About Us

Grand Angels was founded by former Grand Bank founder and CEO Charles C. Stoddard and serial entrepreneur, Craig T. Hall. They recruited community leaders willing to join them in the vision of making “investments with a difference.” In 2005, Jody D. Vanderwel was recruited to serve as president of the organization. Grand Angels now has 39 active members. Grand Angels is the only regional investment group that offers mentoring paired with a relatively patient exit strategy, meaning invested funds may not need to be returned as quickly as would be expected by commercial or other investors.
The organization supported by membership fees and generous corporate and academic sponsorships. Grand Angels is a member of the Angel Capital Association, an organization sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Kansas City, MO), which continues to provide leadership and resources for angel investors across the country.


Our 2015 Board of Directors

Paul D’Amato
Paul serves as Managing Director of Trout Creek Ventures, a regional co-investment venture capital fund focusing on early stage investments. Hel is an active angel investor with several angel groups in the Midwest. Previously, Paul owned and operated a retail chain in the Midwest that he sold to a strategic acquirer. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis on M&A and analytical decision modeling from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston. Paul currently serves on the board of Tetra Discovery Partners and Blue Medora.

Carl B. Erickson
Carl is the CEO of Atomic Object, a software design and development company with offices in Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Ann Arbor. Carl’s served as the president of the Swedish American Heritage Society, has served as a board member for Mock Draft Central and Varsity News Network, and currently serves on the board of Blue Medora. He is a frequent speaker on technology, and a guest blogger for Crain’s Detroit.

Patrick A. Gaughan
Patrick is CFO and partner of Brooks Capital Management and a partner of its affiliate real estate development company, IPA Partners. Patrick is also on the Kent Community Health Foundation Investment Committee and serves on the Investment Committee of The Community Foundation of the Holland-Zeeland Area. Patrick has been on the Grand Angels board since its inception.

John S. Jackoboice, Past Chairman
John currently serves on the board of Fyen-Zylstra Company, is Vice Chair of Baker Publishing Company, Co-Chairs the Aquinas College Foundation and Chairs the Northern Trust – West Michigan Advisory Board. Past board chairmanships include Gilda’s Club, Saint Mary’s Health, and Aquinas College as well as serving on the boards of Hospice of Michigan Foundation, The Family Business Alliance and the Manufacturing Council. John retired in 2007 after 41 years with Monarch Hydraulics (Bucher) of Grand Rapids.

Michael J. Jandernoa
Mike is the former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Perrigo Company, the nation’s largest manufacturer and marketer of store brand over-the-counter drug and nutritional products. He serves on the board of directors of Perrigo Company, Business Leaders for Michigan, Hopen Life Science Fund, and Metabolic Solutions Development Company. Mike is also a member of several other corporate, religious, and community boards and committees. He is the founder of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring and is a co-founder and board member of both Grand Angels and Bridge Street Capital Partners, and founder and Chairman of 42 North Partners, a family office focusing on investments, entrepreneurship, and community.

R. Lawrence Leigh, Vice Chairperson
Larry serves on the Boards of Goodwill Industries and Goodwill Foundation and is a member of the Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program. He also brings to Grand Angels extensive experience on other community boards as well as a local bank. He is the former owner and founder of Leighs. Larry holds a B.S. in Business from the University of North Carolina and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Richard M. Lievense, Chairperson
Rich is the principal founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation (LMFC), established in April 1998. He currently serves as its chairman. He is also Principal of InSite Capital-a subsidiary of LMFC that develops and finances historically significant building in the Midwest. Prior to founding LMFC, Rich was employed by a regional bank in various executive positions. He currently serves on the board of directors of Riverview Development Group and chairs the Holland/Zeeland Community Foundation Oversight Board for the MSU Bio-economy Institute. He is on the investment committee of Grow Michigan-a Michigan based private subordinated debt fund. Rich holds a B.A. from Alma College and an M.A. from Western Michigan University.

Robert A. Sprotte
Bob is the owner of The Sprotte Organization which is a life insurance agency serving both business & personal markets from an independent perspective.  He has been active in this industry since 1976 and in Michigan since 1978.  He holds the appropriate designations for this trade including CLU, ChFC & LIC.  Bob is currently involved in leading men’s Bible studies and is a former Board member of both Goodwill Industries and Bethany Christian Services. As an active investor in numerous private equity offerings, the Grand Angels opportunity proves a logical fit.

Jody D. Vanderwel, President
Jody has served as Grand Angels President since 2005. She oversees Grand Angels’ deal sourcing, investing, and portfolio management, and represents the group at networking and educational events across Michigan. Jody worked several years in private practice career before joining Herman Miller as Corporate Counsel and then Vice President for Corporate Giving. She is currently a member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association Board, the Michigan Accelerator Fund I Advisory Board, the Baker Publishing Group Board, and the Fuller Theological Seminary Board. She also chairs the Board of Priority Health. In February of 2014 Governor Snyder appointed her to a four year term on the Michigan Strategic fund. Jody holds a B.A. degree from the University of Colorado and a J.D. degree from Washington University in St. Louis.