About Rapid Growth

Rapid Growth Media is a digital news magazine, and West Michigan institution, focused on the dynamic communities, businesses and residents of Greater Grand Rapids. We cover what's next in entrepreneurship, creative culture and urban development in and around our region, and are part of the Issue Media Group family.

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Meet the Rapid Growth Media team and contact us here!

Tommy Allen, Publisher & Lifestyle Editor
[email protected]

Tommy Allen is founding member of Rapid Growth and the creator of the "no topic or event off limit" G-Sync column. Allen has exhibited as an artist, produced films and even finds time to create exciting events for commercial and notprofit agencies. His photo-based artworks often depict highly stylized images addressing issues of identity that challenge social mores while examining the sameness within a diverse "humanscape." His civic projects include numerous awards and committees like Green Grand Rapids and arts leadership projects at UICA; West Michigan Center for Arts and Technologies (WMCAT) Capital Campaign; West Michigan Environment Action Council (former board member); Fulton Street Farmers' Market (expansion fundraising committee); and LaughFest's (talent cabinet committee), among others. In those rare instances when Allen is not creating art, preparing an editorial or fighting for community enhancements, he can be found with his partner working in the garden, enjoying a movie on the couch or simply playing with their rescued Border Collie. He became Rapid Growth's Publisher in February 2015.

Leandra Nisbet, Managing Editor

[email protected]

Leandra owns Stingray Advisory Group LLC and co-owns Gold Leaf Designs LLC and Brightwork Marine, all based in Grand Rapids. Leandra specializes in: marketing, content creation, financial organization and strategic planning assistance. She obtained her B.B.A. with a dual major in Business Administration and Computer Technology from Davenport University. Additionally, she earned her MBA there with a Strategic Business Management concentration. In addition to her business endeavors and writing, she is an Adjunct Professor and speaker. Leandra is actively involved within the community and is passionate about supporting fellow entrepreneurs.

Contributors: Estelle Slootmaker, Sarah Spohn, Matthew Russell, Shanika Carter, Bill Lee

Photography Contributors: Tyler Herbstreith

Emeritus Editors: Anna Gustafson, Lauren Fay Carlson


Rapid Growth Media is published by Issue Media Group. Incorporated in 2005 in Detroit, Michigan, IMG operates a national network of online media outlets leveraging the power of solutions-based journalism to report on community change. Our publications aim to connect readers to their communities’ most visionary and innovative people, projects, businesses, and organizations – fostering civic capacity, improving understanding of key issues, amplifying underserved voices, and building community attachment during a time of local media decline. 
We work with like-minded stakeholders across public, private, nonprofit, and grassroots organizations whose values and missions align with ours through an underwriting model of publishing.  Our journalists connect with community stakeholders through regular listening sessions designed to build trust and shape authentic community stories.
IMG's work has been recognized and supported by leading journalism organizations nationally including INC Magazine, Knight Foundation, Columbia Journalism Review, Facebook, Lenfest Institute, Google, Solutions Journalism Network, Ground Source, and Society for Professional Journalists.

Interested in sharing a story idea with us?

Rapid Growth Media receives valuable contributions from a network of talented freelance writers, photographers and videographers. We encourage anyone interested in contributing articles, personal essays, photos, videos, social media projects or any other creative method of storytelling on a topic related to the Greater Grand Rapids region to email [email protected] with a pitch describing the story you want to tell, how you plan to tell it and why you think our audience will be interested.