Loren Eisenlohr

Marketing Director, West Michigan Woman
[email protected]


Award recognizes Buck’s celebrated career and significant contributions to mental health initiatives and outcomes in West Michigan and beyond.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 19, 2024 – West Michigan Woman, a magazine and online community that informs, connects and inspires the women of West Michigan, has announced that Christy Buck, Executive Director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan and Founder of be nice., will be honored with the 2024 Legacy of Brilliance Award at the upcoming eighth annual Brilliance Awards, taking place May 9 at the Amway Grand Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Legacy of Brilliance Award, chosen directly by the West Michigan Woman team, was created in 2023 and is presented to a well-respected woman who has a reputation for showing up for her team, her network and her community throughout the entirety of her exceptional career. The Legacy of Brilliance Award recognizes a woman who for years—perhaps even decades—has given of herself, personally and professionally, to better the lives of those around her and the place we call home. She's someone who everyone can share a story about, and has worked tirelessly over time to ensure progress is always being made. Through every interaction, this woman has helped lay the stepping stones for others to excel. She inspires, cheers others on, has broken barriers and is celebrated for the path she has paved.

“As we approached the planning phases for this year’s Brilliance Awards, we were excited to once again, for the second year, recognize and celebrate a woman who has contributed so much, for so long to our community through the Legacy of Brilliance Award,” said Kasie Smith, President & Publisher of West Michigan Woman. “Christy has worked tirelessly for decades to positively influence so many throughout West Michigan and has truly made strides in promoting mental health awareness, preventing suicide through education and ending the stigma associated with mental health. We’re thrilled to honor her and her tremendous contributions in this way.”

The Legacy of Brilliance Award is presented alongside nine additional categories awarded at the annual Brilliance Awards event: Mentor, Connector, Social Change Agent, Tenacity, Champion of Service, Entrepreneur, Emerging Leader, Best Supporting Man, and Woman of the Year.

"Being recognized for this award comes down to two simple words: be nice. Professionally, I'm humbled that this program and action plan has had an impact on countless lives and empowered individuals to prioritize mental health and make a difference in our communities,” Buck said. “Because of be nice., individuals of all ages are speaking up when they're hurting, seeking help instead of struggling silently, and supporting one another when they need someone to walk alongside them on their mental health journey.” Buck herself has integrated the four steps of this action plan into her everyday life as a mother, mentor, spouse, sister and friend.

“For me, receiving this award is not just an accolade for my achievements; it's a call to action for the future,” Buck continued. “We've made great strides regarding mental health and treatment over the past 40 years, and there's more work to do. A legacy is about the positive impact we leave on those who follow in our footsteps, and for me, that's empowering individuals when it comes to mental health."

With more than 36 years of experience in the mental health field, Buck’s passion for transforming and saving lives through mental health education led her to develop two mental health and suicide prevention programs: be nice. and be nice.extension (formerly Live Laugh Love). In addition to being a keynote speaker, Buck and her staff have passionately presented to over 300,000 people in West Michigan on mental health awareness, bullying and suicide prevention since 2006. Buck has been involved with numerous community organizations and coalitions, along with becoming a certified instructor for QPR and Mental Health First Aid, for which she has been recognized as one of the top 100 instructors in the country. Buck has also been awarded the American Red Cross Hometown Hero Award, 50 Most Influential Women In West Michigan, Daughters of the American Revolution Women In History Award, and was a Brilliance Awards Woman of the Year finalist in 2019.

Of all of her accomplishments, Buck’s family brings her the most joy. She is "yiayia" to three beautiful grandchildren, and with husband Tim is the proud mom of Demetrios, Katerina, and Isabella. Buck protects her mental health by dominating in trivia every Wednesday night with her friends and spending time at her second home in Manistee, Michigan. She is a proud graduate of Michigan State University and is a devoted member of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Each year, the Brilliance Awards recognize the dynamic talent, spirit and intellect of those who tackle issues facing professional women. Focusing on nominees who are committed to creating positive change and excel in their fields, the Brilliance Awards shine a light on local leaders within the West Michigan community who truly elevate others and blaze trails of inspiration.

Ticket and table information can be found at: https://serendipity-media.com/brilliance-awards

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