Mentoring Mondays

Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - March 8, 2021 on March 8, 2021

Our Mentoring Mondays focus is three-fold: first, recognizing today as International Women’s Day; second, recognizing March as “reading month”; and third, recognizing Michigan women who have made a significant impact on issues facing our state.

Appropriately, let’s begin with -- Happy International Women’s Day!

A few days ago, Governor Whitmer issued a proclamation declaring the month of March as “Reading Month in Michigan.” In her press release, Governor Whitmer encouraged everyone to find time to read. This sparked an idea! Let’s recognize Michigan women authors to coincide with reading month and provide a reading list, which you will find at the end of this article. Our feature story is about Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of What the Eyes Don’t See, one of The New York Times 100 most notable books of 2018. You will recall that Dr. Hanna-Attisha was a speaker at our MI-ACE Annual Conference in 2018.

Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, professor, and public health advocate whose research exposed the Flint water crisis. Her research revealed children were exposed to dangerous levels of lead in Flint’s water supply. Commonly referred to as “Dr. Mona,” she is now the director of an initiative to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

Born Mona Hanna in Sheffield, England, Dr. Mona grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan and graduated from Kimball High School. Mona Hanna received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, her Master of Public Health degree in Health Management and Policy from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She completed her residency and chief residency at Wayne State University Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Dr. Mona is an associate professor at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Her husband, Elliott Attisha, is a pediatrician in Detroit, Michigan. They have two daughters.

On 24 September 2015, in a press conference at Flint’s Hurley Medical Center, Dr. Hanna-Attisha revealed that the blood lead levels of children living in Flint had doubled after the water was switched from the Detroit River to the Flint River in April 2014. It was later determined that the mean blood level of Flint children increased from 1.19 to 1.30 micrograms per deciliter in the calendar years before and during the switch to the Flint River for city water supply.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha conducted her research after talking to a high-school friend, Elin Warn Betanzo, a former Environmental Protection Agency Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water employee and water engineer. Betanzo told Hanna-Attisha that Marc Edwards, a water engineer and professor from Virginia Tech and his team of Flint Water Study researchers, found high levels of lead in Flint residents’ homes. Even though Hanna-Attisha was not provided the data she sought from the State of Michigan, she used hospital electronic medical records as data for her study.

At a risk to her career, Hanna-Attisha revealed her findings at the 24 September 2015 press conference before her research was scientifically peer reviewed, because of the public health implications. Hanna-Attisha’s findings were later published in the American Journal of Public Health. Her findings were confirmed in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July 2016, and is recognized as an underestimate of exposure.

At Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s 24 September 2015 press conference she urged residents, particularly children, to stop drinking the water, to end Flint River as a water source as soon as possible and urged the City of Flint to issue a health advisory. A day after Dr. Hanna-Attisha released her study, Flint issued a health advisory advising residents, particularly children, to minimize exposure to Flint tap water. The water source was switched back to the Detroit River on 16 October 2015. Later, the City of Flint, the State of Michigan and the United States made emergency declarations. There is more to Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s story at

March Reading List

  • What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
  • The Summer Cottage, by Viola Shipman
  • Once Upon a River, by Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • The Goddess Test (series #1), by Aimee Carter
  • Goddess Interrupted (series #2), by Aimee Carter
  • Murder in the Margins, by Margaret Louden
  • Secret Detroit: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, by Karen Dybis
  • Know the Mother, by Desiree Cooper
  • Lighthouse Paradox, by D. Ann Kelley
  • In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope, by Rana Awdish
  • Last Turn Home, by Lara Alspaugh
  • We Hope for Better Things, by Erin Bartels
  • Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life & Home, by Amy Haimerl
  • The Orphan Daughter, by Cari Noga
  • Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie, by Susan J. Bandes
  • A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging, by Kate Motaung
  • Once on This Island, by Gloria Whelan
  • A Wedding in Truhart, by Cynthia Tennent

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - March 8, 2021 on March 8, 2021.

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23 Powerful Tips to Help Women Leaders Succeed

Every year on March 8, thousands of events are traditionally held across the globe in recognition of International Women's Day . The history of International Women's Day (IWD) runs deep. Its roots go back to the early 1900s as a day created to inspire and honor women and celebrate their accomplishments.

Today, IWD continues to deliver an important message about many of the equality issues that affect women worldwide. It's a call for significant changes in all facets of life--such as increased financial independence for women, the need for more women in leadership roles, growth of women-owned businesses, and support for women in science, engineering and technology--just to name a few.


"Choose to Challenge” is this year's International Women's Day theme, which is particularly inspiring and representative of the times. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let us all choose to challenge.

How will you help forge a gender equal world?

Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.


Following are 23 tips from business owners and leaders over the past two decades:

1)  Find a trusted adviser and ask to be mentored. Whether it is an individual or an advisory peer group, never stop seeking input from others.

2)  Focus on what you are grateful for--take notes, journal, make lists. This is important to help you remain positive.

3)  Keep an open mind. Come to understand a situation by asking better questions. Judgment and assumptions will only impede your progress and alienate you from others.

4)  Where there is a will--there is always a way. Set personal and business goals often. Dream big and visualize your success.

5)  Follow the Golden Rule: Take care of your employees and your employees will take care of your business (which in turn, will take care of your bottom line).

6)  Always do your best work; you never know who is watching.

7)  Do what it takes to "know thyself." Understand your strengths and vulnerabilities. A large majority of leaders fail or derail in their career because they lack interpersonal skills.

8)  Always go for the win-win in any situation. Collaboration over competition.

9)  Show Appreciation. "Face to face" words of encouragement for a job well done costs nothing to give, yet the ROI is invaluable.

10)  Observe what is going on outside of your industry. An awareness of business and cultural trends can help spark creativity and innovation.

11)  Your most challenging relationships--be it clients, employees, colleagues, friends or family--are an invitation for personal growth.

12)  People operate from 90 percent emotion and 10 percent logic. [Note: see #7--Interpersonal skills and a strong sense of emotional intelligence are important keys to success].

13)  Surround yourself with people who have skills, talents and styles differing from your own.

14)  Always look at the big picture first, then the details.

15)  Do not take work that does not resonate with your core beliefs just for the money, it is never worth it.

16)  As long as there is a victim or a villain there is no peace.

17)  Meditate or practice the art of mindfulness. In today's 24/7 plugged-in culture, it is more important than ever to seek moments of stillness and introspection.

18)  Continually educate yourself, personally and professionally. Make time to follow your creative passions outside of your work.

19) Trust your intuition—it is most often right.

20)  Be aware of your beliefs and be open to shifting your perspective in order to view the world in a new light.

21)  Never underestimate the power of networking.

22)  Cash flow is king--got to have it.

23)  Take responsibility no matter what is happening. Do not shift the blame or play the victim.


Next week, we will begin our monthly segment focusing on “Women in Leadership in Michigan.” 


Resource: Excerpts from post (23 tips from Susan Steinbrecher, March 2015) 

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - March 1, 2021 on March 1, 2021.

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As we close out Black History month and our salute to Black women history makers, this week’s focus is on Michigan Women’s Hall of Famer, Dr. Alexa Irene Canady. Many of us know her story but it is always an inspiration to read and reflect on the challenges she faced and her determined efforts to fulfill her goals and dreams.

 Alexa Irene Canady was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Elizabeth Hortense (Golden) Canady and Dr. Clinton Canady, Jr. Her mother was an educator and former national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She spent years being active in civic affairs within the city of Lansing and was the first African American to be elected to the Lansing Board of Education. Alexa’s father was a dentist. Her parents attended Fisk University, where they met and later married on her mother's 19th birthday right before her father's deployment during World War II.

Canady and her younger brother were raised outside of Lansing and were the only two African American students in their school. She faced prejudice in school; in one instance, a family member who was training in psychology tested her at a young age for intelligence, and when she scored highly on the exam, her family was surprised because her performance in school was only average. They later discovered that her teacher had been switching her test scores with a white student to cover up her intelligence. Despite the many obstacles throughout her school years Alexa stood out among her peers academically, both in the classroom and by earning high scores on her tests in school.

Alexa attended the University of Michigan where she received her B.S. degree in zoology in 1971. Her time at the University of Michigan was not without its struggles; she almost dropped out of college at one point due to a "crisis of confidence." She had originally chosen to major in mathematics but she soon realized that math was not her passion. Then she learned of a minority health careers program at her university and decided to pursue it. This program helped her realize that her passion was in the medical field. She would then go on to receive her M.D. with cum laude honors from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1975, where she joined the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society. While in medical school, she was also recognized by the American Medical Women's Association.

Although she initially had an interest in internal medicine, Dr. Canady decided on neurosurgery after falling in love with neurology during her first two years of medical school. She settled on this specialty against the recommendations of her advisors. Knowing that gaining a residency as a Black student would be difficult, Canady began building her résumé, reading many articles and attending every conference and seminar she could, sometimes asking questions just to get known in the small field. Her appreciation for the fluidity of human anatomy would serve her well in her competitive field.

Dr. Canady then became a surgical intern at the Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1975–1976, rotating under Dr. William F. Collins. Although an exceptional student, she still faced prejudice and discriminatory comments as she was both the first Black and female intern in the program.  On her first day as an intern, she was told, "you must be our new equal-opportunity package."  Despite these prejudices, she was voted one of the top residents by her fellow physicians.

After completing her internship, Alexa went to the University of Minnesota for her residency, becoming the first female African-American neurosurgery resident in the United States. She has stated that she was not focused on the history she was making, but the significance of her accomplishments and what it meant for other African-Americans and women in medicine.

Dr. Canady specialized in pediatric neurosurgery and was the chief of neurosurgery at the Children's Hospital in Michigan from 1987 until her partial retirement in 2001. She became the first African-American woman to be a board-certified Neurosurgeon in 1984. She also conducted research and was a professor of neurosurgery at Wayne State University. After her retirement, Dr. Canady moved to Florida and maintained a part-time practice at Pensacola's Sacred Heart Hospital until her full retirement in January 2012. 

Dr. Alexa Irene Canady

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - February 22, 2021 on February 22, 2021.

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We often hear of the great and courageous African American pioneers of history. However, this week, we want to share the story of a young contemporary “history maker.” In keeping with the IDEALS of the MI-ACE Women’s Network, we want to instill in our young women that they too can be history makers. This week, our story is about Vernice Armour.

Known simply as “Fly Girl,” Vernice Armour went from beat cop to combat pilot in three years.  Within months of earning her wings, she found herself flying over the deserts of Iraq, supporting the men and women on the ground. In March of 2003, she became the first African American female combat pilot. Vernice completed two combat tours in the Gulf. Afterwards, she was assigned to the Manpower and Reserve Affairs Equal Opportunity Branch as program liaison officer.

This is how it all started: In 1993, while still a student at Middle Tennessee State University, Vernice enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and later entered into the U.S. Army’s ROTC.  In 1966, she took time off from college to become a Nashville police officer – her childhood dream.  She became the first female African-American officer on the motorcycle squad.

After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University in 1997, Vernice moved to Arizona and served as a police officer on the force in Tempe. Shortly thereafter, she joined the U.S. Marines as an Officer Candidate and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on December 12, 1998. She went on to flight school at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. After graduating from flight school number one in her class of twelve, Vernice went on to become the Marine Corps’ first African American pilot.

Following her combat tours, Vernice left the Marine Corps in 2007 and began a new career as a professional speaker and expert on creating “breakthroughs” in life. This bold and fierce woman is now an inspiration to thousands of individuals and corporate leaders. Learn more about her extraordinary story and the principles that she outlines in her book “Zero to Breakthrough:  The 7-Step Battle-Tested Method of Accomplishing Goals that Matter” –  an incredible success plan.

Through her keynotes, executive and group coaching, seminars and executive retreats, Vernice conveys her message of Zero to Breakthrough utilizing her unique insight and life strategy:  “You have permission to engage!” What an amazing story of service and leadership.

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - February 15, 2021 on February 15, 2021.

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In recognition of Black History Month, we will be sharing information about notable women history makers and historical events in the lives of African Americans during February. This week, we begin with a speech by Sojourner Truth, delivered in 1851 at a women’s rights conference held in Akron, Ohio. The historical account of this event begins as follows:

“The event had been dominated by male speakers who spoke eloquently about the delicate nature of women and the superior intellect of men, Eve’s role in committing the “original sin” and Christ’s masculine nature: that is, that if God had desired the equality of women this would be reflected in the birth, life and death of the Savior. Few women dared to speak, the men in the audience were enjoying seeing the arguments for female suffrage demolished and there was consternation when the freed slave and abolitionist campaigner, Sojourner Truth, took the stage, partly because people feared that she would hijack the meeting for the abolitionist cause. In a few short statements, she turned the tables on the self-satisfied men.”


“Ain’t I a Woman?”  [Re-print without the dialect]

“Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter.  I think that between the Negroes of the South and the women of the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon.  But what is all this here talking about?

That man over there said that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere.  Nobody ever helped me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gave me any best place!

And ain’t I a woman?  Look at me!  Look at my arms! I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!  And ain’t I a woman?  I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and I could bear the lash as well!  And ain’t I a woman?  I have borne 13 children, and seen most of them all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head: what do they call it?  (Intellect, whispers someone near her)  That’s it, honey.  What’s that got to do with women’s rights or Negro’s rights?  If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he say women can’t have as much right as men, because Christ wasn’t a woman!  Where did your Christ come from?  (Directed at a minister who had made that argument) Where did your Christ come from?  From God and a woman!  Man had nothing to do with Him.

. . . If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!  And now they are asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner has nothing more to say.”


 Biography of Sojourner Truth

 A former slave, Sojourner Truth became an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance, and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century. Her Civil War work earned her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Truth was born Isabella Bomfree, a slave in Dutch-speaking Ulster County, New York in 1797. She was bought and sold four times, and subjected to harsh physical labor and violent punishments. In her teens, she was united with another slave with whom she had five children, beginning in 1815. In 1827, a year before New York’s law freeing slaves was to take effect, Truth ran away with her infant Sophia to a nearby abolitionist family, the Van Wageners. The family bought her freedom for twenty dollars and helped Truth successfully sue for the return of her five-year-old-son Peter, who was illegally sold into slavery in Alabama.

Truth moved to New York City in 1828, where she worked for a local minister. By the early 1830s, she participated in the religious revivals that were sweeping the state and became a charismatic speaker. In 1843, she declared that the Spirit called on her to preach the truth, renaming herself Sojourner Truth.

As an itinerant preacher, Truth met abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.  Garrison’s anti-slavery organization encouraged Truth to give speeches about the evils of slavery. She never learned to read or write. In 1850, she dictated what would become her autobiography, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, to Olive Gilbert, who assisted in its publication. Truth survived on sales of the book, which also brought her national recognition. She met women’s rights activists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, as well as temperance advocates, both causes she quickly championed.

In 1851, Truth began a lecture tour that included a women’s rights conference in Akron, Ohio, where she delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. In it, she challenged prevailing notions of racial and gender inferiority and inequality by reminding listeners of her combined strength (Truth was nearly six feet tall) and female status. Truth ultimately split with Douglass, who believed suffrage for formerly enslaved men should come before women’s suffrage; she thought both should occur simultaneously.

During the 1850’s, Truth settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, where three of her daughters lived. She continued speaking nationally and helped slaves escape to freedom. When the Civil War started, Truth urged young men to join the Union cause and organized supplies for black troops. After the war, she was honored with an invitation to the White House and became involved with the Freedmen’s Bureau, helping freed slaves find jobs and build new lives. While in Washington, DC, she lobbied against segregation, and in the mid-1860s, when a streetcar conductor tried to violently block her from riding, she ensured his arrest and won her subsequent case. In the late 1860s, she collected thousands of signatures on a petition to provide former slaves with land, though Congress never took action. Nearly blind and deaf towards the end of her life, Truth spent her final years in Michigan.

Sojourner Truth

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - February 8, 2021 on February 8, 2021.

Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 25, 2021 on January 25, 2021

Departing from our plan for this week which was to focus on women leaders in the Biden Administration, we shift our focus to highlight an inspirational segment during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony. For those of you unable to spend the day on Wednesday watching the inaugural activities, you missed an opportunity to witness the making of a future woman leader.  Young 22-year old Amanda Gorman, Poet, captured the nation’s attention and heart with her poem “The Hill We Climb.” We would like to share the reprint with you.


“The Hill We Climb”

When day comes we ask ourselves,

Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.

We’ve braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.

And the norms and notions of what just is

isn’t always just-ice.


And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.

Somehow we do it.

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

A nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time,

where a skinny Black girl

descended from slaves and raised by a single mother

can dream of becoming president,

only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes we are far from polished,

far from pristine,

but that doesn’t mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge a union with purpose,

to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and

conditions of man.


And so we lift our gazes, not to what stands between us,

but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms

so we can reach out our arms

to one another.

We seek harm to none, and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

not because we will never again know defeat,

but because we will never again sow division.


Scripture tells us to envision

that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid.

If we’re to live up to our own time,

then victory won’t lie in the blade

but in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade

the hill we climb

if only we dare it.


Because being American is more than a pride we inherit.

It’s the past we step into

and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy,

and this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth,

in this faith we trust.


For while we have our eyes on the future,

history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption

we feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour,

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter,

to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So, while we once we asked,

How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now, we assert,

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was,

but move to what shall be.

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free.

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation,

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens.


But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy

and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left with.


Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest.

We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.

We will rise from the windswept northeast,

where our forefathers first realized revolution.

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.

We will rise from the sun-baked south.

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover,

and every known nook of our nation and

and every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid.

The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.


Amanda S. C. Gorman is an American poet and activist from Los Angeles. Her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. Gorman was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. She published the poetry book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough in 2015. In 2021, she delivered her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden.

Amanda Gorman

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 25, 2021 on January 25, 2021.

Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 18, 2021 on January 18, 2021

We salute our women leaders in Government today by looking at those nominated to hold US Presidential Cabinet Secretary positions. Michigan is well represented with former Governor Jennifer Granholm’s nomination as Secretary of Energy. Nominations are pending Senate confirmation.

Jennifer Mulhern Granholm is an American politician, lawyer, educator, author, and political commentator. A member of the Democratic Party, Granholm was Attorney General of Michigan from 1999 to 2003 and the 47th governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011. In January 2017, she was hired as a CNN political contributor. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Granholm moved from Canada to California at age four. She graduated from San Carlos High School and briefly attempted an acting career, then held a variety of jobs before attending the University of California, Berkeley. Granholm earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984 and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She ran for Governor in 2002 to succeed Republican John Engler, defeating Engler's Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus to become Michigan's first female governor on January 1, 2003. Granholm was re-elected to a second term in 2006 against Republican businessman Dick DeVos and served until January 1, 2011, when she left office due to state term-limits. She was a member of the presidential transition team for Barack Obama before he assumed office in January 2009. Biden picks Granholm for Secretary of Energy

Debra Anne Haaland is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative from New Mexico's 1st congressional district since 2019. The district includes most of Albuquerque, along with most of its suburbs. Haaland is a former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. Along with Sharice Davids, she is one of the first two Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress. Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo and a 35th-generation New Mexican. A political progressive, Haaland supports the movements to abolish ICE and to implement the Green New Deal and Medicare For All. On December 17, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would nominate Haaland to serve as United States Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed, she would become the first Native American to run the Department of the Interior, and the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

Marcia Louise Fudg e has been the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 11th congressional district since 2008. A member of the Democratic Party, she won the 2008 special election uncontested, succeeding Stephanie Tubbs Jones who died in office. Fudge was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 113th Congress. President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Fudge as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. A 1971 graduate of Shaker Heights High School, she earned her Bachelor of Science in business from Ohio State University in 1975.  In 1983, she earned a Juris Doctor from Cleveland State UniversityCleveland–Marshall College of Law. Immediately after college, Fudge worked as a law clerk and studied legal research. She also worked in the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office as Director of Budget and Finance, as an auditor for the county's estate tax department, and has occasionally served as a visiting judge and chief referee for arbitration. Fudge was the first African American female mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, from January 2000 until November 18, 2008. Her 1999 campaign was her first run for any elected office. Fudge served as chief of staff to U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones during Jones's first term in Congress. She has also served on the board of trustees for the Cleveland Public Library.

Janet Louise Yellen is an American economist who was the 15th chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to hold this role. She was vice-chair of the Reserve from 2010 to 2014. President-elect Joe Biden has announced that he will nominate Yellen to serve in his Cabinet as  Secretary of the Treasury. Yellen was a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1994 to 1997 and again from 2010 to 2018. She chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 1999 and was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010. In 2014, Yellen was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve. She served one term from 2014 to 2018 and was not re-appointed by President Donald Trump. As of November 2020, Yellen was a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is a professor emerita at Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Gina Marie Raimondo is an American politician and venture capitalist who is, since 2015, the 75th governor of Rhode Island. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the first woman to serve as governor of Rhode Island. Before her election, Raimondo served as general treasurer of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015 and was the second woman to hold the office. She was selected as the Democratic candidate for Rhode Island's governorship in the 2014 election. Raimondo won the election on November 4, 2014, with 41% of the vote, in a three-way race, against the mayor of Cranston, Republican Allan Fung, and businessman Robert Healey. President-elect Biden picks Raimondo for Secretary of Commerce

If you are interested in reading more about these amazing women, links to their full biographies have been provided.


Jennifer Mulhern Granholm

Debra Anne Haaland

Marcia Louise Fudge

Janet Louise Yellen

Gina Marie Raimondo

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 18, 2021 on January 18, 2021.

Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 11, 2021 on January 11, 2021

To continue our recognition of women in significant governmental positions, this week we will look at the “Women Who Speak for Biden” (excerpts from a reprint from USA Today ). This marks the first time that women will hold all of the communications positions for the White House. Each has extensive experience and are accustomed to working with each other.

Jen Psaki will lead the communications team asWhite House Press Secretary – Psaki is a veteran of President Obama’s administration and has overseen the confirmation team for Biden’s transition. Her training as State Department spokesman is among the best. As communications director in 2015 and 2016, Psaki reorganized the White House approach to media with more attention for non-traditional and online outlets. She served as traveling press secretary for Obama during his reelection campaign.

Karine Jean-Pierre will serve asPrincipal Deputy Press Secretary – Karine was a senior advisor on the Biden campaign, and was chief of staff to Kamala Harris. She was chief public affairs officer for and a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. Jean-Pierre was regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama-Biden administration and served as deputy battleground states director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Kate Bedingfield will beWhite House Communications Director – Bedingfield served as communications director for Biden when he was vice president and associate communications director, deputy director of media affairs and the director of response in the Obama-Biden White House. Before joining the Biden White House team, Bedingfield was communications director to Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) on her successful 2008 Senate campaign, along with other roles on Democratic campaigns.

Pili Tobar will be Deputy White House Communications Director – Tobar served as communications director for coalitions on the Biden-Harris campaign. She was deputy director for America’s Voice, where she advocated on behalf of immigrants. She was the Hispanic media director for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, national director of Hispanic media and western regional press secretary for the Democratic National committee, communications director for U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), and communications director for the Latino Victory Project. 

Ashley Etienne will serve as Communications Director for the Vice President – Etienne was a senior advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign. She was the first woman and person of color to hold the position of communications director to the House Speaker. Etienne was special assistant to the president and director of communications for the Cabinet in the Obama-Biden administration and led communications on President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.  

Symone Sanders will be Senior Adviser and Chief Spokesperson for the Vice President. Four years ago, she worked for Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign as press secretary, the youngest person ever in that role for a presidential campaign. Before joining the Biden-Harris campaign, Sanders was a CNN political commentator and principal of the 360 Group, where she provided strategic communication guidance. Sanders is the former chair of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice Emerging Leaders Committee and former member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice.  

Elizabeth Alexander will serve as Communications Director for the First Lady – Alexander was a senior advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign. She spent the first years of the Obama-Biden administration as press secretary to Vice President Biden after serving as his communications director on Capitol Hill when he was a senator.

We extend congratulations to these women and look forward to seeing and hearing more from them in the future.


Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 11, 2021 on January 11, 2021.

Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 4, 2021 on January 4, 2021

Greetings MI-ACE Members & Happy New Year!

We are all pleased to have the year 2020 in our rearview mirrors. Although the challenges caused by COVID-19 still remain, we look forward to this new year with renewed hope that the vaccines will prove to be an effective solution to the global pandemic.

The MI-ACE Women’s Network will continue its commitment to improving the general climate and professional environment for women by identifying, developing the leadership of, encouraging, advancing, linking and supporting women in higher education across the state.

Mentoring Mondays will remain focused on bringing you professional development opportunities and leadership strategies; however, we would also like to recognize and honor women in leadership roles who have shattered glass ceilings throughout history and more recently. Each month from January through May, we will highlight the significant accomplishments of women throughout the state and nationally. During the month of January, our focus is on women in government, especially women within President-elect Joe Biden’s Administration and Cabinet. What better way to begin than by celebrating the first female Vice President of the United States of America, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

Kamala Devi Harris, an American politician, is the first female Vice President-elect in the history of the United States. She is the junior United States Senator from the State of California. Prior to her election to the Senate, she was Attorney General of California. A member of the Democratic Party, she will become the 41st person (and first ever female) to serve as Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2021. To read her full biography, please go to

Congratulations Madam Vice President-elect! The MI-ACE Women’s Network salutes your accomplishment.

In support of Kamala Harris, let us wear our glass ceiling pins and pearls on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - January 4, 2021 on January 4, 2021.

Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - Farewell 2020 on December 28, 2020

On behalf of the Mentoring Mondays’ team and the Executive Board of the MI-ACE Women’s Network, this close-out entry for 2020 is something to ponder as we look ahead to the coming year. We strive always to be a diverse and inclusive Network and it helps to remind ourselves often of the needs of our membership. Enjoy the message below and thank you for your commitment and service: 

“A Message to our Leaders”

“Leaders, if you want my loyalty, interest, and best efforts as a group member, you must take into account the fact that:

  • I need a sense of belonging. A feeling that no one objects to my presence. A feeling that I am sincerely welcome.
  • I need to have a share in planning the group goals. My needs will be satisfied only when I feel that my ideas have had a fair hearing.
  • I need to feel that the goals are within reach and that they make sense to me.
  • I need to feel that what I am doing contributes to human welfare.
  • I need to know what is expected of me so that I can work confidently.
  • I need to have responsibilities that challenge and contribute to my growth as an emerging leader.
  • I need to be confident in you as my leader and the assurance of consistent and fair treatment, of recognition when it is due, and trust that loyalty will bring increased security. 

In brief, the situation in which I find myself must make sense to me regardless of how much sense it makes to you.”   ~ Author Unknown

Here’s to moving forward together in 2021 . . .

Posted on Permanent link for Mentoring Mondays - Farewell 2020 on December 28, 2020.

Page last modified March 8, 2021