I had the opportunity to attend the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan awards. There were over 800 people there celebrating women that are making a difference in West Michigan. Sonia Manzano, Maria from Sesame Street, was the keynote speaker. Ms. Monzano was inspirational while speaking about how she ended up where she did and why it made a difference. Our city amazes me with its ability to recreate itself. When I was younger, downtown Grand Rapids was somewhere you rarely went. Herpolsheimer’s department store was one of the only reasons to go downtown. Here we are in 2016 and you can see the drastic changes that have helped our city end up on so many lists of “great places to live” lately. Listening to the honorees and hearing their words of encouragement and motivation was doubly enjoyable as my daughter was there with me. She had the opportunity to speak with several women at our table that are doing research which will eventually impact us all. The Grand Rapids Business Journal held the event and recognized the women that are instrumental in making Grand Rapids the great city it is to live and work. I am thankful to be a part of a community that values its citizens, celebrates the good, and focuses on making lives better through both words and deeds. We are proud to be a part of the Grand Rapids community. It was a terrific event, that in many cases, showed the entrepreneurial spirit of our city and the benefit of a positive, can-do attitude.