2017 Seeds of Growth Award Winner Videos

Julie Lankes, Lee Ann Moss Service Award Winner
Volunteer of The Year

Floriza Genautis, Management Business Solutions, Business of The Year

Shannon Cohen, Leadership Award Winner

Jack Keller, GROW Board Member, Partner of the Year Award

2016 Seeds of GROWth Award Winners:

Kay Staszel, Lee Ann Moss Service Award Winner

Jessica Ann Tyson, 2016 GROW Leadership Award Winner:

Michele Venegas, Joyful Sounds Music Studio
2016 GROW Business of the Year Award Winner

Special thanks to our keynote Speaker: Gwen Jimmere



This year’s event featured keynote speaker Gwen Jimmere, founder and CEO of Naturalicious. Jimmere is the first black woman to hold a patent for a natural hair care product, as well as the winner of the 2014 Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition, and one of Hello Beautiful’s 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurial Mavens.

As the founder and CEO of Naturalicious, Jimmere has grown her beauty industry start-up into one of the fastest growing hair care companies in the United States. Recently named by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the top beauty brands in the United States, the line is sold in select Whole Foods stores, all Mustard Seed Market locations, and other fine retailers and boutiques.

Jimmere also co-owns Pitch Proof, where she coaches and trains small business owners on how to prepare for, enter, and win business pitch competitions, as well as how to successfully attract equity investment opportunities. Additionally, she consults with entrepreneurs on business strategy, marketing, advertising, and distribution.

Prior to beginning Naturalicious, Jimmere held the position of global digital marketing manager at Ford Motor Company, overseeing and executing its digital marketing strategy. Later, she went to work for Uniworld, one of the world’s largest multicultural advertising firms, where she spearheaded digital strategies for clients including Ford, Home Depot, Marriott Hotels, and many more.

2015 Seeds of GROWth Award Winners

Latesha Lipscomb, 2015 Leadership Award Winner

Latesha Lipscomb is a Grand Rapids native who has a passion for working hard to better the lives of the underprivileged in a city’s urban core. She is the second oldest of 6 children and the first of the bunch to receive a formal education. She is a graduate of Boston College where she majored in Political Science with a Focus Study in Faith, Peace & Justice. Falling in love with the Jesuit ideal of service to mankind, she travelled to the Cape Verde islands off the West Coast of Africa with the American Red Cross to rebuild a housing facility for both nursing home patients and children who were in Foster Care. She also managed to complete a dual course of study at Yale University as Junior Statesmen of America delegate in American Government and Public Speaking during this time. After completing her undergraduate studies she went on to become a Thurgood Marshall Scholar for the National Council on Legal Education and ultimately a graduate of Boston College Law School in 2005. After a tumultuous legal career in the private sector at large law-firms in Chicago, Latesha took a huge leap of faith and moved back to her hometown. Read More…


Gricelda Mata, 2015 Business of the Year Award Winner

Owner, Lindo Mexico Restaurant

Gricelda Mata is the owner of Lindo Mexico Restaurant in Wyoming, a family owned business that is celebrating fifteen years in 2015.

Originally from Mexico, Mata is the second oldest of seven, all six siblings brothers. Like many immigrant families, father Cristo, left Mexico for the United States to do what he felt was necessary to best provide for our family. It was during this time that Mata learned the importance of hard work and leadership at an early age, helping her oldest brother care for their five youngest siblings. At times this meant having to work in the fields in her native Michoacan to contribute to the family financially.  Read More…


Jennifer Deamud, Lee Ann Moss Service Award
2015 Volunteer of the Year

Jennifer Deamud is a results-orientated leader with broad communications and management experience, encompassing strategic communications, brand development and program implementation. She has the passion and skill set to look outside of the box for innovative solutions to solve problems. Jennifer strives to provide a culture where everyone on the team is empowered to maximize their potential.

In Jennifer’s current role as Associate State Director of the Small Business Development Center she is responsible for operations, overseeing the accreditation process, proposal writing, and overseeing statewide communication strategies.  Read More…


2014 Seeds of Growth Award Winners


Bridgett Tubbs-Carlon | 2014 Business of The Year

Deidre McClelland

Rachel Erkel

2013 Seeds of Growth Award Winners