Our Culture & History
834 Design & Marketing is named in honor of the first home 834 Boss Lady, Kim Bode, has ever owned. Through tenacious determination and unparalleled energy, she’s spent the last decade building a full service, yet nimble firm with a stellar line-up of professionals. Along the way, 834 has also demonstrated a commitment to the next generation of public relations and marketing professionals with a robust intern program. Today, the agency has over 40 years of combined expertise delivering exceptional marketing communications. Located in the historic Grand Rapids Furniture Building nestled on the city’s flourishing Westside, the 834 office is decorated to reflect our beginnings with comfortable and inviting surroundings and the occasional four-legged friend greeting guests at the door.
Kim Bode – Boss Lady, Sassy Entrepreneur, Parade Marshall of 834 & Caffeine Pusher
Kim Bode is the Principal of 834, an award-winning Communication Strategy, Event Planning, Social Media, Media Relations and Design firm located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was borne from Kim’s passion for communications and over a decade of experience in strategic planning, marketing communications, public relations, event planning, and community outreach.
A graduate of Grand Valley State University, Bode received her degree in communications and then began working as the Director of Marketing for the GVSU-affiliated start-up, the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative.
Bode is a two-time Grand Rapids Business Journal “Forty under 40” nominee and was profiled as one of Grand Rapids Magazine’s Influential Women. In addition, she is a graduate of the Center of Community Leadership’s “Inside Grand Rapids” program, a 2009 and 2013 Athena Award nominee and most recently graduated from the Grand Rapids Chamber and Huntington Bank’s Rising Women Leaders program.
An in-demand speaker, Bode has presented on social media strategy, engagement, measurement and policy for organizations including the Michigan Association of CPAs, Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Kalamazoo Chamber and more.
Somehow Kim finds time in her schedule to co-host the monthly radio show “Your Biz, Your Town” with WGVU’s Shelley Irwin on 88.5 FM the fourth Friday of every month, as well as serve multiple boards and committees.
Kim currently resides in the Grand Rapids community with her husband Josh and her four rescue dogs, Bentley, Murphy, Apollo and Jimmy.
Kim’s community involvement includes:
- Co-chair, Inforum West Michigan Small Business & Entrepreneurship Affinity Group
- Regional Council, Inforum West Michigan
- Leadership Council, SBAM
- Marketing Chair, MCEEA
- VP of Events, GVSU LGBT Alumni Chapter
- Board, Stockbridge Business Association
- Marketing Committee, West Side CID
Sarah Abel – Managing Director, Scotch Club* Founder (*Not a Real Club)
Sarah brings extensive experience in communications, marketing, public relations, and community engagement to 834.
Her previous work includes communications support and strategy within the West Michigan non-profit community and most recently in real estate development. She loves creating strategic plans and implementation processes that meet goals and up the ante for success.
Sarah holds a B.S. Degree in Public Relations from Northern Michigan University. She is a graduate of Huntington Bank’s Rising Woman Leaders Program, the Chamber’s Institute for Healing Racism, and Saint Mary’s Up Next program.
Sarah is the co-chair of Gilda’s Club West Side Walk, and volunteers for the West Side CID Marketing Committee and the West Side Clean Up.
An avid writer, she has a string of abandoned blogs with lukewarm hopes that one day she’ll finally find her niche and commit to one. When not writing, Sarah loves to spend time with her husband Nic, and her two golden retrievers, Gilda and Butters.
Kayden Grinwis – Web Director, Craft Beer Connoisseur & Activist
Kayden is the only guy at #Team834! His background covers all things digital – PPC advertising, SEO, website strategy, UX, email marketing, social media, and CRM integration (he once built a completely custom, automated sales workflow and reporting system for a multi-national sales team).
After spending 2 years at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he ended up back in the mitten. He finished up at GVSU, majoring in both marketing and accounting. When he’s not serving up digital strategies and websites, he’s probably enjoying a Bellaire Brown, attending some sort of board meeting, or working on the latest project for his new house.
Unable to sit still, he does a few things in his spare time…
• VP of Communications- American Marketing Association, West Michigan
• Marketing Chair – Grand Rapids Pride Center, Board of Directors
• Marketing Chair – Grand Rapids Pride Festival
• VP of Communications – GVSU LGBT Alumni Chapter
• Blogger – This Is Trans, FTM Magazine
Emma Thibault – PR Associate, Obsessive Dog Mom, Certified Media Stalker
Emma Thibault began her time at 834 Design & Marketing with a semester-long internship beginning in March 2016. After exceeding our kickass internship program, Thibault transitioned into a full-time employee, and hasn’t looked back since. Thibault enjoys experiencing the beauty of The Mitten State, staying up to date with pop culture and current events, sipping on local brews and blogging.
A recent graduate of Ferris State University, Thibault received her degree in public relations, along with accompanying minors in digital marketing and integrated marketing techniques. While at college, Thibault served as the president of Ferris State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter for two consecutive years.
As a new-found Grand Rapidian, Thibault hasn’t wasted any time involving herself in the community. She is a member of West Michigan Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA), Grand Rapids Young Professionals (GRYP) and on the marketing committee for Silent Observer.
Mari Behovitz- Digital Associate, Cottage Girl, & Iced Coffee Fanatic
Mari is new to the professional world, but not a new comer to #Team834. Mari got her first taste of agency life as a part of our rock star internship program. Her positive attitude and ability to create kick ass competitor and SWOT analyses helped earn her a spot as a full-time member of our team.
Mari is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University where she earned a degree in Advertising and Public Relations along with a minor in Business. While in school Mari was both a member of PRSSA as well as a two-time executive board member for Advertising Club. She also served as an associate for Grand Valley’s student run Public Relations firm, Grand PR for one semester.
Whether she’s paddle boarding across the lake at her family’s cottage or along the edges of Lake Michigan, Mari is a lover of our beautiful mitten state. When she isn’t getting her fill of cottage life you can find her reading a good book or testing out a new Pinterest craft. One thing you can be sure about is that you will likely never find Mari without a Super iced coffee from Biggby in her hand.
Allison Spooner– Content Associate, Proud Hufflepuff & Writer of Words
Allison lives and breathes stories. A writer by trade and for fun, she can almost always be found with a notebook in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. If you can’t find her, make sure to check the comfy chairs of any local coffee shop where she will either be reading a good book or typing away at her next novel or short story.
Allison has been offering freelance writing services and telling the stories of businesses or startups for the last five years. A graduate of Grand Valley State University (with a degree in, surprise surprise, creative writing) she took her degree to Lansing. In the capital city, she spent her time writing about the startup community and providing features for Capital Gains (where she was also the Innovations Editor) and Greater Lansing Business Monthly.
A transplant to Grand Rapids, she is the editor on the “Making It In Grand Rapids” series sponsored by Start Garden. She loves taking advantage of all the community has to offer including the Meanwhile Movie Series at the Wealthy Street Theatre, having a Centennial at Founders, a martini at Rockwell’s or walking the river trail from the Creston Neighborhood into downtown. Allison started a writing event called Fiction440 where anyone, no matter their experience level, can write a 440-word story using prompts and share it with the group.
A geek at heart, she loves Harry Potter, Doctor Who, attending Comic Conventions, eighties music she can dance to and her schnauzer, Luna.
Ali Gillman – Creative Team Associate, Social Butterfly & Design Diva
Ali radiates positivity and good vibes throughout the 834 office. As a newbie in the professional creative world her energy and eagerness are what have made her such a great fit for #Team834. Ali is currently studying graphic design at Grand Valley State University, and likes to stay busy around campus with AIGA, intramural sports and is an active alumna of Phi Sigma Sigma. Our design diva enjoys connecting with others and loves creating design solutions to help others connect. She believes design is more than just colors, type, and sweets graphics; it’s what helps connect, drive and motivate ourselves and the community.
Aside from the creative world, Ali is a stand out soccer player, a happy camper and hiker, and coffee addict. We blame her love to socialize on her constant caffeine buzz. So, if you see her out on the town, say hello and strike up a conversation.
Cat Cieslinski – Creative Team Associate, Illustrator & Fitness Junkie
Cat brings a new perspective to #Team834 with her keen visual eye. She enjoys creating designs that energize you. Cat has a degree in Illustration from Grand Valley State University and is currently working on a degree in Graphic Design. She started as an intern and was recently hired in as an associate.
Physical activity has always been a part of her life. Cat has been a figure skater for most of her life and a college track and field star. For her first four and a half years at Grand Valley, she was a high jumper for the track and field team. She continues to exercise but it’s at the gym these days and is currently working on heavy lifting. Like her devotion to her sports and exercise, she is very loyal. Cat will go out of her way to make things right and be there to help.
Jimmy Lab – Office Dog, Chief Happiness Officer
Jimmy is #Team834’s black lab and head of security. No one gets farther than the front door before Jimmy’s quick sniff and/or lick of approval. He offers free snuggles to those who ask and extra kisses if you share your lunch. Jimmy’s favorite tasks include devouring treats, carrying around “The KONG” and spreading joy and a little bit of smell wherever he goes.