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2024 Michigan Women in Leadership Symposium

2024 Southeast Michigan

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM

"Leading with Heart: Empathy, Ethics & Excellence"

2023 RECAP

March 19, 2024
7:30 AM - 12:30 PM (ET)

400 Monroe St #8th
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Theme
Leading with Heart: Empathy, Ethics & Excellence
More Information

#LeadWithHeart

Sponsored By

Allegis Global SolutionsComerica BankDetroit PistonsITC HoldingsLakeTrust Credit UnionMcLaren HealthcareOakland UniversityThe Elite Group

The Michigan Women in Leadership Symposium is a dedicated event that brings together accomplished women leaders, aspiring leaders, and advocates for gender diversity in various industries. The primary objectives of the symposium are to inspire, educate, and empower women to thrive in leadership roles and to promote gender equity and inclusivity in the workplace. This year's symposium theme is, Leading with Heart: Empathy, Ethics & Excellence," which celebrates and explores the importance of compassion, ethics, and excellence in leadership, particularly as they relate to women leaders. Attendees will gain valuable insights, advice, and connections, making the Women in Leadership Symposium an essential platform for advancing women's representation and influence in leadership positions.


Panelists

Rebecca Colett
Rebecca
Colett
CEO
Calyxeum
Rebecca Colett
Rebecca Colett
CEO
Calyxeum

Rebecca is an Experienced Entrepreneur, Technology Professional, Cannabis Advocate, and Native Detroiter. She has worked alongside the Bureau of Cannabis Control in California and The Michigan Regulatory Agency during the development of their Social Equity Program. She has served on the National Board of NORML, Committee Chair for the NCIA and has written community plans for applicants in Los Angeles and Maryland. Rebecca has launched a successful gym franchise and a Cannabis technology consulting firm. Rebecca has also been featured at countless National Cannabis Conferences and has lobbied on Capitol Hill in DC, and the State Capitols for Michigan, Georgia, California, and Maryland for Equity in Cannabis as well as Veteran Access to Medical Cannabis. Rebecca holds a B.S in Business from Florida A&M University, a MBA from Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago as well as a Masters in Supply Chain from Georgia

Cindy Eggleton
Cindy
Eggleton
Co-Founder & CEO
Brilliant Detroit
Cindy Eggleton
Cindy Eggleton
Co-Founder & CEO
Brilliant Detroit

Amanda Lewan
Amanda
Lewan
CEO and Co-Founder
Bamboo
Amanda Lewan
Amanda Lewan
CEO and Co-Founder
Bamboo

Amanda Lewan is an entrepreneur with a mission to move our region forward. As Co-founder and CEO of Bamboo, she leads the development and activation of Bamboo's portfolio of modern work spaces, serving 1,200+ entrepreneurs and creators across three locations. Bamboo specializes in spaces that foster innovation and community. Bamboo started in Detroit in 2013 as a space for new ideas to start and grow. The company has since expanded to open Royal Oak and Ann Arbor locations in Metro Detroit. Amanda’s leadership has been recognized by Crain’s Detroit, the City of Detroit, Fortune Magazine, and more. Amanda has a Master's Degree in English from Wayne State University, and a Bachelor's in Professional Writing from Michigan State. She has a decade of experience in operations and hospitality. She often consults for foundations and Fortune 500 companies on how to build inclusive startup communities, in the past supporting the work of New Economy Initiative, Backstage Capital, and Ford’s Michigan Central, helping to design and create inclusive programming. Amanda also co-leads the Detroit Writers Collective. As an award winning writer, her work is inspired by place, class, gender, and identity. She lives in Detroit with her husband Marc Hudson, their daughter and three rescue pups.

Maria Marin
Maria
Marin
CEO, President, & Founder
Unlimited Recycling
Maria Marin
Maria Marin
CEO, President, & Founder
Unlimited Recycling

Maria Marin is the CEO, President, and Founder of Unlimited Recycling, Inc., a “One-Stop-Shop” company specializing in waste disposal, recycling, and transportation for commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities. In addition, they offer equipment rental, including compactors, balers, and dumpster roll-off services. Established in 1999, the company has successfully served high-profile customers like the Selfridge Air National Guard, US Army TACOM, McNamara Federal Building, Wayne County Airport Authority, Android Industries, Walbridge, and Lear Corporation. Maria is an alumni member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business of Stanford, CA, and a mentor for the Stanford University Hispanic Entrepreneurship Program. She graduated from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurs Leader Program in 2016, in which she won the first-place award for best video. She is an EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 Michigan and Northwest Ohio Finalist. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Unlimited Recycling has been recognized by the State of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and the Macomb Regional PTAC for her determination, efforts, and success. In addition, she received excellent ratings from the United States Army for completing a 5-year waste and recycling contract. Unlimited Recycling graduated with honors from the SBA 8(a) program in 2012 and is currently a member of MDOT, MMSDC, Wayne County Airport Authority, WEBNC, and Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Camila Noordeloos
Camila
Noordeloos
Partner
Grand Ventures
Camila Noordeloos
Camila Noordeloos
Partner
Grand Ventures

Camila is a General Partner at Grand Ventures. Based in Grand Rapids, MI, she joined the team in 2019.As a Partner, she identifies promising investment opportunities across Grand Venture’s sectors of interest and works closely with portfolio companies driving strategy development and implementation. She also leads the firm’s operations and is responsible for managing all stages of the investment process from fundraising through portfolio management and exit. Camila has 12+ years of consulting, corporate and venture capital experience. Prior to joining Grand Ventures, Camila worked at General Electric holding management positions within finance, portfolio management and business strategy. She spent six years at GE Ventures, playing a crucial role in building the foundation for it to become one of the most active corporate venture capital firms in the country, and managing a portfolio of over 150 investment companies. She has also held operational roles in startups, including an extensive project with Zinc, a GE Ventures portfolio company acquired by ServiceMax, and Imaginare Studios, a company she co-founded with two MBA colleagues. She is a class 27 Kauffman Fellow and currently serves as a Board Member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. Camila earned a BBA from the Universidade Federal da Bahia in Brazil and received her MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Donyale Padgett
Dr. Donyale
Padgett
Interim Associate Provost, DEI- Chief Diversity Officer & Associate Professor of Communication
Wayne State University
Dr. Donyale Padgett
Dr. Donyale Padgett
Interim Associate Provost, DEI- Chief Diversity Officer & Associate Professor of Communication
Wayne State University

Donyale R. Padgett is an educator and communications professional with 20 years of progressive industry experience and over 15 years of teaching experience at the college level. In addition to her role as Interim Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion / Chief Diversity Officer, Donyale is a WSU Associate Professor of Diversity, Culture, and Communication in the Department of Communication, where she has worked since 2002. She has been an active partner in institutional diversity at Wayne since 2015 as a member of the GRAD Taskforce. She was also appointed in 2020 by President Wilson to lead one of seven workgroups as part of his Social Justice Action Committee (SJAC). Dr. Padgett describes herself as a “Scholar/Practitioner”. She has published numerous articles in academic journals and presents her work at regional and national conferences. Much of her research focuses on issues of race and culture within the context of crisis communication. Her most recent work is a focus group study of the factors contributing to low consent rates among underrepresented populations on the organ donor registry and the communication strategies necessary to bridge this gap. Dr. Padgett is also a very active practitioner, a sought-after trainer and speaker on topics of diversity and inclusion, and works with leaders across the industry to help them create more inclusive spaces and improve communication with diverse stakeholders. Dr. Padgett holds a doctorate degree in rhetoric and intercultural communication from Howard University. She also holds a master’s degree in organizational communication/public relations and a bachelor’s degree in journalism – both from Wayne State University.

Taharah Saad
Taharah
Saad
Founder and CEO
Grapevine Consulting & Strategy
Taharah Saad
Taharah Saad
Founder and CEO
Grapevine Consulting & Strategy

An award-winning leader in women's empowerment and development, Taharraam is dedicated to breaking down systemic and internal barriers to women's success. With a passion for creating inclusive solutions to women's economic development and modernizing the workforce, Taharah is committed to addressing the real issues women face in achieving economic freedom. With extensive experience as the Founder & CEO of Grapevine Consuling & Strategy, Taharah spearheaded numerous initiatives to empower women and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in organizations worldwide. As a former Executive Director and global DEI professional, Taharah has leveraged her expertise to drive impactful change and promote gender equality in various industries. Prior to her career in consulting and DEI advocacy, Taharah honed her analytical and problem-solving skills as an engineer. This background has equipped her with a unique perspective and strategic approach to addressing complex challenges facing women in the workforce. Outside of her professional endeavors, Taharah is most proud of her role as a mother to two smart and energetic kids. Balancing her personal and professional responsibilities has further fueled her determination to create a more equitable and inclusive world for future generations. Taharah is driven by a vision of a world where all women have the opportunity to thrive and succeed, and she remains committed to advancing this mission in every aspect of her work and personal life.

Lindsay Verstegen
Lindsay
Verstegen
Chief People + Diversity Officer
Detroit Lions
Lindsay Verstegen
Lindsay Verstegen
Chief People + Diversity Officer
Detroit Lions

For over a decade, Lindsay has been helping scale organizations and championing winning cultures in technology — and now, inside of the NFL. What began as a curiosity about recruitment turned into a high-velocity adventure at early days Groupon which segued into early days and then later days Braintree and Venmo (eventually acquired by PayPal) and then into an adventure leading the people function at ShopRunner which was acquired by FedEx at the close of 2020. She now works as Chief People + Diversity Officer for the Detroit Lions where she’s leading a quest to build an open, equitable and transparent organization where everyone feels he/she/they belong. She’s spoken at the Grace Hopper Conference in Houston, The Best Places to Work Conference in San Francisco and occasionally guest lectures at the Chicago Booth School of business on “scaling the new venture” and speaks to entrepreneurs training at the Kellogg School of Management. She’s always fiercely advocated for women and underrepresented folks inside and outside of the workplace, but now as a mom to two young boys (aged 6 and 8), her quest is emboldened. Her personal purpose is to shift the scales to create a world where all are welcome to live and thrive. She does this by building work systems that are equitable, examining systems and people as they are and doing all she can to support folks toward their highest potential. In February of 2021, she was recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ Notable Leaders in HR. She moved to Detroit in 2021 but spent 18 years in Chicago after graduating from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a BFA in musical theatre in 2004.

Mai Xiong
Mai
Xiong
County Commissioner
Macomb County Board of Commissioners
Mai Xiong
Mai Xiong
County Commissioner
Macomb County Board of Commissioners

Commissioner Mai Xiong was re-elected to her second term on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners in November 2022. Commissioner Xiong represents the residents in parts of Warren where she has lived for over 20 years. Commissioner Xiong earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies and attended Macomb Community College. She is also a graduate of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard Kennedy School and the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University. She is a volunteer Board Member for the Macomb Food Program, a member of the Sierra Club and a Green Michigan and Adopt-a-Road coordinator. She was previously appointed to the Tri-County Partnership for Broadband Infrastructure and Equity and currently serves on the Southeast Michigan Council of Government’s Legislative Task Force and Water Infrastructure Task Force. Commissioner Xiong is committed to ensuring the County’s budget remains balanced while meeting the needs of all residents. In some of the highlights of her first term (2021-2022), Commissioner Xiong led the Board in appropriating $300,000 in the 2023 budget for the purchase of food for Macomb Community Action’s food pantry distribution program. She worked with her colleagues and identified funding gaps to help increase funding for Turning Point, a nonprofit that supports victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She helped secure funding for Martha T. Berry to sustain its longstanding partnership with the County and to ensure continuous care for our vulnerable senior population. Commissioner Xiong participated in town halls and discussions that helped secure funding for public transportation and safeguarded the Animal Control department’s budget as recommended. Her top priorities include working to care for our senior citizens and most vulnerable populations; continuing to support small businesses; fighting for our fair share of road funding and improvements focused on populated and distressed areas, and being accessible to her constituents. Commissioner Xiong speaks fluently in her native tongue, Hmong and is a language interpreter for a translation and interpretation services organization. She is also the founder of Mai&Co, a modern Hmong-American apparel and accessories brand, based in Warren.


Moderator

Amanda Sweet
Amanda
Sweet
Community Director
Bamboo
Amanda Sweet
Amanda Sweet
Community Director
Bamboo

Amanda Sweet, affectionately known as the Creative Fairy Godmother, is an immersive and experiential global speaker, community leader, event curator, and fashion junkie. Amanda Sweet’s goal is to help people make friends, get fly, and save the world through sustainable community events. As the Founder of “The ReVamp,” Sweet is on a mission to teach people how local impact creates global impact, she's able to teach and practice sustainable fashion that impacts her peers and Homeless and Domestic Violence shelters in Detroit. Amanda is currently the Community Director with Bamboo Royal Oak and gets to work with and develop professionals, small business owners, and entrepreneurs in their workflow and growing their networks, through events and consulting. Sweet sits on the Advisory Council for the Michigan Diversity Council, where she gets to learn and support the Michigan ecosystem through DEI best practices. Amanda Sweet is the Inaugural and Former crowned Miss Voluptuous America, on a Global Pageant Stage celebrating and empowering plus-size, and all size, women and girls all over the world. Through her platform, Party with Purpose, Amanda Sweet lives and breathes the mission of bringing joy to the world and leaving it better than she found it.


Awardee

Dr. Anita Hicks
Dr. Anita
Hicks
Associate Director-Oakland Center
Oakland University
Michigan Woman of the Year
Dr. Anita Hicks
Dr. Anita Hicks
Associate Director-Oakland Center
Oakland University

Dr. Anita Hicks stands as a towering figure in the realms of women's advocacy, community service, and education. Her tenure as the Associate Director of the Oakland Center at Oakland University is distinguished by groundbreaking leadership and innovative strategies to build relationships and generate revenue. She oversees operations, including over 8,000 annual events, and employs a forward-thinking approach to developing, contracting, managing profitable public and private-sector partnerships for food services, bookstore operations, conferencing and events, summer camps, and campus grounds rentals. Dr. Hicks’s over 30-year career path spans the fields of corporate law, aviation, professional sports, and academia, which is a testament to her extraordinary versatility and profound commitment to empowering individuals and communities alike. Dr. Hicks is a passionate advocate and visionary of women’s advancement. Her leadership at Zonta, International as Detroit I Club President has been transformative, addressing critical global challenges such as childhood marriage and sex trafficking, with unwavering resolve. Her passion for volunteerism is pivotal in national organizations like NACAS as the Central Region Board President (15 states), NASPA (Past Chair), the Women of Color STEM Conference as well as influential roles on the boards of the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan, the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Michigan, Leadership Oakland, Michigan ACE (Executive Institutional Representative) and an Advisory Member of the MI Diversity Council showcases her relentless pursuit of creating equitable and inclusive environments for all. A pioneering force in academia, Dr. Hicks made history as the first recipient of a Doctorate of Education from Oakland University, a landmark accomplishment that underscores her dedication to educational excellence and lifelong learning. This academic milestone, paired with her accolades as Faculty Research Scholar of the Year at the University of Phoenix, and two recent research grants for her work with adult learners and women’s initiatives, displays her profound impact as an educator and leader committed to fostering inclusivity and nurturing the growth of her students and colleagues. Dr. Hicks has been a guiding force, mentoring countless individuals across diverse career stages. She goes beyond conventional boundaries, championing diversity, awareness, professional excellence, an inspiring others to do the same. Dr. Hicks's professional development workshops and keynote addresses are engaging and filled with tools for effective relationship and career navigation. The journey of Dr. Hicks, marked by selfless sacrifices and a steadfast dedication to uplifting those around her, captures the very soul of leadership.





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