart disease. “We need a bold color like red to draw attention to heart disease, which is a woman’s greatest health threat,” said Cindy Bouma, communications director for the American Heart Association in West Michigan. “The association is encouraging everyone to wear red — such as a red dress, shirt, hat or other item in support of all women who have been touched by heart disease or stroke.”


Know the warning signs so you can get help right away, either for yourself or someone close to you. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, and no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening: • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

• Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. If you have any of these signs, don’t wait! Call 911. Get to a hospital right away. If you or someone you’re with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait longer than a few minutes (no more than five) before calling for help. What about a stroke? Knowing the common stroke warning signs and what to do in a stroke emergency may help you save a life or reduce disability. To remember the stroke warning signs, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Face Drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven? Arm Weakness - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty - Is speech slurred? Is the person

unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.”

Time to Call 9-1-1 - If someone shows any of these

symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. The faster stroke is treated, the more likely the patient is to recover.

ABOUT GO RED FOR WOMEN • Launched in 2004, Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Women who Go Red live healthier lives. • National Wear Red Day is Friday, Feb. 7. • The 2020 Grand Rapids Go Red for Women Luncheon is on Feb. 13, at Notos Old World Italian Dining. The event includes a a silent auction, a panel discussion, Q&A, lunch and more. To purchase tickets, visit ahagrandrapids.ejoinme.org

As Go Red for Women looks to the future, we know that it’s no longer just about wearing red. It’s about all women making a commitment to stand together with Go Red for Women and take charge of their own heart health. Learn more at GoRedForWomen.org. Post pictures of you going red to social media using the hashtag #GoRedGrandRapids.





ebruary 15, 2015, began like any other day for Paulette Cancler: waking up, eating breakfast and heading into work as a life coach. While seeing a client, Cancler noticed a feeling of what she assumed was indigestion or heartburn. Family members suggested she try mustard, tums and apple cider vinegar to soothe the ache. But nothing made a difference. As the day progressed, Cancler could not even drink water without feeling a pain shoot up through her chest. She dialed 911 and the room went dark. When the ambulance arrived at her house, they found Cancler lying on the floor with no pulse. Paramedics used a defibrillator over a dozen times to resuscitate her. “By the time I got to the hospital, I had a 99 percent blockage,” Cancler said. “There was a one percent chance of me surviving.” Ten days later, Cancler woke up from life support. While recovering, one of the paramedics came to visit her at the hospital. “He told me, ‘Honestly, I don’t know how I’m standing here today talking to you because no one knew how you survived,’” Cancler expressed. What Cancler experienced was not indigestion or heartburn, but rather, one of the deadliest types of heart attacks that blocks the left anterior descending (LAD) artery from pumping blood into the heart. When the LAD artery is blocked and the heart is no longer able to receive oxygen, the heart can stop very quickly, which is why this type of heart attack is called a “widowmaker.” After surviving this pivotal experience, Cancler has made it her mission to educate the community on cardiovascular disease. “You would be surprised

how many women I’ve talked to who did not even know what a normal blood pressure should be, what rhythm a pulse should be or what are symptoms of a heart attack,” she said. “My message is always to be safe than sorry. Even if it ends up being something small like indigestion, it’s important to follow those first warning signs. The one thing I ignored was the warning signs.”

“I never thought it would happen to me and it did, but thank God I’m a survivor.” — PAULETTE CANCLER

According to Cancler, educating yourself on your family history, getting a primary care doctor and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are some of the most important things people can do to avoid health scares. “Society has trained us to be real lazy,” Cancler said. “People don’t even have to leave the house to get the groceries anymore, but exercise is important. If you only walked for 30 minutes a day, you’d make a huge difference in your health for tomorrow.” But she knows far too well that old habits can be challenging to break. Even after surviving a heart attack, Cancler admits six months after she started to feel better, she began to slip back into her old ways of not eating nutritious meals, missing medication doses and smoking. “When I fell off that wagon, I felt hypocritical,” Cancler said. “Why would I tell you my testimony and what not to do to have a heart attack knowing that when I leave I’m going to go to my car to light up?” Realizing she survived for a reason, Cancler knew she had to make a change. She now uses those past slip-ups as an example of how important it is to take care of your body. By sharing her story, Cancler hopes people start making health a priority in their lives. “If you think it can’t happen to you, it can,” Cancler said. “You can be the healthiest person one day and in the hospital in a coma the next. I never thought it would happen to me and it did, but thank God I’m a survivor.”

Megan Sarnacki is a Grand Rapids writer who enjoys crafting stories through multimedia platforms and learning about leaders making a difference in the community.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


“My mother is my hope. It is only because of her and her insistence and courage that I am still here today.” —ESPERANZA RUFINO

How Hope Saved the Life of a Congenital Heart Defect Survivor BY MICHELLE JOKISCH POLO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELYSE WILD


n a cold winter day almost 19 years ago, Isidra Rufino went into labor. She had felt the contractions coming on the day before, and as much as she tried to pretend they weren’t happening, her body was doing what it was meant to do at that moment. Isidra was devastated. She wasn’t ready for her baby to be born. Five months earlier at a doctor’s visit during her very first ultrasound, she found out that there was something wrong with her baby’s heart — that despite her baby’s steady growth in the womb, her baby was not doing well. Her baby had hypoplastic left heart syndrome. In an infant without a congenital heart defect, the right side of the heart pumps oxygen-poor blood from the heart to the lungs and the left side of the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. But in the case of Isidra’s baby, the left side of her heart could not pump oxygenrich blood to the body properly. “The doctors told me if I did make it to full term, my baby wouldn’t live more than a couple of hours or days,” Isidra explained For Isidra, everything was a blur. She barely spoke any English and had to rely on translators to understand everything that was going on with her baby. The young mother had recently immigrated from Guanajuato, Mexico to Grand Rapids in search of better opportunities and a better life for the baby she was carrying. “That dream came crumbling down when I found out my baby was probably not going to make it,” Isidra shared. “I wished I had never come to this country.” Despite what the doctors had told her, Isidra made it to full term and gave birth to her daughter in February of 2001. Her daughter was immediately hooked up to a respirator and a feeding tube. A week later after her birth, with the help of several translators the doctors told Isidra that her baby was being discharged so she could die peacefully at home. “They told me there was nothing more they could do for my baby and that I would have to take her home to die.” When she heard the terrible news, Isidra rushed to her daughter’s side and held her for the very first time. “I grabbed my baby from the incubator and I held her and I wept bitterly,” she said. “At that moment I knew I needed to name her ‘Esperanza’.”

the University of Michigan for a second opinion,” she explained. Isidra agreed to a second opinion, and thanks to that social worker, Esperanza was given hope for life. The same evening she was supposed to head home to die, Esperanza was flown to Ann Arbor for life-saving open-heart surgery. At the time, Isidra had no savings nor any immediate family that she could rely on for support. She was on her own, and it wasn’t easy. “I cried every single day,” Isidra shared. “I was alone and I didn’t know if my baby was going to make it at all.” In that hopelessness, Isidra found a glimmer of light in spending every day at her daughters’ bedside. At her bedside, Isidra learned English and everything about her daughters’ congenital heart defect, and about the kind of care Esperanza would require long term to survive. “If I had stayed in Guanajuato, my Espe (referring to Esperanza), would not have had a chance of surviving,” Isidra expressedd. Back home, Isidra and her family only had access to the town’s small health clinic, and receiving high-quality care like the kind her daughter has received at the University of Michigan, is only given to those who are able to pay for it. Four open-heart surgeries and three medical interventions later, Esperanza had hope for life. “She was a strong baby. The doctors always told me that — that she wanted to fight and fight she did,” Isidra shared. Although Isidra’s and Esperanza’s life journey hasn’t been easy, Esperanza is now 19 years old. She is a certified nurse assistant who is studying to become a nurse at Grand Rapids Community College. She hopes to one day care for others suffering from chronic illnesses and conditions. “My mother is my hope,” Esperanza said. “It is only because of her and her insistence and courage that I am still here today.”

In Spanish, “Esperanza” means “hope.” “For me naming her ‘Esperanza’ was an act of faith. An act of faith that I came to this country for a reason, and there was more for me and my daughter.” That same day, as Isidra was packing her belongings to take her baby home from the hospital, she recalls meeting a social worker named Barbara. “The social worker asked me if it would be OK if she reached out to other physicians at


Michelle Jokisch Polo is a Grand Rapidian transplant from El Salvador & Ecuador. She loves asking questions and will take any opportunity to do so. She is passionate about creating spaces where intersectionality is encouraged and marginalized voices are elevated. Besides speaking Spanglish on a regular basis, she enjoys writing, drinking coffee, taking walks, reading poetry and riding her bike.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

“I am scared that I will be evicted if I keep resisting my manager’s advances.”

“I just want my bathroom repaired without being asked out. Who will believe me?”

Grand Girlfriends and Grand Guys were created to bring women and men together to support programs and services that improve the health and enhance the lives of people served by Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

Sexual harassment by a landlord is housing discrimination. You have the right to be safe in your home. You are not alone. You can report discrimination anonymously. If you or someone you know has experienced housing discrimination, please call the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan at 616-451-2980. www.fhcwm.org


Kenda’s Grand Girlfriend impact: Why did you become a Grand Girlfriend? It seemed like a fun and meaningful way to give back to an organization that I firmly believe in. ●

● What does being a Grand Girlfriend mean to you? That I have a responsibility to participate, represent and learn about the various programs and needs of Mercy Health. ● How did it feel to be a recipient of a Grand Girlfriend grant? It is a great feeling to hear that your department is being given a grant. The grant money allowed us to provide additional healing resources to our patients. ● How did the grant impact the patients you serve? In Radiation Oncology, the female patients were delighted to put on plush robes over their patient gowns. They recognized that we were respecting and caring about their privacy and comfort.

Learning Today... Leading Tomorrow

Now Enrolling

● What would you share with someone interested in becoming a Grand Girlfriend? Do it! Annually, the Grand Girlfriends get to review grant applications and vote on the grants that we want funded. This annual event opens my eyes to the various patient needs and helps me stay invested in the overarching goal of giving back! ● What are you looking forward to in 2020 with Grand Girlfriends? The next grant cycle and, of course, some of the fun events that are planned … especially a behind-the-scenes experience at Mercy Health Wege Institute for Mind, Body and Spirit!

For more information on Grand Girlfriends and Grand Guys visit www.saintmarysfoundationgr.com

Infant | Toddler | Preschool | Young 5’s | School Age Visit www.appletreekids.cc to find a location near you Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020



An Open Heart:

How One Young Mother Overcame a Deadly Cardiac Infection


hen Meredith Sedelbauer went through the birth of her second child, she had no idea that just weeks later she would be having open heart surgery to save her life.

Growing up in West Michigan, Sedelbauer was a healthy, active kid and went on to study business at Grand Valley State University and played college volleyball all four years. She married her husband, Alex, in 2015 and gave birth to her son in 2016. Last March, after a healthy pregnancy, she gave birth to her daughter. “About six weeks later I started to get really sick,” she said. “I was having fevers and migraines. I couldn’t see, I just felt miserable.” She described lying on her couch unable to move, only able to crawl to the floor before her parents told her she absolutely had to see a doctor.

“It’s just a thing that, for some reason, God put into my life to overcome.” — MEREDITH SEDELBAUER

Sedelbauer made the rounds, visiting the emergency room, urgent care and her primary doctor on multiple occasions to discuss her symptoms. Many doctors were quick to tell her that she was suffering from postpartum migraines and potentially the flu and prescribed her pain medication. But Sedelbauer said she knew something was wrong. “When they finally admitted me, my white blood count was 17,000 and, on the high end, it’s supposed to be ten or low eleven (thousand),” Sedelbauer said. Sedelbauer’s white blood cells were working in overdrive to fight off an infection that was on her heart valve and spread to her brain, causing her to have lesions, strokes, short term memory loss and migraines. The infection also spread to her hip making it so she couldn’t walk. “It was spreading all throughout my body,” Sedelbauer said. “It was slowly breaking down my entire body.” The doctors still don’t know where the infection came from. Some potential impacts could have been from giving birth or being in the hospital and getting exposed to a bacteria. Because of the lesions on her brain causing strokes, Sedelbauer was first diagnosed with MS, Multiple Sclerosis, before the doctors did more testing and found she actually had endocarditis, an infection of the heart. Sedelbauer laughed thinking back at the chaos while doctors tried to figure out what was going on. At one point, both


of her parents were questioned by doctors if she was using drugs, because endocarditis can be caused by dirty drug paraphernalia. Once doctors knew what the problem was, they told Sedelbauer they would move quickly and get her into heart surgery as soon as possible. Having been in the hospital not even two months since she gave birth, Sedelbauer said she missed out on a lot of first moments with her baby daughter, Quinn; she had to stop breastfeeding and have her sister watch the baby for two weeks. “I had to just be like, ‘I can’t focus on my kids right now, I just have to focus on myself and get better’ because I knew they were being taken care of,” Sedelbauer said, choking up in tears as she bounced her toddler on her lap. “I just had to be like, ‘I have to get better for them, because they need their mom.’” On May 2, the day after being diagnosed, Sedelbauer had an eight-hour open-heart surgery in which cardiac surgeons put a band over her damaged heart valve. “My husband had the nurse’s line, so you could call anytime of the night,” Sedelbauer said. Her husband called every two hours to get an update. After maternity leave was up, Sedelbauer went on long-term disability for seven months. She works as director of business development at West Michigan company called Supply Chain Solutions. For two months Sedelbauer had to take it easy, not lift anything heavy — even her 13-pound newborn baby for some time — and use a walker. She had antibiotics injected into her arm every day. But the former college athlete was determined to heal and get back to her fitness routine as soon as she could. “I had a personal trainer coming to my house who specialized in people with heart issues, so that was really nice,” Sedelbauer said. For someone with anxiety, it would seem like going through this series of events would bring her more anxious feelings, but Sedelbauer said she didn’t have a chance to. “It did (scare me) but I was just like, you know what, I’m going to get through it,” Sedelbauer said. “It’s just a thing that, for some reason, God put into my life to overcome.”

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 • February 2020

Assisted Living

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THE WAY SCHOOL SHOULD BE. What makes Grand Rapids Catholic Central an experience beyond belief? From exceptional academics to our accepting, supportive, and family-like environment, to the vast opportunities for involvement in whatever interests you, Grand Rapids Catholic Central offers it all. This is not your ordinary high school...this is the way school should be. If you are entering high school or considering making a switch, call or visit today and discover the CC difference.

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At Porter Hills Village you have a chance to be a son or daughter again — our care is excellent and you can gain peace of mind knowing your loved one is safe and sound. 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 and meals • Highly trained professional staff • Inter-generational opportunities through YMCA’s on-site child care center EXPERIENCE THE NOT-FOR-PROFIT DIFFERENCE!

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Call 616.202.5179 today to make an appointment for a tour of our CATERED ASSISTED LIVING. 3600 E Fulton St., Grand Rapids • www.porterhills.org



• Unique kids’ books & games • Baby/kids gifts & gear • Eco-friendly and locally-made items • Always FREE gift wrapping 319 Sheldon Blvd SE. Grand Rapids, MI 49503 GRCatholicCentral.org • 616.233.5800


On Cherry St., between Diamond & Eastern, in East Hills. 909 Cherry St. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 hopscotchstore.com • 616.233.4008

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


Everyday Athena ATHENA Roundtable This is the first chapter in a series spotlighting members of our community who epitomize the Athena standards and live by its principles. Readers will come to know these women, the companies they are representing and the forward thinking employers who have a commitment to elevating women and fairly compensating those women for their contributions in their workforce.


FOR 31 YEARS, the Annual ATHENA Award Celebration by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce has been celebrating women in business who embody the principles that make them leaders in their industries and immeasurable allies to their communities.We sat down with five women leaders to get their take on what ATHENA means in our everyday lives and how it fosters a workforce in which women may thrive. Women’s LifeStyle: Peggy, you helped bring ATHENA to Grand Rapids in 1989. How did that have an impact on the evolution of women thriving in business? Peggy Murphy: Some programs to recognize women came about in the 80s. Men were receiving all the awards, and women weren’t supposed to be put on those stages — women were taught to compete against each other in those business spaces. We had to work against perceptions from the past, particularly that it was more prestigious not to work. Then we said, “No, we have to get over this. We’re going to highlight these fabulous women.” The first woman we honored was Dottie Visser, who was not only divorced, which was a difficult thing to do back then, but was a fabulous business owner. To put a woman like her on a pedestal was a big deal. WLM: Mia, you were given the opportunity to construct the brand story for the Grand Rapids Chamber shortly after you began as marketing director. As a result, you developed the “Create Great” campaign, the launch video of which was recognized at the National level by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). How can workplaces provide opportunities such as this to their female employees? Mia Jankowiak: To have the opportunity to build off an incredible foundation and mission to develop our story was an empowering moment for me. It is so important for companies to provide opportunities like this to not only women but all of their employees and see them as experts in their field. Trusting your team is key. WLM: Jessica, as a small business owner, how has the Chamber created opportunities for you to engage with ATHENA? Jessica Crosby: When I started my business and


joined the Chamber, I talked with Mel Trombley, and she carved out a way for me to get engaged. If you network and you show up and attend meetings, opportunities will knock — I designed the stage for the ATHENA awards last year. WLM: Judy, in what ways have you witnessed women gaining an equal footing in the workplace over the years? Judy Welsh: We are slowly gaining traction. We are still behind in pay equity; we are still behind with women on boards, but my generation is growing out of the workforce and opening up opportunities for the next generation. If you look at women who paved the way, they were competitive but supportive. Most of the women leaders who are in their position today, it took somebody saying, “You can do it. I trust you, and I want you to go for it.”

Judy Welch, executive director of Michigan Women Forward Mel Trombley, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce director of leadership Peggy Murphy, 2019 ATHENA winner Mia Jankowiak, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce director of marketing & events Jessica Crosby, owner of Delight in Designs, Elyse Wild and Terrie Lynema of Women’s Lifestyle Magazine

WLM: Mel, you have a background as a high school teacher. Tell us what how you think we can do to help prepare the upcoming generation of women for leadership? Mel Trombly: Women are enrolling in college and graduating with master’s degrees and doctorate degrees at higher rates than men, but yet we are still not in leadership roles. What can we do to create space so our workforce is ready? The beauty of the ATHENA forums is that women leaders in our city come and invite or pay for someone else to come, so we may have high-level leaders right next to someone just out of college. Creating spaces where those connections can happen is important.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Four of The Divine 9



lpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho are four historically black sororities that were founded during the times when young black college-educated women were not allowed to join the predominantly white sororities on their college campuses. Today, more than 97+ years later, these four sororities, which all operate under The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), are still going strong with membership at national and international levels; their community service and presence is felt in Grand Rapids as well. Three of these sororities were founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Incorporated, founded in 1908, was the first of the four sororities under the NPHC. In 1964, the Theta Chi Omega (TCO) Chapter of Grand Rapids was chartered by AKA members with the desire to continue introducing the organization’s philosophies to the community. “Our presence in this community is critical in ensuring people of color, specifically women, have a voice and an active role in dismantling inequitable systems, providing support, education and resources that equip and empower us to reach our goals while leaving a positive impact for those who come behind us,” explained Jamie L. Gordon, Executive Director of Human Resources with Kentwood Public Schools, who also serves as the current president of the TCO chapter.


Delta Sigma Theta (DST) Sorority, Incorporated was founded in 1913. In 1968, 13 members of DST chartered the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter to continue supporting the local community through providing engaging programs. Angela D. Nelson, VP, Multicultural Business Development at Experience Grand Rapids, who also serves as President of the chapter, is proud of the efforts that her sorority has made over the past 31 years in regards to scholarships and educational financial assistance. Nelson explained that combined contributions from DST members, corporations, foundations, and individual community donors, college tuition loan debt has been reduced by more than $465K. “This incredible support helps lessen the burden of rising tuition costs for students and parents that want to obtain a college education,” Nelson explained. Betty S. Burton, one of the 13 charter members of the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


and member of DST for 60 years, spoke fondly on the sisterhood that transcends her biological sisterhood. “I am one of five biological sisters, and we are five members of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Pride in our Delta sisterhood will always sustain me wherever women are striving for equality and justice. The power of sisterhood for African-American women is a very strong force indeed.”

“Our presence in this community is critical in ensuring people of color, specifically women, have a voice and an active role in dismantling inequitable systems, providing support, education and resources … ”

history with my sisters by being the first sorority to host our regional meeting on a cruise ship to Cozumel,” Taylor shared. Keyuana Rosemond, FitKids360 Program Director at Health Net of West Michigan and member of Sigma Gamma Rho stressed the importance of her organization having a growing presence in the community.

“As a chapter, we seek to cultivate young talent in the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, founded in 1920, area and enhance the natural strengths of our members was chartered in Grand Rapids in 1997 by five members while also operating in the ‘gap’ space to provide of the organization with the desire to keep the dreams of support to our community with initiatives regarding the five founders alive and active in the local community. health and wellness, education and LaKeitha Walker currently serves as the President civic engagement.” — JAMIE L. GORDON, of the Pi Rho Zeta Chapter of Grand Rapids (GR). CURRENT PRESIDENT Celebrating 100 years in 2020, Zeta Phi Beta has kicked One of the initiatives that both Taylor and Rosemond off centennial celebrations in January to celebrate this speak proudly of is “Swim 1922”, which is in OF TCO CHAPTER milestone. Lillian Floyd-Henley, Office Coordinator and partnership with USA Swim to provide water safety member of Zeta Phi Beta for four years, is excited about being a member witnessing tips and swimming competency training to prevent drowning incidents, an issue that this celebration. disproportionately impacts the Black community. “As Zeta approaches a century of scholarship, service, sisterhood and finer womanhood, our importance in GR and West Michigan is very important. As Zetas, our community service and mentorship to young ladies of all ages allows us to experience and embody our principles. We also have the ability to shape the future generations and instill our principles in young ladies from diverse backgrounds. All of this will help to carry our legacy for many generations to come.” Finally, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated was founded on the campus of Butler University in 1922, the only historically black sorority founded in Indianapolis, Indiana during high racial tension in KKK territory. The Eta Pi Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho was chartered in Grand Rapids in 1993 by women wanting to continue creating spaces for women to promote education, scholarship, and service. Brittni Taylor, Traveling Medical Social Worker for AMN Healthcare, serves as President of the local chapter. “I have many memorable moments over the years but the most recent was making

All four of these historical sororities, in collaboration with five historic black fraternities, make up the NPHC, which was founded in 1930 at Howard University. Kenisha Dorsey, Licensed Master-level Social Worker and AKA member of 27 years, serves as President of the Greater Grand Rapids NPHC, which further pushes the focus on matters of mutual concern of the “Divine 9” organizations. “The NPHC is all about collaborating and supporting our community. The Divine 9 came together and packed close to 400 care kits for the homeless population,” Dorsey shared, reflecting on a project from August 2019. The unity demonstrated by these organizations in the community represents the “service for life” commitment, as explained by Dorsey, that will continue. Shanika P. Carter, Principal Consultant of The Write Flow & Vibe, LLC, is an adjunct instructor and author of To Lead or Not to Lead. Learn more atwriteflowandvibe.com.





An evening of delectable cuisine prepared by chefs from the finest restaurants in Grand Rapids. Please join us for the 15th anniversary of Van Andel Institute’s Winterfest Celebration on Thursday, February 20, for an evening filled with delectable cuisine from Grand Rapids’ best restaurants, artisan wines, craft cocktails and entertainment, all for an important cause: VAI’s Parkinson’s disease research.



• Call: Sarah Rollman at 616.234.5712 • Tickets: $150 per person

($75 per ticket is tax deductible) Smart casual attire recommended


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020








VARICOSE VEINS – COMMON, PAINFUL, BUT TREATABLE What is the most prominent vein issue that brings patients to your practice? Bulging varicose veins – one symptom of venous insufficiency. What are the most common symptoms reported by patients who present with this issue? Patients complain that their legs are tired, heavy, achy. Swelling, cramping, restlessness can also be a sign of venous insufficiency. Symptoms worsen as the day progresses.




ASK THE EXPERT The Center for Vein Restoration wishes to reassure you that our expert team of physicians and support staff will do all they can to make sure you have the best experience possible!

Meet Our Physicians ADRIA L. FORD, DO

Experience: 13 Years “I enjoy being able to educate and help people improve their quality of life though treatment of venous insufficiency using a simple office-based procedure to do it.” Board Certifications American Osteopathic Board of Surgery Medical Schools Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine Professional Associations American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, American Osteopathic Association LAURA KELSEY, MD

Experience: 15 Years “Although I enjoy all facets of my practice, my special interest outside the treatment of superficial venous disease continues to be the prevention of venous thromboembolic events.” Board Certifications General Surgery Medical Schools Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine

What are the possible complications to a patient who ignores these symptoms? Blood clots and skin changes are the late complications with untreated venous insufficiency. Skin changes from unsightly varicosities to swelling, hyperpigmentation, stasis dermatitis (red, itchy, inflamed skin) and eventually to ulceration. About 80% of ulcers are due to untreated varicose veins. When is the best time to treat varicose veins? The best time to treat varicose veins is in the early stages of the disease when they are symptomatic but prior to skin changes. Once the disease has progressed to skin changes, irreversible tissue damage has already occurred. What are the treatment options for these conditions? Ablation is the use of heat to close underlying varicosities (seen on ultrasound) — it has replaced stripping. More non-thermal methods are also available such as Venaseal (gluing the vein closed) and Varithena (foam solution to close varicosities). In addition, micophlebectomy can be used to remove large, superficial varicosities thru tiny, skin incisions. Sclerotherapy is used to treat both underlying varicosities and superficial veins. How much downtime after a procedure like this? There is no downtime! We encourage patients to continue with moderate exercise immediately following the procedures. Are the related costs for procedures typically covered by most health insurance providers? Yes. Varicose veins associated with symptoms described above are considered a medical diagnosis. Each insurance has certain qualifying features, included a trial use of compression, that must be met prior to moving forward with procedures. Our team of experts knows the criteria for each insurance and is able to navigate patients through that process. Typical out of pocket expenses apply, however, we strive to help make all of the financial components easy and manageable for our patients. What are some relevant facts that women need to know about venous disease? Varicose veins tend to run in families. About 80% of our patients have a family history. About 80% are female. They also are more prevalent in women: about 50% of women by age 50 have some venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is 5 times more common than arterial disease. Over 40 million Americans suffer from venous disease and yet only about 1.9 million get treated a year.

Professional Associations American College of Physicians

For more information, visit centerforvein.com or 1-800-FIX-LEGS 30

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


IMPROVING YOUR BREAST HEALTH In general, what can women do for better breast health? Monthly breast self-exams are very, very important. A large number of new breast cancer cases are found sooner by a patient during a self-exam. The most aggressive breast cancers may also develop between annual mammograms, and early detection is key to a good treatment outcome. We recommend starting annual screening mammography at age 40 for patients of average risk for breast cancer.



ASK THE EXPERT “This artificial intelligence software is revolutionizing the practice of radiology and expanding success and transparency.”

DR. TRAILL is a diagnostic radiologist

who specializes in the interpretation of mammograms and breast ultrasound, breast biopsy, and breast and body MRI. His experience includes the use of artificial intelligence (AI) applications for breast cancer detection on mammograms—an advancement increasingly seen as a way to combine human expertise with the power of technology to improve diagnostic accuracy. After receiving his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. Traill completed his residency at Michigan State University and a fellowship at Tufts University School of Medicine. He serves patients at Metro Health’s main hospital campus in Wyoming, as well as Metro Health Park East in Cascade, where he works with a comprehensive team that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases using the latest medical imaging procedures. As an affiliate of University of Michigan Health, Metro Health provides a world-class system of leading-edge healthcare services with its patient-centric, holistic approach.

For more information, visit metrohealth.net/imaging/mammography/ Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Are there common breast issues women have that aren’t related to cancer? Breast cysts are very common in all age groups. Typically, there is no risk of malignancy unless the cyst is part of a solid mass. Benign breast lumps are also very common, especially in younger patients. However, any new palpable lump needs to be evaluated by a radiologist to determine its cause. What factors contribute to a woman’s overall breast cancer risk? Age is the most critical factor in breast cancer diagnosis. Most cases occur after age 50. Genetic mutations like BRCA1 and BRCA2 are risk factors, as well as dense breast tissue, a personal history of breast disease, a family history of breast cancer, prior radiation to the breast, race (African Americans are at higher risk), physical inactivity, obesity and hormone treatments. What conversations should women have with their physician to maintain breast health? If a woman isn’t familiar with breast self-exams, she should discuss the process with her doctor. Women should also discuss when to begin annual mammograms. Addressing risk assessments for breast cancer is important because high-risk patients may need additional screening with MRI or ultrasound. How is Metro Health leveraging AI technology for mammography? Metro Health is the first hospital in West Michigan to use ProFound AI, an AI algorithm that detects breast cancer on 3D mammograms as well—or better—than the human eye. When a human reads a mammogram and uses AI as a second set of eyes, the cancer detection rate can be significantly improved, and the number of unnecessary biopsy cases are reduced. Also, there is no additional cost to the patient for this AI technology. How does the AI technology work? The software is trained to detect malignant soft-tissue densities and calcifications. It provides radiologists with scoring information that represents the likelihood that a spot is cancerous. AI technology learns continuously and each new case teaches the program something new. This program can detect abnormalities that the human eye has difficulty seeing and has been proven to reduce false positives and patient recall rates as well as decrease physician reading time. What motivated Metro Health to adopt this new technology? Metro Health recognizes the potential this software has to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. Our organization takes pride in its history of being a progressive healthcare leader, and Metro Health’s executive administration supports innovation and advanced technology. We see that precision medicine is the future, and we want to be at the forefront.



What is a urogynecologist/urologist? A physician with special training in female urology and pelvic health conditions; including those that affect female pelvic organs and supporting tissues. For example, a woman may notice bulging tissue at or past the vaginal opening, need to use a finger in the vagina to assist in passing urine or stool. Many experience accidental loss of urine or stool. Other common symptoms include inability to urinate or difficulty urinating or frequent urination. How common are female pelvic problems? Pelvic health problems are common but sadly we are led to believe by advertisement and our own acceptance of the message that “this is how it is going to be as we age”. However, incontinence is not a normal process of aging despite public understanding.



ASK THE EXPERT “Incontinence is not a normal process of aging despite current public understanding.”

InterStim™ Center of Excellence


is Dual Board Certified in Urogynecology/Urology. After graduation from Hope College she completed medical school at MSU College of Human Medicine followed by Urology Residency at SUNY-Buffalo New York and fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Thompson’s unique understanding of the pelvic floor, caused her to recognize the need for female focused care. This realization drove her, as the first fellowship trained female urologist in West and Northern Michigan area, to start the first female focused practice in the area. This expanded understanding has brought recognition to Dr. Thompson across the country. She is asked frequently to train physicians. Her practice was recently named 1 of 4 InterStim Center of Excellence for 2020. This was to recognize her progressive and patient centered approach to treating Overactive Bladder and Bowel Incontinence.

For more information, visit www.urologicconsultants.com 32

What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)? How is this different from Stress incontinence? OAB is common. 1 in 6 women have OAB and it is more prevalent over the age of 40. Symptoms include urinary urgency, urinary frequency with or without leaking with an urge or UUI. Women can have some or all of these symptoms. OAB is a bladder function problem and SUI is a problem of support. What is urinary incontinence? What causes it? Urinary incontinence is the uncontrolled loss of urine. The most common causes fall into two main categories: *Urge Incontinence (UUI): an involuntary loss of urine with little to no warning associated with urgency. *Stress incontinence (SUI): the unintentional loss of urine with straining, physical activity, sneezing, laughing, or coughing. Do pelvic problems limit a woman’s life, including her intimate relations? Many of my patients tell me how they have limited travel, exercise and social activities especially in public places for fear of losing control of their bladder or bowel. A woman’s desire to be intimate or to enjoy intimacy with her partner are often negatively impacted. My office is a safe place to discuss these fears and develop together a treatment plan that will best allow a woman to resume the activities she desires. I have loss of bowel control. Can you help this condition? Yes! Urogynecologists are experts in treating accidental loss of stool. Many women find it takes a long time to wipe clean but when they return to the bathroom, they find there is stool in the underwear or pad they did not expect. Many times, attention to diet, bowel habits and pelvic muscles can improve symptoms. Sacral Neuromodulation is an FDA approved procedure to help improve the communication between the brain and the bowel and bladder. 90% of patients who trialed InterStim have at least 50% improvement in accidental bowel loss. What can be done to help a woman with pelvic problems? Is surgery the only option? Lifestyle modification such as decreasing dietary acids, losing weight and smoking cessation may alleviate some symptoms. Medication is helpful as is a bladder diary that can assist the patient and physician in assessing the problem. Surgical treatments do exist for incontinence and prolapse but surgery is not the only option. Specialized pelvic physical therapy with female physical therapists can be instrumental. I have 3 experienced physical therapists in my office. They have helped many women take control of their lives again by improving their bladder symptoms. When should a woman seek a doctor? YOU should come see me and my team if any of the symptoms described above impact your quality of life. YOU deserve a healthy pelvis. Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020



SUNDAY FEBRUARY 16, 2020 1:00 – 4:30 PM

The Gospel Believers Kevin Murphy Lady Ace Boogie featuring DJ Dean Martian & Orlando from Bedrock Serita’s Black Rose




Faith and Democratic Struggle Before #BlackLivesMatter New Hope Baptist Church Live African American Museum Resistance Reimagined: The Role of African American Literature in Activism Scenes from “The Meeting” by Ebony Road Players

CREATE Alma W. Thomas Tote Painting Crafts Let’s Move Dance Party World Music & Stories with The Storytellers

EAT Boston Soul Cafe Daddy Pete’s BBQ Flavorful Pound Cakes & Treats Savor the Flavor


Start the new year with brighter skin

20% off laser and IPL 

Reduce brown spots

Reduce facial redness

Laser hair removal

Skin resurfacing

25% off Luvé Moistulock Restorative Cream.

Offer expires February 29, 2020. May not be combined with other coupons or discounts. 6250 Jupiter Avenue, suite D Belmont, MI 49306

Donate: 616.988.5399 or www.grplfoundation.org.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020



January Events Ongoing

Rebecca Louise Law: The Womb. This exhibition of new work explores the intimate relationship between humankind and nature. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. meijergardens.org Bodies Revealed. 10 full body human specimens and hundreds of organs are respectfully displayed to tell the story of the miraculous systems at work within each of us. Grand Rapids Public Museum. grpm.org A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass. This exhibition features work by contemporary artists who are using glass in innovative ways, while presenting its metaphorical possibilities. Their artworks also connect to broader cultural, environmental, political, and spiritual themes. Grand Rapids Art Museum. artmuseumgr.org


The Chilly Challenge. Participants will enjoy a unique tour each week, traversing the sidewalks while focusing on a theme, narrated by Caroline Cook of Grand Rapids Running Tours. JW Marriott Grand Rapids. facebook.com/ilovethejw

Until Feb 15

The Art of Change. An exhibition of art that raises awareness of current global issues of our time in an effort to provoke positive change. Lowell Arts. lowellartsmi.org

Until Feb 16

The World of Winter Festival, presented by Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and running from January 17-February 16, gives Grand Rapidians a chance to enjoy this most magical (and coldest) of seasons. Featuring free activities, such as snow yoga and ice sculpture tours, it might just make you appreciate the subzero

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.

temperatures. Downtown Grand Rapids. downtowngr.org


Feb 1-Feb 9

Hamilton. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now. Various showtimes. broadwaygrandrapids.com/hamilton

Feb 21-Jul 14

A Beautiful Struggle: Black Feminist Futurerism. Interdisciplinary contemporary art exhibition that explores the integration of Black feminist and Afrofuturist ideas. UICA. uica.org

Feb 6

LIVE at TCP: Funny Girls Presents It’s Not Love, It’s Heartburn. Funny Girls brings a show all about love: the tears, the breakups, and the heartburn. 8-9:30 pm. The Comedy Project. thecomedyproject.com Policy on Tap. Connect with elected officials from across the political spectrum over drinks and appetizers. New Holland Brewing The Knickerbocker. 4:30-6:30 pm. grandrapids.org The Infamous Stringdusters.The Infamous Stringdusters rise to new heights on their ninth full-length record Rise Sun. St. Cecilia Music Center. 7:30 pm. scmc-online.org/theinfamous-stringdusters/

Feb 7


Coffee and a Tour with Artist Norwood Viviano and Curator Ron Platt. Join for coffee, conversation, and a guided tour of A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass with featured artist Norwood Viviano and Curator Ron Platt. Grand Rapids Art Museum.10-11:30 am.

Grown-up Playdate 2020. Adults take over the museum for a night of friends and fun including:carnival games, prize wheel, street food, playful cocktails, craft beer, wine pull, and music by PJ DA DJ Sound & Entertainment. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. 7-11 pm. grcm.org/events Nikki Glaser: Bang It Out. Nikki Glaser is quickly becoming one of the most sought after young comedians and actors in the comedy world. Glaser will next be seen as creator, executive producer, and star of the upcoming Comedy Central series Not Safe w/ Nikki Glaser, where some of comedy’s funniest voices will joke, learn, and share their personal stories about sex, relationships, and other taboo topics. 20 Monroe Life. 6 pm. 20monroelive.com

Feb 8

Guided Snowshoe Hike. Grab a pair of our snowshoes and join aMaster Naturalist on a guided hike through the winter forest and fields. 1011:30 a.m. Blandford Nature Center. blandfordnaturecenter.org/experiences/ community-calendar Cabin Fever + Boop de Boom. Featuring local artists and artisans, workshops, and drink specials. Boop de Boom Coffee Lounge. Noon-8 pm. facebook.com/BoopdeBoom Well-Read Black Girl Grand Rapids: Girls Night Out!! Come dressed in red (a dress OR how you most feel comfortable), mix, mingle, and enjoy food and wine over a conversation around what it means to be well-read. Then put on your dancing SOCKS and have fun with an instructor led cultural dance lesson! facebook.com/ GrandRapidsBookstore

JAN. 2 - MARCH 31, 2020 FOR ADULTS AND NOW TEENS, TOO! Read six books and receive a Let It Snow prize mug. Read an additional four books to be entered into a drawing for an iPad. kdl.org/snow


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Russell Peters

JP Sears

Justin Willman

Miranda Sings

Ralph Harris

Jim Gaffigan

signature event with

Jeff foxworthy

MAria Bamford

adam caytonholland

Check out laughfestgr.org/news for the latest LaughFest announcements.

MARCH 5–15, 2020 10 days of free and ticketed events including stand-up, improv, film, showcases and a variety of seriously funny stuff!

AND more!

Visit laughfestgr.org for the latest ticket and event information! CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF LAUGHTER FOR THE HEALTH OF IT! Proceeds benefit the free cancer and grief emotional health support program offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. Find out more at gildasclubgr.org. LF20 Women's Lifestyle - January Ad.indd 1

laughfestgr.org | info@laughfestgr.org | 616.735.4242

12/12/2019 9:46:50 AM

Assisted living does not mean you have to leave your home. I’m proud to be a Peak Selling ™ Realtor for Midwest Properties of Michigan. Peak Selling™ is designed to generate multiple offers after only a few days on the market, a smoother transaction and closing. It’s proven to be a great way to do business for my sellers! This program also works well for buyers who are trying to buy a home in this crazy market. I utilize a deep understanding of how to write winning offers using aspects of the Peak Selling ™ program and all of the other tools at my disposal.

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

Beaubien Bodyworks Massage, Skin & Hair Boutique

2 hours of luxury only $99! Our new client specials make great Holiday Gifts 3 to choose from:

2355 Belmont Center Dr., Suite 104 • Belmont, MI 49306

Roxanne O’Neil - REALTOR® Call or email me today.

(616) 822-0234 / roneil@grar.com Specializing in drama-free Real Estate

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

• Luxury facial with wax, sugaring or peel • Organic color, cut & blowout • Massage & facial - both a full hour!

Purchase gift cards online at beaubienbodyworks.com or call 616.258.8181 We are in the heart of East Hills at 951 Wealthy St, SE


back. Michigan Street and Bostwick Avel. 8:30 pm. spectrumhealth.org/ foundation/helen-devos-childrenshospital/project-night-lights

Feb 13

Grand Rapids Go Red for Women Luncheon. This empowering event focuses on preventing heart disease and stroke by promoting healthy lifestyles, building awareness and raising critically-needed funds to support research and education initiatives. Notos Old World Italian Dining. 10:30-1:30 pm. facebook.com/AHAMichigan/ Grand Rapids’ Better Cities Film Festival. Join for the screening of some of the newest films from the Better Cities Film Festival in Detroit (previously the New Urbanism Film Festival in LA). Wealthy Theatre. 6 pm. grcmc.org/events

Feb 14

MISSING U: A Robyn Valentine’s Party, a Benefit for the Grand Rapids Pride Center. Get ready to dance and show your love for Robyn on Valentine’s Day 2020. Featuring special performances and a raffle. The Pyramid Scheme. 9:30 pm. pyramidschemebar.com REBECCA LOUISE LAW - THE WOMB IS ON DISPLAY AT FREDERIK MEIJER GARDENS UNTIL MARCH 1. | PHOTO BY CHUCK HEINEY

Feb 8-Feb 22

Black Family History. Join us for a series of workshops that will help you learn about and document your family’s genealogical history. Hosted by local genealogist Joyce Daniels, the series will help you investigate your roots and connect with others around family history. Grand Rapids Public Library. 10 am. grpl.org/

Feb 9

Paint Your Heart Out. Just in time for Valentine’s Day and in a one night only workshop, paint an anatomical heart with your own creative twist! Lions & Rabbits. 4-6 pm. lionsandrabbits.com/ events

Feb 11

ATHENA Leadership Forum. Rooted in the eight tenets of the ATHENA Leadership Model, the bi-monthly

“No Problems” Training Series. Join the Amway Riverbank Run Road Warriors for a 2-3 mile group run and social gathering starting and finishing at Perrin Brewing Company. Perrin Brewing. 6-8 p.m. amwayriverbankrun. com/event/no-problems-trainingseries-3

Feb 12

Project Night Lights. Kids flash flashlights out of their windows at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, and local law enforcement and community members respond by flashing their lights


Feb 18

Yoga at the GRPM. Join teachers from Mindful Vinyasa School of Yoga for an hour of yoga at the public museum. 5:30-6:30 pm. Grand Rapids Public Museum. facebook.com/GRMuseum/

Feb 19

WM Coffee Connections Affinity Group. A free monthly meeting for coffee and connections. 8-9 am. TelNet Worldwide. inforummichigan.org/ inforum-events/ WGVU and NPR Pop Up Series Featuring Myra Maimoh.



After many years in the wellness

8 A.M. - 5 P.M.

industry, and in the midst of a


family crisis, founder Jennifer

10 A.M. - 3 P.M.

Masley began selling Jenergy Bars and Detoxes from her kitchen. With avid support from the Grand


Rapids community her client list


grew, and in 2012 Sip Organic Juice Bar was born.


Our menu includes juices,


smoothies, raw foods, salads, wellness lattes and teas. We offer 3-day and 5-day raw food detoxes, weekly. Call in or visit our website, siporganicjuicebar.com, for more details!




Wildlife Rehab Center Annual Fundraiser. A wonderful evening of food, fun and fundraising to benefit the Wildlife Rehab Center Ltd! Featuring a live and silent auction of local art, gift certificates and more. All proceeds benefit local wildlife. John Ball Zoo. 5-8pm. facebook.com/ wildliferehabcenterltd/

Feb 21-Feb 22

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Fans of all ages can now experience the thrilling tale of Harry’s obsession with a mysterious potions book accompanied by the music of a live symphony orchestra as Harry soars across the big screen. DeVos Performance Hall. Friday, 7:00 pm; Saturday, 2:00 pm. grsymphony.org/ harry-potter-6

Feb 26

Parent & Caregivers of LGBTQ+. The only requirement for attending the group is that you have cared for a child, no matter the age, who identifies as LGBTQ. For individuals 18 years of age and older. Grand Rapids Pride Center. 7 pm. grpride.org.

Feb 29

Celebration of Soul. A five-star community event, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Celebration of Soul Gala honors community leaders who are advancing the arts, education and inclusion in West Michigan. Social reception, 5 pm, JW Marriott. Concert, 8 pm, DeVos Place. grsymphony.org/COS

For more event listings,visit womenslifestyle.com.



ATHENA Leadership Forum provides professional development opportunities for women of all levels. The Rutledge. 11:15-1 pm. grandrapids.org/ events-and-programs/info/all/athenaleadership-forum/

WYCE 21st Annual Jammies. Jammies 21 features over 20 Michigan bands on 3 stages with award presentations for Best Album of 2019, Best Album by a New Artist, Song of the Year, the Listener Choice Awards, and much more. The Intersection. 5:30-11pm. grcmc.org/events

Cameroonian-born Myra Maimoh grew up in Bamenda. Influenced by her parents’ records of Skeeter Davies, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, and other African artists, Myra started singing and dancing, at the age of 2. The Listening Room. 7:30pm. listeningroomgr.com

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

Exact Moment

For This

Depression and anxiety can be overwhelming. It’s like your world is turned upside down. Our Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is open daily and walk-ins are encouraged. Visit our expertly trained clinicians to start your road to recovery today.

PineRest.org/Urgent • 616.455.9200

Sweepstakes, Contests & Quiz Winners!


WomensLifeStyle.com/contests Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020


31st Annual

2020 HONOREES Amway Drew Cooper & Anding





Underwriter Sponsor:

Video Sponsor:

Media Sponsor:

678 Front Ave NW, Suite 180 Grand Rapids, MI 49504


Print Sponsor:

P:616-458-5443 F:616-458-9944



APRIL 23, 2020 11:30 A.M. TO 1:30 P.M.


JW MARRIOTT 235 Louis St NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 PLEASE JOIN US IN HONORING JOAN BUDDEN AND MEG MILLER WILLIT as they receive the Women of Achievement and Courage Award!

For information or to sponsor the event, please visit: miwf.org. Questions? Contact Judy Welch at jwelch@miwf.org.

We are excited to see you there!

Tom Briggs

SOUND & LIGHT Weddings, Corporate Events & DJ Service

Book me now at

(616) 532-7059 EMAIL:

tomthedj50@yahoo.com tombriggs.webs.com



Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020

The Winners Congratulations to winners of the 1st Annual West Michigan Food & Beverage Industry Awards for 2019! Thank you for your time and talent that you give to our community.

Awards are based on performance in 2019. Hosted at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids on January 3rd, 2020.

Presented by the Hotel District



CHEF OF THE YEAR Jeremy Paquin - Grove

Buffalo Traders Lounge



Eastern Kille Distillery

IRIE Kitchen



Rob Hanks – Sidebar


NEW RESTAURANT/BAR OF THE YEAR (2019 OPENING) Kingfisher Restaurant and Deli

Tony Jones - Buffalo Traders Lounge



Kevin Skukalek - Terra GR Restaurant



Brewery Vivant



Reserve Wine and Food

West Michigan Farmlink



Butcher’s Union



Graeme Glass - Reserve Wine and Food

Liz Della Croce - The Lemon Bowl

Katy Waltz - Brewery Vivant Michael Borraccio - Grove

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • February 2020



■ Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano ■ Aperitivo ■ Bistro Bella Vita ■ Brewery Vivant ■ Byron Center Meats ■ Essence Group ■ Ferris Coffee & Nut ■ Field & Fire ■ Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company ■ Grove ■ Malamiah Juice Bar ■ Railside Golf Club ■ Reserve Wine & Food ■ Terra GR ■ The B.O.B. ■ The Cheese Lady Grand Rapids - CHZ Enterprise ■ The Green Well


■ Arie Nol Auto Center ■ Community Automotive Repair ■ Harvey Automotive, Cadillac, Lexus, Auto Outlet ■ Pfeiffer Lincoln


■ Art of the Table ■ Bill & Paulʼs Sporthaus ■ Frames Unlimited ■ Schuler Books ■ Spirit Dreams ■ Stonesthrow ■ Supermercado Mexico ■ Switchback Gear Exchange ■ The Shade Shop


■ A-1 Locksmith ■ EPS Security ■ Gerritʼs Appliance ■ Gordon Water ■ Morris Builders ■ Nawara Brothers Home Store ■ Rockford Construction ■ Tazzia Lawn Care ■ Verhey Carpets


■ Innereactive ■ The Image Shoppe ■ Womenʼs LifeStyle Magazine


■ Grand Rapids Community Media Center (GRCMC) ■ Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) ■ Grand Rapids Public Library ■ Neighbors Development ■ Slow Food West Michigan ■ The Rapid ■ West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC)

PET PRODUCTS & SERVICES ■ Chow Hound Pet Supplies


■ AgeWise Eldercare Solutions ■ Design 1 Salon Spa ■ Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness ■ Grand Rapids Wellness ■ Grand Ridge Orthodontics ■ Mommas Home ■ The hairport ■ The Village Doula GR

FINANCIAL & LEGAL ■ Lucy Shair Financial ■ United Bank

TRAVEL & LODGING ■ Breton Travel ■ Countryside Tours ■ Witte Travel

When you support a locally owned business, more resources stay in the community and get reinvested in the economy.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ■ Celebration Cinema ■ Community Circle Theatre ■ Frames Unlimited ■ Glitter Booth Photo Booth ■ Grand Rapids Art Museum ■ Grand Rapids Civic Theatre ■ Grand Rapids Public Museum ■ LaFontsee Galleries ■ LowellArts ■ River City Improv ■ ShowSpan, Inc. ■ The Ruse Escape Room ■ Triumph Music Academy


LOCAL FIRST means PEOPLE FIRST Communities thrive when the economy puts people first.

■ Ball Park Floral & Gifts ■ Eastern Floral ■ Romence Gardens

Local First •345 Fuller Avenue NE • GR, MI 49503 • (616) 808-3788 • www.localfirst.com

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Women's Lifestyle Magazine - February 2020  

Women's Lifestyle Magazine - February 2020