In Jermale Eddie’s eyes, he did not choose his career - his career chose him. A 2003 Grand Valley State University graduate, Eddie received his degree in Group Social Studies, with a minor in Elementary Education. With a heart that seeks to help people, encourage and inspire, he uses his talents as the Director of Education Innovation at the Grand Rapids Urban League during the day. He spends nearly every spare minute alongside his wife Anissa Eddie, as the founder, owner, and operator of Malamiah Juice Bar at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.
While a student at Grand Valley, Eddie was very active in extracurricular activities. He was a member of TriO, Excel, Campus Ministries, and the President of Voices of GVSU Gospel Choir and Alpha Omega Collegiate Ministries. He also received a championship ring in the 2001-2002 track and field season for high jump. Track and field was one of the reasons Eddie chose to attend Grand Valley.
“I wanted to learn high jump under the leadership of Jerry Baltes,” Eddie said.
After receiving his degree, Eddie worked with Impact United Methodist Church, where he was the Director of Student Ministries, giving leadership to the new church in Southeast Texas. From there, he worked for various educational organizations, including Lamar University in the Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas area and the University of Phoenix.
Now the Director of Education for the Grand Rapids Urban League, Eddie walks alongside the community to advocate for quality education in the inner-city core, by way of the “Believe 2 Become” impact advisory table. The committee is comprised of community members, parents, school administrators, business owners, civic and non-profit organizations and college administrators.
Eddie officially opened Malamiah Juice Bar in the late summer of 2013. He serves fresh made-to-order juices and smoothies that are created using local produce while in season.
“Simply put, we serve health in a cup through juices and smoothies,” Eddie explained.
The juice bar not only makes delicious, healthy smoothies, but it also provides youth employment skills in partnership with the Workface Investment Act (WIA) Program, a program that seeks to give young adults work experience. The juice bar also engages customers in health education discussions.
“I personally look for ways to encourage others to change at least one thing in their diet to promote a healthier lifestyle,” Eddie said.
Eddie notes Malamiah Juice Bar as one of his proudest career moments. He started the business with no money or experience, but sought out the help of Grand Valley’s Small Business and Technology Center. The staff helped him with a business plan he could take to the bank.
Since graduation, Eddie has become a founding member of BL²END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Direction). He has also received the Equity in Higher Education Award in 2007 for The Tapestry Leadership Program, a retention program for students of color, which was honored by the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
The education Eddie received at GVSU has had a remarkable impact on his career. Making numerous connections with faculty and staff, their advice and guidance fueled his success as a Christian, father, friend, business owner and active community member. He also believes his leadership development was set ablaze at GVSU through various mission trips with campus Ministries, as the President of the Voices of GVSU and several work-study jobs.
“GVSU has instilled in me that anything is possible, with vision, even when the odds are against you,” Eddie said.
As for the future, Eddie hopes to continue his success with the Grand Rapids Urban League and Malamiah Juice Bar.
“My vision is to be influential in creating a movement where there are more African American males in college rather than prison,” Eddie said about the Grand Rapids Urban League.
As for the juice bar, Eddie hopes to open several mid-west locations, create the Drink for Life non-profit organization to focus on health education and youth employment, and be part of a major African American owned development in downtown Grand Rapids. Eddie also hopes to always be a role model for others and remain humble.
Eddie currently lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Anissa, and two sons, Malachi and Nehemiah.
Posted January 2014