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Olivet College and Michigan’s Top Women Leaders Inspire Next Generation

Monday, March 5, 2018  
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More than 300 women of all ages attend Second Annual Cultivating Women Leaders event

Olivet College held its second annual Cultivating Women Leaders (CWL) event on March 2 at Cutler Event Center, Olivet College, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Under the theme of Pioneering the Future, the event inspired and equipped young women to embrace their inner strength and realize their potential as responsible leaders.

“I believe in the power of mentorship in developing the women leaders of tomorrow. This event gives young women an incredible opportunity to learn from other women who are leaders in their respective fields,” said Traci Corey, director of the Olivet College Women’s Leadership Institute and presidential spouse. “Many of these young women may have never thought of themselves as leaders. Through exposing them to these positive examples of leadership, our hope is that this will encourage them to tap into their full potential.”

Founder of ATHENA International and Other Female Business Leaders Speak

Women of all ages and backgrounds had an opportunity to network and receive professional and personal development from Michigan's finest women business leaders, including some of Olivet College's most successful alumnae. Attendees gained valuable insight from keynote speaker Martha Mayhood Mertz, founder of ATHENA International, which supports, develops and honors women leaders around the world. Attendees also learned from, and had the opportunity to network with, the following women leaders:

  • Yvonne Caamal Canul ’73, superintendent, Lansing School District
  • Paula D. Cunningham, state director, AARP Michigan
  • Margaret Dimond, president and CEO, McLaren Oakland Hospital
  • Tiffany Dowling, president and CEO, M3 Group
  • Tricia Foster, retired senior managing director and chief operating officer, CBRE Martin and CBRE Grand Rapids
  • Mona Hinamanu ’17, client service specialist, RELO Direct, Inc.
  • Honorable Judge Denise Page Hood, chief judge, United States District Court
  • Sheri Jones, news anchor, WLNS TV 6 Lansing
  • Kay Kossen, attorney, Kreis, Enderle, Hudgins & Borsos, P.C.
  • Kelly Rossman McKinney, CEO and Principal, Truscott Rossman
  • Karen Preston, director, human resources, RTI Surgical
  • Cassie McDonald Ross ’13, physical therapist, Agility Physical Therapy & Sports Performance
  • Genise Shelton '99, founder, Our Children's Keeper Foundation, and media personality, "Married to Medicine."

Interactive Sessions Focus on Professional Communication Skills

In addition to a speed networking session, interactive sessions focused on developing professional communication skills, how to deal with confrontation, how to negotiate, communicating effectively, and establishing boundaries. And back by popular demand is the Olivet College Alumnae Panel, facilitated by Sheri Jones, that will share their experiences as professionals and advocates for women.

"We are giving young women the necessary knowledge so that they can be informed, prepared and have the tools to professionally advocate for themselves and others when it comes to issues that they will face in their careers," said Corey.

The event culminated with the presentation of leadership certificates to OC ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Program participants, a year-long development program utilizing ATHENA International’s well-recognized Leadership Model. Over the course of the academic year, the young women receive the building blocks for success in today’s global society while gleaning from some of Michigan’s most dynamic women leaders.

“I’m really excited to see all of our hard work pay off,” said senior Jenna Benvenuti, a member of the Cultivating Women Leaders Planning Committee and the ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Program. “CWL was not only a great event, but it was also empowering."

Learn More

To learn more about the Cultivating Women Leaders event, visit

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