Our People


Brandy Arnold


Brandy Arnold is an East Hills resident of four years. She is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and is currently obtaining a Masters in Marketing from Eastern Michigan University. Brandy works for Kids Food Basket and has worked as freelance writer for multiple area publications. On the board, she is focused on East Hills Loves Congress and various marketing initiatives. In addition to her involvement in East Hills Council of Neighbors, Brandy is on the Grand Valley State University Young Alumni Council, is a Challenge Scholars Community Partner, and volunteers for an array of organizations including Avenue for the Arts and Local First. 

Mariah Kennedy

Mariah Kennedy, Director of Shop Operations at The Spoke Folks, is an invested volunteer in the East Hills neighborhood. A graduate of the Community Leadership program at Aquinas College, Mariah is passionate about grassroots activism and DIY-DIT culture. She became embedded in East Hills through her involvement with the Brewery Vivant Volunteer Committee by starting the first inaugural Girls on the Run team at Congress Elementary. She is an avid cyclist and loves cats, especially her little kit, Leonidas. 

Josh Leffingwell


Josh Leffingwell has lived in East Hills for 2 years, in the Congress Park neighborhood, with his girlfriend Alissa and dog Little Jerry Seinfeld. On the board, he is focused on sustainable transportation, neighborhood walkability and business development. He is currently chair of the Complete Streets Committee and Board Co-Chair. 

Larissa Malone

Larissa Malone is a long way from home. The Brazil native made the trek to the U.S. in 2010 and settled in the East Hills neighborhood to marry the love of her life and to start a new career. She joined the Public Relations team at Amway after receiving her Master’s degree in Communications from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in 2011. With a background in journalism as a political reporter and professor of the discipline, trilingual skills and a passion for all things global and local, Larissa serves on East Hill’s marketing committee.

Traci Montgomery


Traci Montgomery has lived in East Hills for just over three years, first in the Wealthy Heights neighborhood, and now in Diamond Gate. She received her bachelor’s degree from Calvin College in math and geography and is now works for Meijer Inc. She is currently the Board Treasurer.

Elizabeth Ransford


Elizabeth Hoffman Ransford, a freelance writer and historian, serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. A fourth generation Grand Rapidian, Elizabeth grew up in Heritage Hill. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she received a PhD in American History and Public History from Loyola University Chicago, with a specialization in cities and the history of urban space. Elizabeth and her husband Charlie returned to Grand Rapids in 2010 to renovate a house in the Fairmount Square Historic District, where they live with their daughters Eleanor and Alice. Elizabeth is active on the East Hills Loves Congress and membership committees.

Eric Tank

Eric lives in the Diamond Gate neighborhood of East Hills with his wife and daughter. He supports local art, food and entertainment and is especially interested in placemaking and community engagement. He is an avid photographer and advocate of citizen journalism. A freelance photographer, Eric is also employed by the Community Media Center where he curates the Place Matters section on The Rapidian.  He has lived in the neighborhood for close to a decade. 


Rachel Lee


Phone: 616-454-9079

Rachel Lee serves as the Director at East Hills.  She is a long-term resident and volunteer in the East Hills neighborhood since 2000. Rachel has led multiple projects related to community economic development and green infrastructure to benefit the neighborhood. She currently serves on the City of Grand Rapids, Bicycle Safety Education Steering Committee and the Strengthening Neighborhoods Task Force; the Neighborhood Coalition and Good Neighbor Committee. She has served as the Co-Chair of the East Hills Council of Neighbors from 2012-August 2013, President of the East Hills Business Association from 2006-2010, Board of Directors for the Wealthy Street Business Alliance from 2003-2010, Chairwoman of the Uptown Advisory Council from 2007-2009, Board of Directors for the East Hills Council of Neighbors from 2001-2003, and a member of the Local Planning Committee for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network in 2009. Rachel received a 2013 Special Recognition Award from City of Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission and she was a Woman of East Hills honoree in 2010 and a Logie Award Nominee for the 2009 Neighborhood Business Alliance Awards. She has wrote and partnered on numerous grants bringing a total of $600,000 in funds for projects in the East Hills and Uptown area. She has her B.S. from Grand Valley State University, School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration. Rachel is passionate about: local history and historic preservation; urban planning and placemaking; supporting local businesses; parks, public spaces and walkable-bicyle-friendly neighborhoods; Mid-Century Modern and Vintage Design; community emergency management and infrastructure planning; and urban living with her two sons Logan and Lyon Lee, her heart and soul.