2022 West Michigan Women in Leadership Symposium
May 18, 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.
Woods, MD, MMM
Kristen Woods serves as the President of Mercy Health Physician Partners, West Michigan – a large, multispecialty medical group consisting of nearly 800 providers and 60 clinics. In this role, she has responsibility for strategy design, clinical and financial operations, leadership development, and cultural integration. Previously, she served as Vice President of Mercy Health Physician Partners, Muskegon - a 250-provider medical group with 42 clinics. In this role, she built a high-functioning administrative team, supported LEAN transformation, and implemented a culture of accountability. In addition, she collaboratively led the design, transition, and integration into a regional medical group. Prior to returning to Mercy Health Physician Partners, Dr. Woods held a medical director role for National Solutions, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Her responsibilities included collaborating with the BCBS Association and 36 other Blue Plans throughout the country to develop a national network of value-based provider programs. In addition, she served as a liaison between the sales and clinical teams to educate national employer groups on the local and national clinical programs that Blue Cross was leveraging to improve quality, reduce costs, and drive the transition to value-based reimbursement. Dr. Woods is board certified in family medicine and served 17 years in clinical practice at Mercy Health Physician Partners in Muskegon, Michigan. She has an extensive background in practice transformation having led the transformation to patient-centered medical homes in her community. She is a trained Executive Coach and a previously credentialled Insights Discovery® facilitator. She received her Masters of Medical Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz School of Business. In her personal time, she enjoys running, practicing yoga, learning piano, and cheering for her three children who play high school and college soccer.
Robyn serves as the first Director for the Ottawa County Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I), established in 2019. With over 280,000 residents and the fastest-growing county, the office convenes key relationships with the local community, business, and policy leaders, including local units of government, in order to lead and develop a DEI strategic plan. Robyn is responsible for assessing implicit bias in current policies and decision-making processes with a goal to operationalize DEI throughout the organization. Robyn serves on Shape Corporation’s Corporate Inclusion Advisory Board and was appointed to serve on the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) & Michigan Judicial Institute’s (MJI) D&I Committee). She serves on the National Association of Counties (NACo) DE&I Directors Network and is a Board of Education Trustee for the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD). Robyn is a co-author of, Becoming Like Creoles: Living and Leading at the Intersection of Injustice, Culture, and Religion (Fortress Press) and has spoken on national stages and consulted with high profile national and global projects through Afrik Advantage, a minority woman-owned business. Robyn is an adjunct professor at Hope College and co-founder of Women of Color (WOC) Give, a philanthropy collective and grant-making fund at the Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland Area for women of color and black, indigenous people of color (BIPOC) Leaders. Robyn has been recently named Top 100 Local Government Influencers, formerly the Traeger award by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) and CivicPlus. She’s been awarded the City of Holland, Human Relations Commission Government & Community Relations Social Justice Award for advancing the cause of racial equity in the city of Holland and the MPWRD Influential 2020 Leader Award. She’s a graduate of Cornerstone University, Michigan State University & holds multiple licenses and certifications, most recently a Public Leadership Certification from Cornell.
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tasha Blackmon is a dynamic, collaborative leader, mentor, and coach who brings more than 20 years of business operations experience to her role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Michigan’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Cherry Health provides integrated health care services to over 55,000 patients in Barry, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Ottawa, and Wayne counties. During her 16 years with Cherry Health, Blackmon has championed health justice through aggressively disrupting healthcare disparities. Her experience comes from an operational perspective, having established high standards of care utilizing a health equity lens to treat an individual’s health needs holistically, rather than symptomatically. She has led numerous large-scale expansion and development projects and held six positions within Cherry Health before becoming CEO in 2018. As an accomplished and mission-minded leader, it is imperative to Tasha that our community is healthier, one patient at a time. An eloquent and inspiring speaker, Tasha has a way of being heard on behalf of those who do not have voices, and for those whose voices have been silenced because of the barriers that they face. She is passionate and personally driven to ensure that all patients served in her home community, and surrounding areas, receive the highest quality of care.
Krista Flynn is the Head of Commercial Banking (Midwest) at PNC Bank. She has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, including Commercial Banking Market Manager, Middle Market Relationship Manager, Capital Markets Associate, Automotive Specialty Associate, and Credit Underwriter. Krista is on the Boards of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Grand Action 2.0, The Right Place, The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, West Michigan CEO Council, Talent 2025, Armed Forces Thanksgiving, and K-Connect. She also volunteers for and supports the Association for Corporate Growth Western Michigan and Kids’ Food Basket. Krista holds a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in Finance from Walsh College. She and her husband, Paul, live in Ada and have two sons. She enjoys golf, international travel, gardening, reading, and playing with her Boston Terriers.
Ana Jose accepted the position of Director of Business Development for Michigan Women Forward. As Director of Business Development, Ana is responsible for the oversight of MWF development efforts for West Michigan (Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Kalamazoo metropolitan areas). Her objective is to collaborate with other organizations while leading strategies to prospect, cultivate business relationships, and provide lending opportunities to small businesses in communities of focus. Ana Jose has served as Program Manager for the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in the Transformando West Michigan program from August 2018 to November 5, 2021. In that position, Ana played a vital role in collaborating with various community partners to build a curriculum to aid Hispanic business owners in the community in securing funding and education to grow their businesses and has provided oversight to ensure their success. As a former owner and operator of a mortgage and finance business, Ana recognizes the importance of showing individuals the value of investing in their stability as well as the value of learning to navigate formal resources to gain access to beneficial government programs. Ana’s professional experience and personal ties to the community make her an asset to the business owners in our communities of focus. Born and raised in a small Dominican province called Ingenio Consuelo, Ana understands the unique challenges facing business owners in the West Michigan community. Ana’s dedication to the community has been present throughout her career, as Ana accepted the new opportunity with Michigan Women Forward she is excited to ensure that women own businesses in our community are given an opportunity to grow.
Isabel is the Global Director of DEI and Talent Acquisition at Steelcase. She is responsible for strategizing, consulting, and providing direction to advance Steelcase DEI and Talent Acquisition Global efforts. Isabel has a solid career in Talent Management. Also, she had provided a broader business perspective when she was Managing Director of the Steelcase Global Business Center in Monterrey, Mexico, some years ago. Isabel holds her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the UANL in Mexico and a Master's in Strategy, Management, and Leadership from Michigan State University.
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.
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