Vacation and family. Those were two reasons Justine came to visit West Michigan while growing up on the east side of the state, but living here wasn’t in her college plan. Though everyone in her immediate family went to Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Justine decided to venture to the Windy City.

She loved the big city feel of Chicago, but soon realized something was missing. After meeting her husband (who is also from Michigan) and spending a decade in the city for school and work, she knew she wanted to come back to Michigan. In West Michigan, she found the something that was missing: the big city feel along with small-town neighborliness.

After moving to West Michigan, Justine was unsure of her next step in life, until she heard about ReThink West Michigan: a casual happy hour where attendees can meet with hiring employers. She decided to attend.

Justine explained, “ReThink was intimate in a way that a job fair is not. The conversation is easier. It’s more relaxed. People are in good moods. It’s a much better way to find a work community… and it comes with a drink ticket and is free!”

While attending ReThink, Justine said, “a lightbulb went off. It was as if all the stars aligned for me.” She met someone from The Right Place, a partner of Hello West Michigan and economic development organization, and knew she wanted to work there.

Fast forward to today, Justine has been with The Right Place for almost four years. She is the Vice President of Technical Services at The Right Place and the Regional Director for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center West.

“West Michigan is an amazing and rewarding place to work,” said Justine. “I’m very grateful for the opportunities I have had given to me.”

Already here and need recommendations of places to go in West Michigan? Justine likes Ferris Coffee and visiting the Ottawa County Parks on the weekends.