GROW Honors Award Winners at Annual Luncheon


Grand Rapids, MI – Each year, GROW recognizes area business leaders and supporters who exemplify the work of the organization. This includes a Business of the Year Award, a Leadership Award, Partner Award and the Lee Ann Moss Service Award, named for GROW’s founder.

There are over 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating over $1.4 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.9 million people. Locally, last year alone, GROW helped start 62 new businesses, created 92 new jobs, delivered 1,166 hours of business training, provided 615 hours of one-on-one business mentorship and loaned 350,000 dollars to help entrepreneurs start or grow their business.

The winners of the 2018 Seeds of Growth Awards are:

Robin Barrett, Macatawa Bank
Lee Ann Moss Service Award, Volunteer of the Year

Robin has shared many hours supporting GROW clients, mentoring women business owners and helping them understand their business finances and financial literacy.

Zena Patillo, Training Paradigms, LLC
Leadership Award

Zena works tirelessly in the community to motivate diverse workforces to excellence. She uses her experience, education, energy, and passion for diversity, to increase understanding of core organizational values and their personal interest in growth and adaptability.

Tara VanWagoner, Founder and owner of Cone Appetit
Business of the Year Award

Tara started her business creating craft ice creams in unique flavors and uses a portion of the profits to fight human trafficking.

Meg Lehigh, HR Collaborative and GROW Board Member
Grow Partner Award

Meg has served on the board for 3 years, she’s the incoming board president, active in the strategic planning and communications committees, as well as a facilitator for GROWʼs business strategy classes.


View our award winners videos here


About GROW: Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) is an organization focused on women and men at various stages of business ownership. They are the entrepreneurial resource throughout West Michigan to help entrepreneurs take the next step, empowering and supporting them with professional expertise for a lifetime.  More than half of those GROW serves are low to moderate income individuals who want to start or build their business.  GROW is one of only 110 certified Women’s Business Centers in the nation, and one of three in Michigan, all in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.