Nawara named CEO of GROW

September 17, 2010
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Bonnie Nawara, a Grand Rapids native and former Planned Giving Director for the American Cancer Society (ACS), has been named CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women by the organization’s board of directors.

“I am so thrilled with the opportunity to lead an organization that has had such a high degree of success helping women to succeed in developing their own businesses,” Nawara said in a news release. “As a former business owner myself, I fully understand the complexities of the business world and the difficulties a women can encounter in start-up. My goal is to help more women, including those professional businesswomen and managers who have been laid off during the current economic downturn, develop new opportunities for themselves.”

Carleen Crawford, chair of GROW’s board of directors, said the board selected Nawara from a "large field of qualified candidates" and was particularly impressed with her entrepreneurial, leadership, administrative, collaborative and philanthropic skills.

“Bonnie has the experience to lead all aspects of the organization in a manner that will provide vision to staff and stakeholders, improve the effectiveness of operations and raise awareness of the organization in the community,” Crawford said.

Most recently, Nawara served since 2004 as director of estate and asset Sservices for ACS, where she was the top fundraiser in total dollars raised in the ACS Great Lakes region for the past five years.

Previously, she began a profitable printing business, Sir Speedy Printing Center in Grand Rapids, which she operated as owner and CEO from 1987-2003, and she was parts department manager for Freightliner of Grand Rapids from 1981-87.

Nawara is involved in several community organizations, currently serving as a board member of the Golden K Kiwanis Club and the West Michigan Planned Giving Group. She is a member of the West Michigan Estate Planning Council, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, the Greater Lansing Estate Planning Council and Toastmasters. She also has been active in the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, United Way, the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, Quota International, and the Michigan Women’s Foundation.

Founded in 1989 as a non-profit economic development organization, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women provides all promising entrepreneurs, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, gender, age or education, with opportunities to develop the skills and acquire the knowledge they need to achieve economic independence through self-employment, primarily in the form of small business start-ups. GROW is one of 110 designated Women Business Centers in the United States and one of three in Michigan; the other two are in Ann Arbor and Benton Harbor.

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