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Get Inspired, Give Life

Thursday, 05 April 2012 14:39
When her eyes opened in a hospital room, Holly Werlein had no idea she'd undergone a liver transplant surgery. What's more, the 21-year-old from Traverse City could not imagine that a few years later, she would be founding the Holdol Wear Clothing line and acting as Special Advisor to the Transplant Games of America. Holly is turning her sudden acute liver failure and subsequent status one transplant surgery into awareness and success. After moving to Grand Rapids to be closer to her sisters, she got involved with the Transplant Games and set out to educate and inspire others to become… Read more...

She's So Fly, Stellafly

Thursday, 29 March 2012 09:46
Laura Caprara is putting Grand Rapids on the map one event at a time. Her business, Stellafly Social Media, is taking off, and with photography and video coverage of happenings throughout West Michigan and even beyond the state lines, Laura hopes to inspire her social network followers to travel and see things outside of their comfort zones. From dog shows to celebrity appearances, the Stellafly crew mixes and mingles with the community. Doing brand management and social networking for clients like the Grand Rapids Public School District, Stellafly works behind the scenes to bring awareness to local events and organizations.… Read more...

Make a Connection with Kim Bode

Thursday, 22 March 2012 15:27
For Kim Bode it was all about making connections when she launched her business 834 Design & Marketing. Involvement in local organizations like Grand Rapids Young Professionals gave Kim a foundation of friends, mentors, and supporters during the launch of her company. Like any first-time entrepreneur, Kim had a lot of questions about the ins and outs of running a business, and her contacts were there to fill her in on the details. Kim advises all future business owners to find others off which to bounce ideas. "Find a mentor, that's my biggest piece of advice. I wouldn't be where… Read more...

Midwestern Woman Spreads Message of Hope

Thursday, 15 March 2012 13:27
Although she's not technically from West Michigan, Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler did spend some time in the Grand Rapids community visiting school children and spreading her message of hope for a bright future. Laura was crowned this January and will spend a year traveling around the country proclaiming her message of educational importance like she shared with students at the Grand Rapids Montessori March 6. Laura stayed at City Flats Hotel in Grand Rapids while she was here, and got to sample some of the local cuisine at Cherry Deli and Leo's. The time was busy, as she was… Read more...

Giving Back 1,000 Fold

Thursday, 08 March 2012 16:45
Donna Betten was like so many chemotherapy patients making frequent trips to Saint Mary's Healthcare in Grand Rapids for her treatments. But a simple box of makeup changed her outlook on her illness and on life thanks to an organization that is providing funding and care for women across West Michigan. Grand Girlfriends is a fundraising arm of Saint Mary's Healthcare, and it makes supporting women's welfare its priority. Michelle Rabideau, the executive director of the Saint Mary’s Foundation, developed the concept of Grand Girlfriends because she saw a need for a society in West Michigan that involved women of… Read more...
If you've never experienced the West-Michigan Women's Expo, this is the year to go! This year's event at the DeVos Place includes a full line up of exclusive product launches, shopping, networking and seminars is more exciting than ever before. “We change it up every year so we always have something new as far as new products and services. Many people launch products to women because women biggest market, so either women going to like it or not. This is the way to find out,” says Denise Kolesar, President of Kohler Expos, Inc. Stop by and meet the West Michigan… Read more...

LaughFest for the Health of It

Thursday, 23 February 2012 16:03
You'll laugh, you'll cry (because you're laughing so hard), and you'll  boost your health–all in the name of Gilda's LaughFest. The second annual community-wide event is coming to Grand Rapids March 8-18, and Gilda's Club has assembled a cast of laugh-worthy events for the whole family. "We hope to feature in those ten days a celebration of laughter for the health of it," says Leanne D. Arkema, president and CEO of Gilda's Club in Grand Rapids. More improv, sketches, music theater, dance, children's events, and even pet showcases are being combined to create the funniest thing you'll experience all year.… Read more...

Blending Inspiration, Adventure, and Art

Thursday, 16 February 2012 16:17
A lot has changed since a young girl from the Midwest saved up her money to buy her first plane ticket to Italy. Six trips to Ethiopia later, Stephanie Schlatter is decorating the pallet of her life with philanthropy, service, and a little bit of paint. When Stephanie, a former hairdresser, took her first trip to Nepal, she was inspired by the culture of respect and emphasis on communal spirituality. The children there knew how to entertain themselves without iPods and game consoles. But something was missing, and that something was art. "I wanted to help, but I didn't know… Read more...

Advocating One Job at a Time

Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:50
Empty shop windows, scarcely trodden side streets, and defeated, jobless families are icons of Michigan's economic turmoil as of late. But Norton Shores native Amanda Shunta never had plans to leave West Michigan; instead she's making plans to improve it. As the Vice President of West Michigan Jobs Group, Amanda has fought to increase employment opportunities in the Muskegon area, and it appears that her efforts are paying off. Amanda helped to begin the group in 2010 when developers were looking to build an offshore wind farm in a neighboring community. The plans never did pan out, but Muskegon residents… Read more...

All About the Attitude

Thursday, 02 February 2012 13:46
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it's a buyer's market, thus is the daily livelihood of Katie Karczewski. As a wife, mother, business owner, volunteer, survivor and friend, Katie K. embodies optimism and change similar to the city she has called home for 31 years. Business is booming for Katie, who was one of six investors that helped open the Grand Rapids Keller Williams Realty franchise in 2000. Now, with 155 agents in the its Grand Rapids location, the business is number one in closed volume through the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors, and Katie is thrilled.… Read more...