Victoria didn’t just change the Grand Rapids area with articles, inspiration, news, and events for women – she changed it throughout the state.


Victoria Upton, founder of Women’s Lifestyle Magazine and fierce supporter of countless Grand Rapids organizations recently passed away from brain cancer. One of our proudest success stories and dear friends, we’re honored to feature Victoria and highlight some of her many accomplishments.

When Victoria connected with GROW nearly 19 years ago, she couldn’t have told you how successful she’d grow to be. She had an idea and through her tenacity and persistence, and support of our organization, she was able to leave a lasting legacy with her publication. In fact, Women’s Lifestyle is syndicated in Kalamazoo and Lansing as well. Victoria didn’t just change the Grand Rapids area with articles, inspiration, news, and events for women – she changed it throughout the state.

A few years ago, when we asked her about her relationship with GROW, Victoria said, “When I went through the GROW program… that was pre-internet, pre-cellphones, pre-technology. 18 years ago, I started my business and it still exists today. It’s flourishing, and I think that’s a testament to the timelessness of the lessons and opportunities that GROW has offered to me.”

Her first experience with GROW was a program called “Mind Your Own Business.” As many of our long-term clients know, the MYOB program was a 12-week program that encompassed all aspects of starting and creating a business. It covered sessions that are now broken up into smaller clusters around one topic, rather than the 12-week commitment. This was a big time investment for many entrepreneurs we worked with in the beginning – so we’ve created programs and workshops to be more accessible, held more often, and more affordable.

We are forever grateful for the support and coverage Victoria and her team provided for our programs and our events. Many of our annual events were captured beautifully by Victoria and Two Eagles Marcus and shared through Women’s Lifestyle’s social media channels and website. She shared the same passion and momentum with countless other organizations through Grand Rapids – and always promoting and empowering women through personal support, advice, connections and sharing stories through her magazine.

Women’s Lifestyle Magazine recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary, with Victoria on the cover. And while we are deeply saddened by the loss of such a wonderful female leader in the Grand Rapids community, we are comforted to know that her legacy will live on through her beloved publication, her lively spirit, her beloved family and countless community members she touched.

To experience Victoria’s work for yourself, be sure to visit her entry in this year’s ArtPrize, the Biblical Garden. Stay connected to Women’s Lifestyle online or in print and do something to celebrate and promote women leaders in your life.