Allie Miller outside of Well Design Studio Grand Rapids Michigan

Allie Takes Cross-Country Road to West Michigan

I fell in love with Grand Rapids quickly after visiting my husband’s family for holidays and weddings during our dating years. Every time we flew back to GR, I was amazed by the new pockets of the city developing or the trendy restaurants and bars popping up left and right. Although I loved my job working at Lyft as a Strategy Lead, we wanted to escape the overpopulated and expensive living in San Francisco. We debated where to put down roots for a while but Grand Rapids was always the clear choice. The only roadblock: Michigan winters. Growing up in San Diego and living most of my adult life in California, the idea of living in snow was completely foreign to me — I could actually count on one hand the number of times I had seen it. What I found is that West Michigan didn’t have blizzards every day (a common misconception for Californians) and there were so many great opportunities to get out and explore this vibrant city.

We finally decided to make the move to Grand Rapids from California 3 years ago after accepting a job as a Marketing Manager at a local tech company, Tech Defenders. The company was a Chamber member so I was able to quickly get plugged into the community by attending various events. I was pleasantly surprised to find how welcoming the members of the community were and how easy it was to get connected. The passion and care for West Michigan that residents have is unmatched to any place I’ve lived. I am inspired by the innovative ideas members have to serve the community and the growth we’ve seen because of it. 

Josh Leffingwell and Tyler Doornbos, partners at Well Design Studio (a local design and marketing firm), were some of the first people I met when I moved to Grand Rapids. I was amazed at Well Design’s contributions to the community and how they tackle impactful and innovative projects such as GR Votes, a collaborative campaign with the City of Grand Rapids to boost voter turnout. As a former client of Well Design and a true fan of their work over the years, it was an easy choice to join the team as an Account and Marketing Manager. 

On top of the career opportunities I’ve gained and the joys of living in an electrifying city, I am also grateful for the ability to buy a home and start a family – my son just turned a year old a few months ago. I haven’t had the chance to take him to many of the wonderful attractions that Grand Rapids has to offer due to Covid, but there is no doubt this is a place where families can thrive. 

There are a million and one things to say about West Michigan but I will leave it at this: I’ve won the jackpot finding this gem of a place and I am so proud to call it home.

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