The West Michigan Woman Story
As told by Serendipity President and Publisher, Kasie Smith:
West Michigan Woman's story can’t be told without going back to when we opened the doors of Serendipity Media in August 2002.
We were a full-service magazine publishing company with deep roots in the tour and travel sector, specifically in the group and student travel space. Because of this, we started working with associations and rapidly grew. This also meant all of our work wasn’t exclusively done here in West Michigan; I was hopping on a plane and going to where all of our contacts and relationships were. It worked great for Serendipity at the time and helped us evolve, grow and get to where we wanted to go.
In 2008, I took a big personal leap of faith by getting married and ended up having my twin sons, Jackson and Spencer, in 2009. During that period of time, I really had no local connections because so many of my friends and colleagues were all over the country.
It got me thinking: I can't be the only professional woman who's having children later in their professional career and looking for resources and connections.
Whether it’s finding the story of someone who is in the same circumstance as myself or insight into topics that would assist my professional growth, I knew there had to be something out there. To my surprise, at the time, there really wasn’t.
One day, I brought the idea of West Michigan Woman to the rest of the Serendipity team, and they latched onto it immediately. We spent a few months working on the nuts and bolts, creating content and getting the website all ready to go. We decided to aim for January 2012 to launch our website and see if the content would resonate with our target audience. As part of this effort, we planned to have three mini-launch parties—one at the office in Grand Rapids, an event in Muskegon and one in Holland. Through word of mouth, the message spread and friends invited their networks to come out and learn about what we were doing. We had 11,000 page views within the first three weeks! It was then I realized we were really onto something.
We continued to send the enewsletter out and momentum continued to build, leading us to launch the first print edition of West Michigan Woman in August of 2012. We took nominations for who should be our first cover and unveiled it at our launch party on August 5, 2012. Why? Because August 5 was the exact day Serendipity opened its doors in 2002.
Since its inception, I’m proud that West Michigan Woman has been able to foster a community of professional women and like-minded people, in addition to creating an authentic space for connection. Whether that's someone reading an article and relating to someone else’s story or attending one of our events and meeting someone new, West Michigan Woman allows professional women to stay connected to their community and support other women in their endeavors. Without a doubt, this community we've created is at the core of everything we do.
The goal of West Michigan Woman has been and always will be to inspire and connect, even as our audience continues to grow. We’re passionate about equipping women with the tools, resources and connections needed to whatever it is they aspire to do. And ultimately, it's also about having a little fun! Those working in our office who bring these pages and events to life are just like you. They care about the same things you do, eat at the same restaurants, travel to the same destinations, walk the same streets. It’s truly an authentic publication for local women, by local women.
Today, I’m inspired by the stories of resiliency and progress taking place in our community. Perhaps even more astounding is that the stories never run out. I’m constantly amazed at how women in West Michigan are influencing our community in such a positive way. We’re honored to share in all the greatness happening daily right here in our own backyard, and we’d be honored to welcome you to our community.