2023 Michigan Women in Leadership Symposium
March 21, 2023
8:00 AM - 12:30 PM (ET)
Rising in Resilience: Achieving Empowerment Through Advancement & Adaptability
This year’s symposium theme is "Rising in Resilience: Achieving Empowerment through Advancement & Adaptability.” Despite advances over the past several years, women continue to be underrepresented in the C-Suite and executive leadership teams of businesses across the nation. By bringing together successful women leaders, we hope to educate, inspire, and encourage attendees to reflect on their goals and status as they strive to advance in their organizations.
LaTrice McClendon is a dedicated community leader. The Detroit native is the Detroit Market Executive and the Community President for Detroit at Huntington National Bank. In this role, she oversees a $1 billion strategic development plan and execution of corporate community initiatives in partnership with community leaders and city officials. Before joining Huntington, LaTrice was appointed District Manager for the Department of Neighborhoods under Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. As the mayor's representative, she worked with Detroit constituents to address quality-of-life concerns and create growth opportunities for the residents and businesses in the neighborhoods she helped to rebuild and strengthen. LaTrice is known as a passionate community leader committed to helping people who need support and advocacy. She is a member of Impact Community Health and a board member for Coleman A. Young Foundation and Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS). LaTrice was appointed to the Black Leadership Advisory Council (BLAC) by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who advises the Governor on issues that impact the African American community throughout the State of Michigan. In addition to appointments to the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit, LaTrice announced her first run for office to the Detroit Public Schools Community District school board and was elected by the residents of Detroit as the number one vote-getter. LaTrice earned a bachelor's degree in business communication from Eastern Michigan University. She currently resides in Detroit with her husband and their three children.
Tara Grey has over 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. She has helped chefs achieve ONE, TWO and THREE Michelin stars. As a leader in the industry, she has also travelled the world as a restaurant consultant, was a Sommelier and has also overseen many high-profile events in NYC, and also Detroit. Tara began making jam as a hobby, and this hobby grew into Gus & Grey, which is now a brand that is available nationwide. She has been featured on QVC, The Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, all local Detroit news stations, newspapers, and Crain’s Business Detroit. Gus & Grey is currently the recipient of three National Good Food Awards. Tara is a self proclaimed “Jam Pimp.”
Liliana is a Colombian immigrant, a journalist, and an entrepreneur who founded the Hispanic Marketing Solutions LLC, Latinos En Michigan TV, and Minority Education Freedom Foundation. Liliana has been living in Michigan for almost 18 years. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications with a Major in Journalism from the University of La Sabana in Colombia. She is a bilingual professional with 20 years of experience in Communications, Journalism, Public Relations, Translations, Copyediting, and Marketing.She began her career in CityTV, a news and entertainment TV channel in Bogota-Colombia, where she reported on local stories affecting people in Bogota. After that, she worked as a TV production assistant for an independent TV production company. Later, she became a press secretary for two Senators and a House Representative of the Colombian Congress, where she had the opportunity to develop local and national public relations and communications campaigns for her clients.Liliana Ospina also has an acute knowledge of the Spanish language, which allows her to translate, proofread, and edit copies of different articles, speeches or any documents translated from English to Spanish. She has been the copy editor for the Spanish edition of Plastic News on Plastimagen 2016, 2017, and 2019, the most important plastic business conference in Latin America. She is also a Voice Over artist with years of experience doing voice overs for news and corporate videos, among others.In the United States, Liliana has worked in different companies and sectors such as the former ad agency GlobalHue, which at one point was the largest minority own advertising company in Michigan, the nonprofit organization called Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS), the cereal company Kellogg's Corporation in Calhoun County, El Vocero Hispano Newspaper in the city of Grand Rapids, and most recently in her company Hispanic Marketing Solutions LLC – Latinos En Michigan TV in Howell. Latinos En Michigan TV is a digital news outlet that produces original content through video and written stories that cover events and different news and all information of importance or interest to the Hispanic / Latino community in the state of Michigan. Liliana and her husband created Latinos En Michigan TV in 2016 to produce positive video stories about the Hispanic community in Michigan. Because of her vast experience in TV Production, Liliana Ospina does the interviews, the camera and editing of every story from Latinos En Michigan TV and then She shares the content in Social Media Networks and the Web site latinosenmichigantv.comIn 2019, Liliana created the Latino Talent Awards, after producing video stories for a section of her digital platform called "Talentos Latinos" (Latino Talent), which highlights the positive stories and the work of individuals and Hispanic entrepreneurs, who, through their dedication, work and volunteering, are improving the lives of many Hispanics in Michigan, especially in southwest Detroit.In 2020 the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce gave Liliana Ospina the Chamber Advancement Award for her leadership and commitment to the Hispanic businesses in Michigan. In 2021 Liliana Ospina founded the Minority Education Freedom Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides community and educational programs, cross-cultural interaction, and art experiences to allow women, children, immigrants and minorities to get better opportunities and improve their lives. In 2022 Ford Hispanic/Latino Network gave Liliana, the Leo Padilla Award, an award recognizing a prominent Hispanic/Latino (Ford-not Ford) whose work on behalf of the Hispanic community has helped promote Hispanic issues nationally.
Lori Rush Lancaster is the president of Dakkota Integrated Systems, one of the largest women and Native American-owned and leading manufacturing companies in the United States. A results-driven executive and automotive industry expert, she leads a team focused on providing quality, safety, inclusion, and opportunities to employees and customers. Lori brings expertise across multi-disciplines as the leader of Dakkota. Prior to becoming president, she worked in several roles for The Rush Group, the parent company of Dakkota. As vice president, she was a key contributor in delivering operational goals, aligning strategy and managing public affairs, in addition to leading diversity and inclusion across all companies. Her specialties include business development, operational excellence, safety, quality, and customer satisfaction. She has served as a board director for Dakkota Integrated Systems since 2015. As president, she is committed to leading the company forward on its vision to run the most trusted, inclusive, and purpose-driven manufacturing plants in the United States to transform the communities where they operate. Dakkota Integrated Systems manages the complete assembly and sequencing of complex modules for OEMs and Tier One suppliers, while generating sustainable career opportunities in underrepresented communities across the United States and Canada. Prior to her career in business, Lori served as a critical care nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a position that prepared her to be a highly effective leader: managing complex and constantly changing environments, making decisive data-driven decisions; and practicing empathy and listening. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Massachusetts.
Nicolet Lewis joined Detroit Pistons in April 2019. As the Chief People Officer, she is responsible for the design, development, and execution of strategy for workforce planning and development, talent acquisition, talent and succession planning, employee total rewards and ensuring that the human resources vison supports the organizations overall strategic objective. Most recently, she worked at Flagstar Bank as a Senior Human Resource Business Partner, Assistant Vice President. She oversaw Human Resources for Retail Banking in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Before Flagstar, she spent 11 years at the Target Corporation, focused on operational excellence, talent management and human resources leadership. Lewis earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations with a minor in Management and a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing and Communications from Eastern Michigan University. Born and raised in the city of Detroit, Lewis has always found ways to continue to give back to her community. She taught figure skating for 10 years at Adams Butzel Recreation Center and, during her time with the Target Corporation, led the School Library Makeover project, which revitalized libraries in the Detroit Public Schools.
Van Nguyen (pronounced Von Winn) joined PNC Bank in 2022, charged with educating corporate members on the importance of financial wellness for their employees. Van’s expansive background compliments her current role as a Financial Wellness Consultant, where she helps employees become financially stable and reach their short- and long-term goals. Prior to banking, Van’s experience spans the automotive, healthcare, nonprofit, and education sectors. Recently serving as the chief marketing officer at a community college, she promoted the college’s mission and elevated the brand. Additionally, she chaired the college’s inaugural DEI task force, formed in 2020, and assisted in creating a strategic plan. Her time at Beaumont Health Foundation helped advance the newly formed Trustees to be community ambassadors. As executive director for APACC, she launched economic advancement programs in the minority business community. Van’s an active member for the Southeastern Salvation Army – Adult Rehabilitation Center, a board member at MCHS Family of Services, Ascension Providence and Chair of Livonia Chamber of Commerce. She has been awarded Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Women’s Leadership in Action Award and is a recent alum of Leadership Detroit. Van received her bachelor's degree from Baylor University and her master’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas and is finishing her doctoral degree at Ferris 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.
Sandy Pierce joined Huntington in 2016 after the FirstMerit merger and leads the following corporate- wide revenue segments: Huntington Private Bank, Huntington Insurance Agency, Huntington Auto Finance and RV/Marine. Sandy also has management responsibility for Huntington’s Community Development initiatives and Huntington’s Regional Presidents across its twelve-state footprint. Sandy is the Chair of Huntington Bank Michigan. While at FirstMerit, Pierce was appointed to Vice Chairman of FirstMerit Corporation and Chairman and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan. Pierce had direct oversight of and responsibility for Retail Banking, Wealth Management Services, and Corporate Marketing for FirstMerit Corporation and coordination of FirstMerit’s business activities in the state of Michigan. Prior to joining FirstMerit, Pierce was Midwest Regional Executive, President, and CEO for Charter One Bank, Michigan, a division of RBS Citizens, N.A. where she had responsibilities for commercial banking and all state bank activities in Michigan as well as oversight of all state activities in Illinois and Ohio and was a member of Citizens Financial Group’s Executive Leadership Group and the Midwest Regional Advisory Board. Pierce began her successful and diverse career in 1978 when she joined NBD Bancorp as a teller while attending Wayne State University. Upon graduation, she held a number of significant roles in commercial banking, retail banking, marketing, and private client services at NBD and its successor organizations First Chicago NBD, Bank One, and JPMorgan Chase. In 2002, Pierce became a regional executive of the Retail Midwest Region at Bank One. In this role, Pierce managed 350 bank branches that served over one million households and provided a full suite of consumer services, including mortgages, small business loans, consumer loans, and investments. A native of Detroit, Pierce is a 1980 graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration / Marketing degree. She earned a Master of Business Administration / Finance degree from Wayne State University. She is a board member of Penske Automotive Group, American Axle & Manufacturing and chair of ITC Holdings, Inc. She also serves as the vice chair of Business Leaders of Michigan, chair of Henry Ford Health Foundation, and chair of Detroit Economic Club. She was appointed by Governor Whitmer to Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees in December 2022. She served on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch from 2016 to 2021 and served as Chair of the Detroit Financial Advisory Board from 2012 through 2014. Current business associations and civic involvements include board membership in Business Leaders for Michigan (Vice Chairman, Executive Committee, Audit Chair); Detroit Economic Club (Board of Directors; Executive Committee); Detroit Regional Chamber (Prior Chair); Downtown Detroit Partnership, New Detroit, Inc., and The Parade Company (Prior Chair, Board of Directors). Sandy and her husband of 42 years reside in Northville; have three children, two sons-in-law, and six grandchildren.
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