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Stories to inspire you.

The first painting Michele Gort and her husband of 31 years bought as a couple was a signed Tulip Time poster. When it happened, she never thought that one day, her signature might be branded on the festival's poster.

Stacy Stout began her career in higher education and moved into community-based nonprofit work, public schools and philanthropy. Today, she serves as Assistant to the Grand Rapids City Manager, working to address structural racism and advising on authentic neighborhood engagement. She is also the recipient of the 2016 ATHENA Young Professional Award.

Zoe Bruyn's younger cousin Wyatt has Down syndrome. As a child, he's fun, engaging and likes to bake, saying, "stir it up, stir it up." As an adult, research shows he'll be an important asset to a business or company by being one of the most loyal employees an employer could ask for. Wyatt, however, will struggle to find employment.

If all entrepreneurial success stories share certain similarities, Maggie Feil's story has them in spades. Bravery, risk-taking, making a dream come true? Check. A tough first year followed by exponential growth and eventual success? Check. Incredibly supportive family, friends, and employees? Check. And to make it a bit more of a fairy tale, her business happens to be a bridal shop: Renee Austin Wedding. What could be more romantic?

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