Bonnie Nawara grows Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women



Editor’s note: Each issue of the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a profile of one of the Business Journal’s reigning 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan. The profile first appeared in the event program. 

Bonnie Nawara demonstrates unflinching determination to make certain that GROW grows. As CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, Nawara has identified key components that will move it forward in serving women entrepreneurs. The services Nawara has in mind will provide business strategies that determine sustainable success.

Under Nawara’s tutelage, she has revamped GROW’s core start-up programs, strengthened its second-stage services with the inclusion and growth of the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, and placed procedures around success measurements for accountability to GROW’s funders and community members. She manages a $400,000 budget and a staff of four.

Nawara has walked in entrepreneurs’ shoes. She was the small business owner of a Sir Speedy Printing Center, which required her to create a business plan, indentify a location, purchase equipment, set up operations, hire employees, establish accounting and financial controls, cultivate clients and profitably operate the business on a daily basis for 16 years.

She later served for six years as director of estate and assets services for the American Cancer Society, a role that was vital to developing a loyal and diverse donor base.

Nawara currently serves on the Economic Club of Grand Rapids’ membership committee and previously served on the boards of the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, West Michigan Estate Planning Council, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Roundtable, Kent County Silent Observer, Golden K. Kiwanis Club, Quota International, West Michigan Estate Planning Council and National Day of Philanthropy.

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