|  

The 2021 West Michigan Woman People's Choice Brilliance Award

BAPCA19 Social1 UPDATEVoting is now open! The West Michigan Woman Brilliance Awards is entering its 5th year of celebrating the unique talents of women and men in our community. For the third year, the public will select one honoree from the finalists for the People's Choice Brilliance Award. The winner will be announced on August 31, 2021 at the West Michigan Woman Brilliance Awards where they will receive their award and recognition.

• To vote, please provide your first and last name and email address
• You may only vote one time for one person
• Voting opens June 1, 2021 and closes at 5pm on June 25, 2021

 !All finalists, along with snippets from their bios, have been placed in alphabetical order below. Enjoy learning about each of them and thank you for voting!

PurpleLine1

Finalists

Director, Community Impact
The Bridge
Brilliant Connector

Melody Woods wants others to know that through “creating relationships and caring deeply for other people and the community they live, work, and play in, they too can create change.” This sentiment is echoed in her work as the Director of Community Impact at The Bridge. Melody believes in the difference she can make and has made in the community by connecting with individuals and organizations, linking them to services and resources that build and foster relationships. Melody continues to actively create promising social change that will inevitably strengthen our West Michigan community.

Founder and CEO
Hire for Hope
Brilliant Tenacity

Ashley Ward is the Founder and CEO of Hire For Hope, an award-winning and mission-driven business that serves 60 clients in West Michigan. Her company specializes in executive recruiting and talent consulting services for mid-size businesses. The “hope” part of Hire For Hope is a part of the company’s mission, giving 10% of profit to nonprofits in West Michigan that support and empower women, particularly those experiencing domestic violence. Ashley is a survivor of domestic abuse herself and shares her story publicly, explaining that past adversity doesn’t define her¬—“it only ignites my fire and spirit, giving me the courage and power to persist even in the darkness.”

Clinician
Wedgwood Christian Services
Brilliant Team Player

Brina Tiemeyer is a clinician with Wedgwood Christian Services, specializing in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Informed Parenting and Trauma Specialization Across the Lifespan. She believes in taking a collaborative approach to helping clients reach their full potential and is passionate about helping children and their families navigate traumatic experiences, reducing symptom severity. When it comes to building camaraderie, Brina says, "Reflection of your daily interactions and the ability to empower others to be the best they can be builds not only an open, honest connection, but also promotes a bond towards a common goal—in other words, creates a team."

Founder/CEO
Pieces of Me
Brilliant Entrepreneur

Elsa Vos is the founder of Pieces of Me, a meaningful jewelry brand launched in 2016. She believes all women deserve to feel loved and valued for who they are, and Pieces of Me jewelry gifts share that message. Elsa currently serves as the creative director and design lead on all products. In addition to growing her lifestyle brand, Elsa developed an internship program that has facilitated mentoring to over 50 students in the last five years. Pieces of Me was featured as a top holiday gift in 2019 on the Hoda + Jenna show on NBC’s The Today Show. Currently, Pieces of Me jewelry can be found in over 200 retail stores nationwide.

Owner
ACTPhotoMedia
Brilliant Entrepreneur

Aleka Thrash's mission is to cultivate beautiful experiences of authenticity that inspire and influence others through multimedia. Aleka is known for her blog, NaturallyACT, that encourages the importance of self-care both inside and out. She feels privileged to use her gift of noticing the inner beauty in others and portraying that beauty through her multimedia creative agency, ACTPhotoMedia. Aleka is the co-founder of Kinky Hair Connection, an annual event created to support and encourage a natural hair lifestyle. In addition, Aleka serves as a committee member for Our African American Heritage Fund with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. Her goal is to encourage everyone to embrace who they were born to be, naturally!

From this issue

/Meeting%20the%20Community%20Where%20They%20Are:%20Wendy%20Falb,%20Ph.D.
A driving purpose in Dr. Wendy Falb's life has been a commitment to creating more equitable educational opportunities and a passion for effective community transformation. She served on the GRPS board for 10 years, where she was instrumental in the development of the Museum School and part of the team that increased enrollment for the first time in 25 years and passed a $175 million millage.
/Light%20it%20Up!%20How%20Lighting%20Can%20Elevate%20Your%20Mood%20and%20Transform%20Your%20Space
Have you ever been in a space and the vibe is just ... off? Often, lighting is the culprit. Research indicates that warmer lighting is most associated with a cozy and relaxed atmosphere perfect for being creative and socializing, while cooler lighting is more suited for when you need to be most alert and ready to focus on the task at hand. And while preferences vary, more and more folks are recognizing how influential lighting can be in a space, especially within your home, where you're meant to feel the most at ease.
/How%20to%20Best%20Support%20Parents%20When%20They%20Welcome%20a%20New%20Baby
If you've never had a little one (or it's been a while), it can be difficult to know the best ways to celebrate our friends, family members, colleagues or neighbors when they welcome a new baby. Here are a few ideas to show them some love, whether they're welcoming their first or fourth.
/10%20Ways%20to%20Treat%20Yourself—Because%20You%20Deserve%20It!
The concept of "treating" ourselves has long been equated with indulgences and luxuries to be enjoyed sparingly. But what if treating ourselves really meant engaging in self-care?