2016 Seeds of Growth Winners

Our CEO Bonnie Nawara kicked off the 2016 Seeds of Growth Awards Luncheon & Fundraiser by welcoming attendees and explaining a little about what our organization does for Grand Rapids women business owners. The energetic and hilarious Judge Sara Smolenski – the afternoon’s emcee – took the stage next, jumping right into the awards.

Left to Right: Michele Venegas, Kay Stasel, Jessica Ann Tyson

Award Winners

Kay Staszel, Lee Ann Moss Volunteer of the Year

The recipient of the Lee Ann Moss Volunteer of the Year Award was Kay Staszel, who is the principal of KMS Group, LLC. Staszel has spent her career helping companies make their mark in various industries. She relies on her expertise in small business, HR administration, sales management and board leadership to help these companies succeed. Watch her video

Jessica Ann Tyson, Leadership Award

Our GROW Leadership Award went out to Jessica Ann Tyson, owner of the JA PR Group. Through her entrepreneurial efforts, Tyson has provided more than $70,000 in school scholarships to high school and college students. Recently, Tyson opened The Candied Yam – Delight Southern Cuisine with Jermone Glenn. Watch her video

Michelle Venegas, Joyful Sounds Music Studio, Business of the Year

The GROW Business of the Year Award went to Michele Venegas, the owner of Joyful Sounds Music Studio, where she also directs and teaches. The studio focuses on classes and music instruction for children in Grand Rapids and Venegas currently holds 16 classes per week. Founded in 2008, Joyful sounds Music Studio will be getting a second location and three new teachers in January. Watch her video


Gwen Jimmere, Keynote

bonnie-gwen-jimmere-2016-seedsShortly after the awards were handed out, keynote speaker Gwen Jimmere took to the stage. Jimmere is the CEO and founder of Naturalicious and the first African American woman to hold a patent for a natural hair product. She went from making her Naturalicious products in her home to having them sold internationally and on the shelves of retailers like Whole Foods. Jimmere talked about the hustle needed for all business owners and how to squash that crippling self-doubt that creeps in.

After the keynote speech, two GROW business owners were featured: Mallory Root of Roots Brew Shop and Faye Richardson-Green of Richardson-Green consulting. The audience heard both Root’s and Richardson-Green’s stories and how GROW helped them get their businesses off the ground and running.

The afternoon was closed out with remarks by Dr. Jackie Taylor, while everyone left feeling inspired and invigorated. A huge thank you goes out to our sponsors and everyone who made this event possible.

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