Gov. Rick Snyder to host Women Strengthening Michigan conversation series across Michigan

Series will highlight role female leaders are playing in Michigan’s reinvention

Thursday, October 9, 2014 

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the upcoming Women Strengthening Michigan conversation series that will take place Oct. 13, 14 and 16 in Macomb, Kent and Oakland counties, respectively. The forum will highlight female leaders and innovators, discussing various policy issues and the vital role women play in strengthening Michigan.

Women Strengthening Michigan is a series of three forums co-hosted by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson; Susy Avery, executive director of the Michigan Women’s Commission; Terry Barclay, president & CEO of InForum; and Carolyn Cassin, president & CEO of the Michigan Women’s Foundation.

"Women play an integral role in our state's reinvention and these events are a great chance to talk to some of our top female leaders and innovators and ensure that every Michigander has the tools and opportunities to succeed.  We would not be where we are today without women strengthening Michigan."

At each event, Snyder will join a diverse group of female panelists and a moderator representing areas across Michigan. Event details include:  

Macomb County: Monday, Oct. 13 at 9:30 a.m. at Omega Talent in Clinton Township
Moderator: Maria Silamianos Sherman, president of Omega Talent


  • Gail Alpert, president of FIRST Robotics;
  • Judge Linda Davis, Clinton Township District Court, founder of Families Against Narcotics;
  • Kelsey Erne, student participating in the MAT2 program with auto-supplier Brose;
  • Espy Thomas, entrepreneur and co-owner of Sweet Potato Sensations.

Kent County: Tuesday, Oct.  14 at 2:30 p.m. at Grand Rapids Association of Realtors
Moderator: State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, 86th House District

  • Cynthia Kay, president and CEO of CK and CO Media Production, former Small Business Association of Michigan Board Chair;
  • Annie Link, West Michigan dairy farmer, Swiss Lane Dairy;
  • Teresa Weatherall Neal, Grand Rapids Public Schools superintendent;
  • Dr. Rose Ramirez, family practice physician in West Michigan.

Oakland County: Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Walsh College Troy Campus
Moderator: Mary Engleman, director of government affairs and public relations at OpTech

  • Betty Chu, M.D.,MBA., chief medical officer and VP of Medical Affairs at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital;
  • Kerry Doman, founder and CEO of After5 Detroit;
  • Peggy Dzierzawski, president and CEO of Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants;
  • Pam Turkin, creator of JustBaked cupcakes.

Seating for this series is limited. Those interested in attending any of the events can email Michiganders can also join the conversation by submitting their questions on Twitter using the hashtag #MIStrong and by watching the forums via livestream at