Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) has been empowering West Michigan women to launch, sustain and enhance their entrepreneurial business endeavors for the past 26 years. Lead by CEO Bonnie Nawara, GROW provides training, networking opportunities and financial resources to these enterprising women.
GROW is growing! To meet increased community demand, the organization has hired three additional staff members: Kathy DeVries, Chief Operating Officer; Shelly LeMahieu Dunn, Volunteer Manager and Grant Coordinator; and Mary C. Hartfield, Program Manager.
Kathy DeVries, GROW's new COO, began her entrepreneurial career while working for her family's agribusiness. She and her sister managed the company's seed packaging line, eventually running it as a spin-off entity. DeVries has also worked as a realtor and adjunct professor. In her new position, she will bring alignment to GROW's strategic objectives, helping the organization expand within the Grand Rapids female entrepreneurial community.
"Kathy comes to us with a strong entrepreneurial background, including over 16 years as a business owner," said GROW CEO Bonnie Nawara. "Kathy was instrumental in transforming processes in her own company, which fit well with what GROW plans to accomplish with this position." After growing its operational capabilities, GROW is looking to DeVries to help optimize the increased capacity the organization has built.
Prior to joining GROW, Shelly LeMahieu Dunn worked in event management, grant writing, volunteer coordination, marketing and community relations. Her skillset is well-aligned with the position of Volunteer Manager and Grant Coordinator. Mary C. Hartfield also brings a wealth of knowledge to the organization, having previously worked in the areas of community development, strategic planning, entrepreneurship and leadership training.
Nawara wants GROW to be a champion of equitable and inclusive economic growth for all women entrepreneurs in West Michigan. No doubt 2016 will be a great year for GROW and all of the women entrepreneurs it supports!
Visit www.growbusiness.org to learn more about GROW programs and staff members.
Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for West Michigan Woman magazine.
Photo courtesy of GROW.