Street Talk: Young professionals bring out the best in Athena


The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has revealed the 10 finalists for the Athena Young Professional Award, which will be announced Thursday. The award recognizes an emerging leader for his or her contributions to community, professional excellence, and commitment to serve as a personal and professional role model to young women.

“The Athena Young Professional nominees have all been instrumental in creating a vibrant and attractive culture in West Michigan,” said Mindy Ysasi of Herman Miller, the 2012 recipient. “Their experiences and passions are reflective of the opportunities that exist in the region.”

This year’s finalists include:

Lindsay Anes, Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.

Linsey Aten, Varnum LLP

Kim Bode, 834 Design & Marketing

Bridget Clark Whitney, Kids' Food Basket

Maria Erazo, Farmers Insurance Agency

Iracema Garcia, PNC Bank

Kelly LeCoy, Uptown Kitchen

Jenny Luth, Clark Communications

Megan Sall, The Right Place Inc.

Adrienne Wallace, 834 Design & Marketing

“These … nominees reflect entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, strong commitment and engagement in the community, and they all embrace the Athena tenets of leadership,” said Jacqueline Taylor of Pondera Advisors LLC, a member of the award selection committee. “We recognize them for the leadership they are already providing, and feel that they are the young leaders of today who will frame and forge the vision for tomorrow.”

GRACC’s Athena program is the first in the country to establish a scholarship, having given to date more than $40,000 in college funding specifically for women over the age of 30. A portion of every Athena sponsorship funds the scholarships, in addition to annual fundraising by the chamber.  

The Athena Young Professional winner will be revealed during the luncheon and awards celebration that begins at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Amway Grand Plaza. All nominees will be honored, as will this year’s Athena Award recipient Jeanne Englehart, vice president of client management at The Charter Group. Carole Valade, editor of the Grand Rapids Business Journal, earned the Athena Award in 2012.

Over — and out!

We couldn’t resist sharing this email from Sharon Evoy, leader of the (former) Downtown Alliance and longtime friend and supporter of the Business Journal — and just an all-around good person.

“Good morning. This is my last day — really, the Downtown Alliance’s last day — and what better way to go out than with a top 10 list. But time is limited, so I have to settle for a top 5 and a half list.”

She goes on to say why people should not email her at anymore.

“I’m not here! Nicole’s not here! No one will answer you! Your email will go into the giant email trashcan in the sky. If you want to email me/Sharon, use s.evoy at comcast dot net. If you want information on fabulous downtown GR, contact the DDA at 456-3034, or visit

“Due to some computer virus, which I don’t totally understand, any emails sent to Sharon at downtowngr dot org will result in horrific computer damage. No, not the blue screen of death, but something much, much worse: Your computer will continuously play videos of Miley Cyrus dancing at the VMA awards! Be afraid. Be very afraid.

“Any emails sent to this address will be forwarded directly to a down-on-his-luck prince from a third world country. He’s trying to get his vast riches to America, and he only needs your bank accounts and Social Security number, for which he is willing to pay a generous fee.

“On Nov. 2, the DDA will put the big movie screen in your driveway — at no charge — to show the Michigan vs. MSU game, and fans will come from all over to tailgate on your lawn! The carnage, the carnage …

“There’s a rumor that the Downtown Alliance office is being taken over for a new reality show “John and Kate Plus 8 Get a Job.” Take the original show and throw in a divorce and preteen acne. You don’t want them to have your email address, do you? 

“Because I said so. Yes, that doesn’t work at home either, which is why it only rates half a point.

“Oh, just one more. Any email to this address will automatically become a binding pledge to contribute to the costs of building a visitors booth in front of McKay Tower. …

“C’mon, admit it. You’re going to miss me. You’re thinking it right now, aren’t you?

“Three cheers for downtown GR! Stay involved! I love you guys! Don’t go changing …”

Road warrior

The 2005 independent New Zealand film “The World’s Fastest Indian,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Diane Ladd, details the life story of Burt Munro and his quest to set the land-speed world record. It struck a chord with many viewers and earned numerous awards.

Smokin’ Joe’s Motorsports in Caledonia is hoping some of that magic reaches West Michigan in the form of Indian motorcycles. 

The first public reveal of the three new Indian Chief models took place Aug. 3 during the 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

As the Indian Motorcycle company makes its comeback and reignites its long-standing rivalry with Harley-Davidson, the company is expanding its dealer network across America. One of the first new Indian dealerships will open in Caledonia. As a part of its introduction to the local market, the new dealership, Indian Motorcycle of Grand Rapids, will host a “demo day” celebration from noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.

As a part of the event, the all-new Indian models will be on hand and available for qualified riders to see, touch, explore and test drive. Too bad the Salt Flats are in Utah.


Some businesses hand out coupons. Others run ads in the local paper. Revel does things a bit differently. It gives away tattoos.

The Muskegon and Grand Rapids marketing agency will partner with The Orphanage tattoo parlor in downtown Muskegon to give away free tattoos of the Revel name or logo to anyone of age. The Orphanage will complete the art and Revel will pay the bill as long as it complies with company brand standards.

“The Revel logo gives our employees a chance to show what they revel in,” partner Andy Maciejewski said. “From sushi to comic books to baseball, our team revels in many different things, and our business card logos change to show it. The smiley (symbol) is key to Revel’s corporate brand. It sets our tone as a company, which carries throughout all of our work.”

Already working on a tattoo collection? Maciejewski said Revel would be happy to become part of the ensemble. First timer? Keep it simple and go with the smiley, he said. To get a real tattoo, call Revel at (231) 727-9778 and mention the promotion. “Come downtown, stay a while, and walk away with a free tattoo!” Maciejewski said.

Those with a fear of commitment can try a temporary tattoo and show their Revel allegiance — minus the ink. The temps are available in the marketing agency’s Muskegon office.

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