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
Adrienne Wallace – Director, Digital Strategist, Academic in Residence & 834 “Mom”
Adrienne Wallace is an enthusiastic communicator with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors ranging in scope from nonprofit, health and education to government, politics and finance. She’s 834’s chief digital strategist, crisis communications advisor and public affairs wonk.
Adrienne earned a bachelors in health communications and public relations, a masters in communications and a second masters in public administration, all from Grand Valley State University (GVSU). She is currently a public policy PhD candidate at Western Michigan University (WMU) with a particular fondness for public affairs studies.
Adrienne is also an assistant professor at GVSU in the School of Communications where she teaches Public Relations, Research, Social Media and Emerging Communication Technologies and serves at the will of the GVSU PRSSA chapter and the university’s student run PR firm, GrandPR. She is a published author, amateur chef and photographer, and friend to animals. She maintains a vegan-ish food blog (fun!) and a blog on public policy (serious).
As a lifelong learner, Adrienne seeks to monitor trends and analyze unique intersections of technology with relationships of all kinds. She is particularly fascinated in social movements partnered with technology as they champion noble causes. Adrienne is a social-change leader, Grand Rapids Westsider, wife to tech/PR geek Derek DeVries and mother to rescue pups Walter and Bosley.
If you are into the glimmer and glamour of awards, Adrienne has a few laying around:
- Michigan Political Leadership Program (MSU) Fellow
- 2015 GVSU Career Services Internship Supervisor of the Year
- Leadership Holland alumnae
- Named to the Lakeshore Forty Under 40
- Honored as a “Woman of Influence” by I Magazine
- Honored as a finalist for the West Michigan Woman Magazine inaugural cover girl
- Received Michigan Recreation and Parks Association “Best New Professional” and “Media Advocate” awards
- 2012 and 2013 Young Athena Award finalist
- Named West Michigan’s Finest by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- 2012 Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Advocate Award finalist
- 2013 WMPRSA Newcomer Award winner
- Rising Women Leaders Alumnae through the Grand Rapids Center for Community Leadership
She sits on the GVSU Social Media Advocacy Council and GVSU Alumni Board of Directors, serves as faculty adviser for GVSU PRSSA and GrandPR, is the Bateman Competition head coach, a member of the Michigan Nonprofit Administration, board member for West Michigan Public Relations Society of America, member of Public Relations Society of America, advisory board member of Social Media Association of Michigan, founding member of GVSU Alumni Steering Committee for the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration, Blandford Nature Center Marketing Committee, and proudly serves at the will of Alex Beaton on the Board of Advisers for The Awesome Mitten
Julie Sheeran – Creative Director, Font Aficionado & Creepy 834 Cat Lady
Julie Sheeran joined #Team834 us in August of 2015. With a diverse creative background, she has developed a keen eye for clean, simple, and effective branding solutions, and a passion for beautiful typography. Julie is a Grand Valley State University grad with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Graphic Design, and a minor in Advertising and Public Relations. While her professional career began in the corporate world, agency life was her first love. Julie interned with 834 in 2011 as part of her undergraduate degree. During her time as a GVSU student, she was the Layout Editor with the university newspaper, The Grand Valley Lanthorn, and loved every fast paced, crazy minute of it. She also created marketing materials for GVSU Health and Wellness and enjoyed volunteering at the Grand Valley Farmers Market promoting healthy lifestyle choices to the GVSU staff and student population; and of course, eating all the kettle corn she could get her hands on.
Kayden Grinwis – Web Director, Craft Beer Connoisseur & Activist
Kayden is the newest member of #Team834, and is thrilled to be joining an otherwise all-women office. 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).
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. 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.
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
Grace Johnson-Connor – Internal Project Manager, Original Grand Rapidian, Yogi & Mom
Grace lives and breathes Grand Rapids both living and working in the city. She has dipped her toes into both non-profit and private sector work in the community. You might recognize her from her time with Neighborhood Ventures where she supported business districts by providing technical assistance and economic development. Her background ranges from property management, business development, marketing and pretty much everything in between. Grace tends to jump in headfirst going above and beyond for clients, friends, family and her kids. Don’t worry, she naps on the weekends.
Grace graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Liberal Studies degree and an emphasis in Leadership Studies. She believes that leadership is about empathy, listening and follow-through – if she says she will do something, she will. She currently serves as the treasurer of the West Grand Neighborhood Organization and in 2016 she was co-chair for the City of Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit, which brought over 400 community leaders together to discuss common goals for neighborhoods and residents in the city.
On the weekends Grace binge watches British detective shows, practices Yoga, sits through her daughter’s ballet classes and reads everything from children’s books to Entrepreneur Magazine. When not heading up projects at work, she launches home improvement projects much to her husband Adam’s chagrin. Did we mention she is also raising a 5-year old named Sophia and a Belgian Milionis named Bianca?
Leigh Rapaport – Project Manager, Pop Culture Enthusiast, Interior Design Fanatic & Photographer In-the-Making
Leigh Rapaport has lived 9 lives in her career, purposely getting experience in the non-profit and for-profit sectors as well as working in a variety of fields. Before working at 834, Leigh’s interest in project management, event logistics, and community programming took her out of Grand Rapids and dropped her in New York City, where she lived and worked for 5 years. After giving up the Big Apple as her permanent residence, Leigh came back to the bright lights of Grand Rapids and it hasn’t disappointed. She jumped right into the community, participating in the Emerging Leaders Series through the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Community Leadership, helping organize the 2015 West Side Community Cleanup, and becoming a board member for the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids. She entered the marketing world while working for a boutique consulting practice in Grand Rapids.
Outside of the 834 office, you can usually find Leigh exploring Grand Rapids or other areas of the USA or abroad. She’ll probably have her camera with her, looking for inspiration. Otherwise, she’s sitting with a bowl of popcorn and binging on the latest tv shows and movies with her rescue pup, Frankie.
Emma Thibault – PR Associate/Do-er of All Things, Obsessive Dog Mom, Frequent Sarcasm User & Reality TV Junkie
Emma is a Ferris State University student working towards a degree in Public Relations and accompanying minors in Digital Marketing and Integrated Marketing Techniques. She will officially reach ‘adult status’ after receiving her golden ticket in May 2017. Although she’s originally from the Windy City, we’ve converted her to a West Michigan transplant—you will thank us later.
Emma began her time at 834 with a semester-long internship beginning in March 2016. Her internship was extended to a part-time associate position, allowing her to dabble in all sorts of goodies for the ultimate pre-grad experience. Emma is the current President of Ferris State PRSSA, and has been for two consecutive years. She is also an active member in Ferris State University’s College of Business Student Delegates and Ferris State University’s Leadership Advisory Board. She has held additional internships at Guiding Light Mission, Ferris State University’s College of Business and Inspiyr.com. Emma will not deny her HGTV addiction and her obsessive dog mom tendencies. She also enjoys experiencing the beauty of The Mitten State, staying up to date with current events, sipping on local brews and journaling.
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.