Rob McCarty


Robert McCarty is Jack of All for The Image Shoppe, a creative brand marketing firm that he co-owns with partners Troy Best and Karen Tracey in Grand Rapids, MI. While his title may seem to be a stab at wit, it truly is the best way to sum up what Rob does in his professional life.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University’s Social Science Department and his continued studies at Aquinas College’s Business Administration Department, Rob spent the past decade working on his leadership style and business practice model. During his career, he has taken on leadership roles for all his employers, but always has been an entrepreneur at heart. Regardless of the industry in which Rob has worked, his philosophy has remained solid: business must be practiced with a conscious mind for the triple bottom line—focusing on balance between the economy, the environment and community.

Rob believes that being a great business owner requires care and respect for the environment, economic vitality and welfare of the community in which a business participates.
Rob serves as CEO and point person for The Image Shoppe on major project and client work.



Greg Smith


Greg’s leadership, coaching, and teaching career spans four decades, nationally and globally, across a wide range of organizations and industries.

He has led branding, marketing, and sales efforts for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 corporations, as both an employee and consultant. Greg also has extensive experience in the nonprofit world as a leader and consultant. He has led strategic planning, organizational development, leadership coaching, and fundraising efforts for religious, educational, and social service agencies with local and global scopes. Greg has also been a prolific writer and speaker, contributing to dozens of books on business and leadership, and speaking often at conferences and colleges. He has travelled around the globe, and often leads history and art tours to Europe and the Middle East.

For the last four years, Greg has served as Lead Brand Strategist for The Image Shoppe, as well as filling organizational and teaching roles within the Diocese of Grand Rapids. In the past, he had roles such as President and Chief Creative Officer for Black Lake Studio and Press, Senior Director of Media Resources at Harper Collins/Zondervan Publishing, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with the Spectrum Group, and Director of Strategic Accounts at IKON Michigan. He works regularly with the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Citygate Network (AGRM), 206 Tours, the Lakeshore Academy (LANE), and Capital for Compassion.



  • Local First past Board Member and Chair 

  • North Alano Club of Kent County Board Member 

  • DiSC Certified Trainer 

  • Member Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

James Berg


James Berg began his food and beverage career in 1988 working as a server for restaurants like T.G.I. Fridays, where he was recognized as a top-ten server, bartender and in-store trainer for a total of four years in both Grand Rapids and Hawaii. In 1993, James made the move into formal dining, taking a position with Egypt Valley Country Club as their lead bartender and beverage director. It was in this position James learned the ins and outs of banquet and event planning including staffing, set-up and beverage purchasing.

After nearly a decade in the service industry, James came to work for the Woodrick family in 1996 to open Bistro Bella Vita—the first upscale, casual concept restaurant in Grand Rapids. He started as restaurant manager and shortly thereafter was promoted to General Manager.

In 2006, he formed the Essence Restaurant Group (ERG) with partners Patrick Wise and Jeffrey Gietzen to become the ownership and operators of Bistro Bella Vita. With a firm understanding in the West Michigan market, he visualized and led the Essence team to open The Green Well in 2007 and then Grove in 2011. All three concepts are multi-award-winning staples in Grand Rapids. Driven by The Kindness Principle, James along with business partners Jeff Gietzen and Hillary Edwards-Berg have established a clear vision to lead the Essence team through 2025.

In addition to his role as CEO-Partner for Essence Restaurants, James uses his knowledge, skill and experience to help organizations become successful by developing stronger leadership skills through his consulting firm, JMB Consulting.