Joie Cheng, M.S.W., The Queen of Transformational Book Publishing, is passionate about helping people write and publish their books so they can make the income and impact they desire and deserve. She believes that when we share our stories we heal ourselves and we heal the world.
Joie is a Patrick Snow certified publishing coach, international best-selling author, TEDx and professional keynote speaker, mentor, healer, circle facilitator, and a trained yoga teacher. She is the best-selling author of The Naked Truth: A Woman’s Journey to Self-Love about her personal journey of healing herself naturally from deep depression and suicidal thoughts through self-love.
Joie is a featured author in the #1 international best-selling book Being Unapologetic by Davide DiGiorgio and will be featured in the upcoming book series Success is all B.S., Selling More is all B.S., and Excellent Leadership is all B.S. by Stephen De La Cruz.
She is the host of the podcast The Naked Truth Movement where she interviews guests who are willing to share inspiring stories and be vulnerable so less people feel alone. She has also been interviewed on over 30 podcasts including Conscious Millionaire with millions of listeners all over the world.
Born in the beautiful country of Ghana, located in West Africa, Rhoda studied at GVSU, where she pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems and Business.
Rhoda is the founder and CEO of Delasie, a fashion brand that not only illustrates the beauty of her rich Ghanaian roots, but conveys a message of positivity and meaning through the careful selection of the fabrics chosen in each collection. In addition to fashion design, Delasie serves a tech platform for other local businesses to sell products through. Her passion was born out of a difficult transition from Ghana to the United States as a young immigrant - where struggled to fit into a new environment, culture, educational system and also find her identity. Unfortunately, this led to a path of depression in high school; in this battle, Rhoda found light through designing and sewing clothes. In other words, Fashion (creating and executing designs) became her coping mechanism. With Delasie in hand, Rhoda has become a voice and fierce advocate for reducing the stigma around the use of mental health services.
Dr. Szymon Machajewski is a gamification sherpa, a codewright, and a digital world educator. With 19 years of experience in technology industry, his work with open source initiatives was recognized by the 2011 Blackboard Catalyst Innovative Development Award for Outstanding Developer Contributions. The 2013 Armen Award recognized his work in supervising a team of students in mobile app development of a service learning project. He was also recognized with the Raider Award in 2010 for cooperation and collegiality. In 2016, he earned the Most Inclusive Classroom award. In 2014 and 2017 he earned the Exemplary Course Award for Instructional Design. In 2018 he won the Kroner Cup in a coding hackathon based on Amazon AI & Blackboard API. He also holds a U.S. patent in e-learning technology. Dr. Machajewski started teaching in 2003.
Diana R. Sieger is the President of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, a position she has held for more than 30 years. Under her leadership, the assets have grown from $35M to $350M. She is an effective community, statewide and national leader in community problem solving, policy development and around a variety of philanthropic issues.
Some of her professional and community activities include:
Board of the Office of Foundation Liaison, Governor’s Office
Board, Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority
Board and Executive Committee of the Kent County Family and Children’s Coordinating Council
Numerous committees and projects with the City of Grand Rapids, County of Kent, State of Michigan and across the country
In her career that has spanned more than 45 years, Diana has received two honorary degrees – Doctor of Humane Letters from Aquinas College and Grand Valley State University. Some other honors include 2014 Athena Award and named one of Crain’s Detroit 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan. She earned a Masters of Social Work degree from Western Michigan University with a concentration in Policy, Planning, and Administration.
John Smutny is a Senior Electrical Engineering student at Grand Valley State University, who has grown beyond his wildest dreams in the last five years. The youngest of four siblings, John grew up in Saline, Mi where he graduated from the local public school as an All-State athlete and member of the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group.
Throughout his undergrad, John has had many opportunities of self-discovery. Living life as a scholarship colligate football player, resident assistant, member of Grand Valley’s Quidditch club sports team, and engineering intern for Nissan Motors and the Annis Water Research Institute.
A nerd at heart, John enjoys exercising (especially team sports such as soccer and Quidditch), listening to NPR, playing board games, cooking and learning new skills. Currently, he is learning to communicate in Morse Code.
John’s year as a Resident Assistant has been the most fulfilling while in college. During that time, he mentored freshmen in his community while providing opportunities to expand their thinking. Topics included “The Importance of Voting” and “Addressing Islamophobia” (partnership with the Muslim Student Association and Islamic Center of Grand Rapids).
Sally Triant founded Grow Wise Learning in 2014 to develop a seasonal curriculum for all ages and to serve as a resource within the community. Her education and experience span the Fine Arts and the Sciences bound by the common thread of teaching. Her goal is to help individuals, children, and especially families find their way back to the natural world; while in turn discovering more about themselves and their their local environment by developing a keen seasonal awareness. She has learned that from the cultivated field to the wilds of the forest there is always wonder, inspiration, wisdom, and fellowship to be found.
As a Grandville High School English teacher, Jen Ward strives to create inquiry-driven opportunities with her students at the center of their learning. Her connections as a TED-Ed Innovative Educator, a National Writing Project consultant, a certified FlipGrid educator, and Google Innovative Educator help her push her classroom thinking and practice forward. And when not in front of a class or a computer, Jen's either in front of her sewing machine or got a glue gun in hand, ready to craft whatever her two little boys can imagine. A born DIYer, Jen jumps into ideas, excited by possibilities.