2022 Michigan Women in Leadership Symposium
March 29, 2022
8:00 AM - 12:30 PM (ET)
Paragon of Womanhood: Restoration, Reintegration & Reemergence
This year’s symposium will explore the ways women can reintegrate, restore and reemerge. With a renewed drive and focus on redefining womanhood, women are adapting and becoming flexible to changing tides in work structure, pay equity, and interpersonal relationships. As we embark on two decades of progress, the Women in Leadership Symposium highlights the legacy of excellence and advocacy for women’s equality in workplaces and communities.
Florine Mark was born and raised in Detroit. She lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers while traveling back and forth to New York. Eventually, Florine brought Weight Watchers to Detroit, where she started her first meeting. Florine continued to acquire franchises in 13 states, Canada and Mexico. As the largest franchise holder of Weight Watchers International, she employed over 4,200 people. As committed as Florine is to her business, she is equally involved in improving the lives of others. She shares her time and experience with several organizations; including Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Institute for Children, Business Leaders of Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber, Henry Ford Health System, University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, Women of Tomorrow, and several others. She is also an active board member of the Michigan Fitness Foundation and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports, and the Governor’s Economic Council Advisory Board. Florine has used her business vision and experience in other ways as well. She was elected in 2001, to the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In this role, she helped advance women in national and international leadership and public policy. She has served as the Chair of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago, and on the Board of Directors for English Gardens. Florine’s work has been recognized and praised by many organizations. Among her many accolades, she received the ‘Entrepreneurial Visionary Award’ by the Women’s Business Center; was listed among the ‘100 Most Influential Women in Detroit’ by Crain’s Detroit Business; named Oakland County’s Executive of the Year; and was among the 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World. And finally, in October 2004, Florine became the first female recipient of the Neil Shine Lifetime Achievement Award. Florine recently sold her WW franchise to WW International. She is currently serving as a WW ambassador, Wellness Influencer, Author of “Talk to the Mirror”, Podcast Host for “Today’s Takeaway with Florine Mark”, and a well-known Motivational Speaker. Florine has recently launched her new “Remarkable YOU Motivational Tour”.
Linda Apsey is President and CEO for ITC Holdings Corp. In this role, she is responsible for the strategic vision and overall business operation of ITC and its subsidiaries. Previously, Ms. Apsey served as Executive Vice President and Chief Business Unit Officer, leading all aspects of the financial and operational performance of the company. Ms. Apsey also served as Executive Vice President, Chief Business Officer, and President of ITC Michigan where she was responsible for the company's regulatory, marketing and communications, federal, state, and local government affairs, and human resource functions. Ms. Apsey was Manager of Transmission Policy and Business Planning for ITC when the organization was a subsidiary of DTE Energy. Prior to that role, she held a variety of positions at Detroit Edison including Manager of Regulatory Relations, where she was responsible for developing and managing regulatory and communications activities with the Michigan Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Ms. Apsey earned a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in public affairs management from Michigan State University. She is a member of the Business Roundtable and Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and serves on the boards of ITC Holdings Corp., Fortis Alberta, Business Leaders for Michigan, Detroit Economic Club, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Henry Ford, Nature Conservancy (Michigan), Eli Broad College of Business Alumni and Broad College Alumni Advisory at Michigan State University. She is a past member of the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee and Transmission Subcommittee, Michigan Chamber Board of Directors, and the Board of Trustees for Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. In addition, she is past Chair of The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) and past President of the Novi Parks Foundation.
Robin Carter currently serves as Oakland County’s first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and previously held the title as executive director of diversity equity and inclusion for Rochester Community Schools. Robin’s diverse background provides a lens of equity that intersects with multiple perspectives and identities. Her experiences include supporting National AIDS Education Services for Minorities (NAESM) and LGBTQ education, as well as a high school classroom teacher, and program director and lecturer at the University of Michigan-Flint School of Health Professions and Studies. Carter-Cooper’s experience in cultivating welcoming, diverse, and inclusive cultures throughout all aspects of organizations and institutions has provided her with the ability to lead teams to elevate inclusiveness and implement best practices related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Carter-Cooper has developed and facilitated various social justice topics as well as presented at several conferences such as the Facing Race National Conference, National Education Association Center for Social Justice and Human Rights (NEA), as well as local organizations like Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce Infused 365. Her passion, commitment, and track record of success in creating sustainable cultures around DEI have led her to speak, moderate, and serve as a panelist for discussions around equity, access, and social justice. Carter-Cooper, a Flint native and Genesee County resident, received her undergraduate degree from Georgia State University, graduate degree from Central Michigan University, and her Education Specialist postmasters from Oakland University. She is also a certified diversity practitioner CDP and was honored in 2019 by Crain’s Detroit Business as a member of its “Most Notable Women in Educational Leadership.”
Thania Esquivel began her career on the account team at the BBDO agency, where she led a team that provided full-service advertising and marketing support to the Chrysler Group in Canada. While managing the Fleet, Mopar, Retail Performance Solutions, and Shows & Meetings operations, she developed the leadership acumen and diverse skillset that propelled her to her current position. Today, Thania is the Director of Global Marketing at Gentherm, a world leader in thermal management technology serving the automotive, medical, and electronics industries. In addition to defining product and brand marketing strategies, overseeing budgets and analytics, her responsibilities include spearheading the development and execution of strategic programs to promote the Gentherm brand on a global scale.
Kristen Holt is leading GreenPath Financial Wellness toward a bold vision: remixing the American dream so that it works for everyone. She believes that financial wellness is a cornerstone of people’s ability to achieve their full potential, and that improved access to better financial tools and services will improve the lives of all Americans and can be achieved through collaboration, networked communities and human-centered design. Kristen brings a lifetime of experience and insight to this work. Her career — leading global corporate enterprises, managing mergers & acquisitions, and helping to transform complex, traditional nonprofits into innovative organizations, prepared her for the financial wellness work of GreenPath. She is experienced in business, management, partnerships, human-centered design processes and collaborative methodologies. She is passionate and driven to empower all people to take control of their finances, so that they can pursue their dreams. Her leadership sets a tone of integrity, compassion and a deep commitment to positive change in the world. Kristen is a CPA and earned her MBA from the University of Michigan. Kristen credits her parents and her “financial upbringing” — which emphasized savings and living debt-free — for setting her on a path to support people in building their own financial well-being.
In her role as Chief Human Resource Officer & Senior Vice President, Ane McNeil is responsible for leading the human resource strategy to engage and serve more than 26,000 colleagues working across Michigan, Georgia, and Florida. Ane provides strategic direction, vision, oversight, and guidance in the integration of regional and national HR strategy and HR leadership practices across her assigned service areas, all in alignment with Trinity Health's goals and objectives. Ane has had a positive and sustaining effect on Trinity Health since her arrival at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in 2005. In 2012, she was named vice president of human resources for the hospital and in 2014 she was appointed regional chief human resource officer for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. In January 2018, Ane assumed leadership responsibilities for Grand Rapids-based Mercy Health System, making her the lead HR executive in the state of Michigan. In October 2019, Ane expanded her role further to include Trinity Health's Georgia and Florida markets. Over the last several years, Ane has led an evidence-based talent acquisition program designed to improve the quality of new hires by eliminating bias in the hiring process. In 2018, the program reduced the time it takes to fill positions by 14 percent, increased minority hires by 20 percent, reduced first-year turnover by nearly 6 percent, and saved an estimated two to three million dollars a year. Under Ane’s leadership, Evidence-Based Selection is being scaled across Trinity Health Michigan, Georgia, and Florida, along with a strong commitment to expanding workforce development programs by creating pathways for underserved populations and those in professional roles to upskill their talents. In recent years, Ane has also taken on a growing portfolio of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) work. She works closely with operational and HR leaders at all levels to develop and drive D&I strategy across the enterprise. Her leadership has encouraged hospitals to mirror the communities they serve in both governance and talent, create inclusive and culturally welcoming environments for patients and colleagues, promote a more diverse supply chain, and advance efforts to eliminate health disparities. In 2019, Ane was named a "Notable Woman in HR" by Crain's Detroit Business and led an HR team that was recognized by Crain's for "Overall HR Excellence/HR Team of the Year." In 2021, Ane was recognized as a Chief Human Resource Officer of the Year Award Finalist by HRO Today Magazine and one of the "Women Who Move Detroit and Grand Rapids" by Hour Detroit Magazine. Ane holds a bachelor's degree in human resource development and labor and employment relations from Oakland University. She has a combined 20 years' experience in managing human resources and organizational development within the health care and automotive industries.
Darlene King began her career with the Michigan Diversity Council-MIDC, a division of the National Diversity Council, in 2015. As the executive director, her charge is working with corporations and organizations in developing diversity and inclusion initiatives, programs, processes, and procedures. She also oversees the growth of the council in the area of business development throughout the entire state of Michigan. Prior to her tenure with the MIDC, she held the role of director of events, consultant services, training and development for all 34 school districts under the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency for over 10 years. Her territory covered implementation and execution of all workshops and conference as well as maintaining CEU’s for teachers and administrators within Wayne County MI. She managed more than 60 consultants as well as county-wide, signature events such as the Teacher Job Fair, County K-12 Art Fair and the Cultural Collaborative for Learning. Darlene was also an inaugural member of the Diversity Strategic Planning Committee, which rolled out a county-wide diversity plan for all districts. Darlene’s background is widespread. She spent six years as a national concert promoter, traveling around the world with some of today’s most popular artists in the industry. She has produced and promoted shows at every concert venue in Detroit and beyond. In 2008, she launched her consulting company, Life’s Journey Training and Consulting. Competing in today's global market, Life’s Journey offers services in industries ranging from education to automotive, medical, non-profits and manufacturing. Its area of expertise consists of diversity and inclusion, leadership development, marketing, and public relations. Life’s Journey has provided service deliverables to Wayne County Head Start Programs, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, The Order of the Fisherman, The Detroit Medical Center, Revival Home Health Care, RTM Music Group, Real Times Media, Stonecrest Behavioral Health, Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Universal Studios, Detroit Community Schools, MASCO Corporation, Diversity Lansing and many more. Darlene is a native of Michigan and enjoys spending time with her family, nephews and niece. She says her faith in God, family, passion for people and her love of traveling and gardening are the drivers which keep her on a Life’s Journey. Darlene has a passion for people and earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Wayne State University in Detroit. She has been operating in this capacity as well as in education and organizational development for 25 years. Darlene earned her National Certification as a Certified Diversity and Inclusion Professional in 2018.
Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence represents Michigan’s 14th Congressional District that includes a portion of Detroit, the City of Southfield, and 16 other cities located in Oakland and Wayne counties. Living in the 14th District her entire life, she was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2014 and has been re-elected in 2016 and 2018. Congresswoman Lawrence serves as Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and 2nd Vice-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She’s the Vice-Chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and serves on the subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, Education (LHHS), subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and the subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG). She is also a member of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform where she serves on the subcommittee on Government Operations. Born and raised in Detroit, Congresswoman Lawrence is a product of Michigan’s public-school system. She is an alumna of Pershing High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. Before she began her career in public service, the Congresswoman had a notable career with the U.S. Postal Service. In November of 2001, Congresswoman was elected as Mayor of the City of Southfield. She was the first African American and the first woman to serve in that position. She previously served on the Southfield City Council, where she was elected President in 1999. Additionally, she sat on the Southfield Public School Board of Education where she served as President, Vice President, and Secretary. Congresswoman Lawrence and her husband, McArthur Lawrence, are the proud parents of Michael and Michelle. They also adore one granddaughter, Asya.
Award Nomination Woman of the Year.
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