2020 40 Under 40 award recipient: CJ DeVries

CJ DeVries Courtesy 616 Media

CJ DeVries, 35

GRNow/Innovative Social Exchange MKTG

CJ DeVries said it is her mission to make Grand Rapids known for its diversity in all aspects — age, race and religion.

She is accomplishing her mission because, for the past few years, she has been using her business, GRNow, to market what is happening in Grand Rapids.

GRNow is a guide that keeps people informed about restaurants, events and entertainment such as ArtPrize, LaughFest, Celebration on the Grand, Festival of the Arts and Taste of Grand Rapids.

DeVries also has worked on projects with Social Charity Club, She Rides Her Own Way, advocated for charities like Crash’s Landing and United Way, promoted events through GRNow and partnered with Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses.

With Innovative Social Exchange MKTG, a company DeVries has had since she was 22, she works on maintaining social media for clients, plans social media strategy and implementation, media placement and buying, and blog and content creation, among other things.

“Even though I am a transplant to GR I have never had this much love for a place,” she said. “The love I have for this city borders on, let’s just say, healthy obsession. I want to try every restaurant, attend every event, meet every person, help make each event a success, and really mold GR into a place of understanding, acceptance and inclusivity for everyone. I believe we all have a place at the table and it is my job to help others — no matter their age, skin color, or how they identify — find their place and really, I mean really, understand that they are wanted and needed to make this community a great place to live.”

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