Bonnie Nawara, CEO
Bonnie ran a successful business for over 20 years, and she also spent six years in the area of non-profit fund development. Bonnie has been with GROW since September 2010. As CEO, Bonnie is responsible for overseeing all GROW operations including community involvement and outreach, business coaching and consulting, programming, funding for microlending and other financial programs, and much more.
Bonnie is also a board member of the Association of Women Business Centers (AWBC). GROW is one of just over 100 Women’s Business Centers in the country, and one of only three in Michigan. She represents GROW throughout the West Michigan community and beyond.
Kelli Smith, Director of Lending
Kelli comes to us from the Ludington area where she owned and operated her own business successfully for more than a decade. She has over 20 years of experience in business operations and client services as well as cost control strategies and finance. Kelli has been a long-time advisor for youth services, coordinating internships and mentoring both high school and college students. Her commitment to community development has led her to serve on the board of directors at Safe Harbor Credit Union, West Shore Community College and Memorial Medical Center Benefit Committee.
As an experienced entrepreneur, Kelli’s focus at GROW is to provide business services for loan clients. She works closely with each client to cultivate relationships and ensure their current and future business success as well as assisting them through the microloan process.
Karen Benson, Business Development Officer, West Michigan Lakeshore
Karen is originally from the Detroit area and has been in West Michigan since 1985. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Cornerstone University.
Karen has extensive experience in business and economic development with businesses and organizations in West Michigan including ONU Graduate Studies/Campus in Grand Rapids, The Right Place, Muskegon Area First, Grand Haven Bank, The Chamber: Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg and NEIDEC.
Past certifications include Certified Economic Development Professional and Certified Small Business Development Counselor. Her experience includes grant writing, small business counseling for the SBDC network and SBA 504 Loan Portfolio management for 16+ years. She thrives on developing strategic partnerships, collaborating and facilitating conversations and projects among regional partners, and connecting people and organizations to key resources, which will be extremely beneficial to GROW clients on the lakeshore and beyond.
Marvin Martin, Business Development Officer
As an experienced business professional, Marvin Martin has worked with businesses providing resources and training for over 22 years, in nonprofits and the private sector. Providing technical support to businesses to help them develop award-winning programs and services. He has specialized in customer service, sales, and operations. A Ferris State University graduate with a degree in Social Work, with a minor in psychology, he is also a member of the workforce development professionals, and an award recipient of excellence in customer service while employed in the international division at Herman Miller Inc. He has consulted with large and small businesses over the course of his career, which makes him an ideal navigator and resource for individuals in the idea stage of starting a business. He has a passion for service and is well suited to help businesses be successful.
Margaret Billingsley, Loan Coordinator
Margaret has over 25 years experience in the area of business and economic development, finance and marketing. She has worked with businesses of all sizes to start and grow their enterprises. She has been instrumental in funding business operations as well as residential and commercial development projects. Her passion is working with small businesses.
Amy Deel, Operations Manager
Amy is originally from the Flint area and fell in love with Grand Rapids, which she has called home for the past 19 years.
She has just over 16 years of experience in the non-profit sector and 8 years of experience working closely with West Michigan businesses through her work with Local First West Michigan. It was there that she worked in many facets of the non-profit as Membership Coordinator, Fund Development Director and finally as Operations Manager. She is passionate about economic development and knows how deeply businesses can impact a community.
With her experience in operations and non-profit work, Amy will focus on helping things run smoothly for staff and clients alike.
Rosie Orchanian, Program and Volunteer Coordinator
Rosie grew up in the Kalamazoo area and always knew she would call West Michigan home. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Western Michigan University.
She has experience working in the non-profit sector as well as in higher education management. Rosie is dedicated to furthering the mission of GROW with exceptional programming as well as the cultivation of stellar volunteers. She is passionate about connecting people with the right resources when they need them the most.
When she is not at work or studying, you can find Rosie spending time with her family and friends, working on a house project, arranging flower bouquets or traveling.
Nikita Miner, Office Administrator
Our Office Administrator, Nikita, hails from Ypsilanti, MI home of the EMU Eagles. In 2011, she moved to Grand Rapids to continue her education at Calvin University (formerly Calvin College).
Upon graduating from Calvin University in December 2019 with a Major in Social Work and a minor in English Literature, Nikita accepted an offer to work for GROW, one of her favorite nonprofits as a student.
When she’s off the clock, Nikita loves watching South Korean variety shows, studies Spanish, and cares for her young cat Wallace. Although she has many, many, many interests, Nikita hopes to study public interest law at the University of Michigan in the future.”