Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top Women Leaders of Michigan for 2024. The auto industry has been a primary driver of Michigan’s economy since the early 20th century. It’s no surprise that General Motors and Ford ranked numbers one and two for top companies headquartered in Michigan in 2023. 

But over the decades, several other innovative, prominent industries have taken hold of the Great Lake State. Among them are healthcare, education, supercenters, manufacturing, and technology. 

In the health sector, we recognize the career of Shatica McDonald, the Managing Director and Client Account Lead for Accenture, a Fortune Global 500 company specializing in information technology services and consulting. McDonald leads an entire business and P&L for one of Accenture’s major health clients.

Next, we pivot back to the auto industry to acknowledge the impressive career of Jennifer Goforth, an Executive Director for General Motors. Goforth has global responsibility for all of GM’s Service Deliverables, and she’s responsible for GM’s service operations in North and South America.

Finally, we honor Maggie Sans, the Vice President of Community Relations for Walmart, the largest employer in the world in 2023. Sans leads the company’s effort to strengthen the investment that stores and associates make in communities, neighborhoods, and with customers across the United States. 

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top Women Leaders of Michigan for 2024.

Annalisa Esposito Bluhm
Vice President, Northrop Grumman

Annalisa Esposito Bluhm is a Vice President with Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman is a global aerospace, defense, and security company. They are committed to advancing global security and human discovery in support of their customers' missions. They do so by providing leading technology and national security solutions and services to markets around the world. 

Bluhm is an award-winning global communications leader with nearly 20 years of experience across multiple sectors, including technology, finance, automotive, not-for-profit, and public policy. Before joining Northrop Grumman, Bluhm was the head of executive and strategic corporate communications at General Motors. Before that, she was an instructor at Eastern Michigan University. Earlier in her career she worked with Royal Aluminum & Steel Inc. as a director of marketing and communications. 

Bluhm graduated from Eastern Michigan University with an MA in communication studies and an undergraduate degree in political science and international relations.

Jenifer Neptune
Chief Visionary Officer and Co-Founder, Boutique Hotel Professionals

Jenifer Neptune, Chief Visionary Officer for Boutique Hotel Professionals (BHP), launched BHP with co-founder and CEO Paul Wegert in response to the growing demand for boutique and independent hotels. She focuses on the strategic direction and business development for BHP.

Neptune’s involvement in the hospitality industry spans over 15 years in sales, marketing, and business development for management companies and properties. Additionally, she oversees the operations of Inspired Pineapple, BHP’s in-house marketing agency specializing in branding and market strategies for independent hotels, event and golf venues, restaurants, and spas.

Neptune loves to be blown away by unique travel experiences and is passionate about creating over-the-top guest experiences. Her active involvement with AHLA includes her role as an Ambassador for ForWard: Women Advancing Hospitality. She earned her degrees in international business and finance at Westmont College, Universität des Saarlandes, and Boise State University.

Tracy Fuerst
VP of Corporate Communications & Public Relations, Magna International

Tracy Fuerst is the Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations of Magna International. In her role, Fuerst leads a global team that is bringing the Magna story to life inside and outside of the company. 

Over the past 15 years at Magna, Fuerst has launched a multi-channel approach to communications, which includes the company’s first global-wide intranet, employee app, TV-communications system, and social media presence. Today, her global team works hard to telegraph the message that Magna is not only one of the world’s top automotive suppliers but a mobility technology company that is advancing mobility for everyone and everything.

Previously, Fuerst was a communications manager at General Motors. Before that, she was, a marketing communications manager at Amerisure Insurance. Fuerst earned an undergraduate degree in communication and media studies from Saginaw Valley State University.

Krista Boe
Chief Clinical Officer, Acorn Health

Krista Boe is the Chief Clinical Officer of Acorn Health, a family of companies delivering exceptional clinical services to children with autism. 

Before joining Acorn, Boe served dually diagnosed individuals at an intermediate care facility and as an independent consultant in a community waiver-based setting. She has served as a board member for the Heartland Association for Behavior Analysis, as well as the Nebraska Association for Behavior Analysis. 

Boe earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and biology from Central Michigan University and a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. She began her work with Autism Centers of Michigan (ACM), an Acorn Health Company, in 2015 as clinical director of Northern Michigan operations and later served as ACM’s chief clinical officer. In 2018, Krista was appointed to the Michigan Autism Council, representing certified behavior analysts in the State of Michigan.

Brandi Huyser
Vice President, Integrated Health & Wellbeing Platforms, Amway

During her 26 years at Amway, Brandi Huyser has developed a rare combination of skills through her experience in marketing, sales, and finance at both the global and market levels. Combining her entrepreneurial mindset and highly energetic spirit has enabled her to become a champion of new initiatives and a catalyst for change that generates breakthrough ideas.

Huyser helped oversee the XS Energy brand acquisition, advancing Amway's strategy of connecting with young entrepreneurs. Today, as Vice President of Integrated Health and Wellness Platforms, Huyser is responsible for a critical element of Amway's long-term growth strategy, scaling, and execution of Healthy Weight, Healthy Aging, Healthy Beauty, and Fitness platforms to support Amway business owners.

Huyser is a champion of service. She is a JBoard member at Van Andel Institute and a member of Eli Broad College of Business Alumni of MSU and has served as chairman and co-chair of the board of directors of Ele's Place Grand Rapids. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Michigan State University. Huyser and her husband celebrate entrepreneurial spirit by running their businesses together. They have two adult children.

Alison Gaudreau
Assistant Vice President of Engagement, Michigan State University

Alison Gaudreau is the Assistant Vice President of Engagement at Michigan State University. MSU has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 165 years. 

Before joining Michigan State University, Gaudreau was an assistant vice president, of university advancement at Oakland University. In this role, she successfully led the launch of the largest comprehensive campaign in Oakland University’s history. Her responsibilities included oversight of the budget, staffing, communication, forecasting, managing volunteers, and public strategies. She led a team of seventeen professional staff in the alumni, engagement, communications, and donor relations departments, and she oversaw all presidential donor initiatives.

Earlier in her career, she was a director of development at Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, and she worked with DuPont as a manager of customer response and quality assurance. Gaudreau graduated from The City University of New York with an MA in museum studies and from Michigan State University with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering.

Crystal Bell
President, Enterprise Solutions, i3 Verticals

As the current President of Enterprise Solutions of i3 Verticals, Crystal Bell brings a wealth of leadership experience and strategic action to her role. i3 Verticals is a software company providing solutions for the public sector, education, healthcare, nonprofit, hospitality, property management, and merchant solutions throughout the United States. 

Bell began her journey as an individual contributor and ascended through the ranks of professional services to assume the role of president at ImageSoft (acquired by i3 Verticals in 2020), showcasing a remarkable trajectory of growth within the organization. The transition to President marked a pivotal chapter in Bell's career, during, which she orchestrated 4x (and counting) EBITDA growth, showcasing financial acumen and ability to drive sustainable profitability. Bell has not only excelled in fiscal stewardship but also played a pivotal role in cultivating a robust organizational culture. She is committed to placing people at the center of operations; her leadership style has been instrumental in fostering an environment, which prioritizes professional development and personal well-being.

An alumnus of Southern Methodist University, Bell holds both a Master of Arts and a Master of Business Administration. Beyond her corporate endeavors, Bell is a co-owner of Breathe Yoga + Salt and a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200). Everything she does is centered around emphasizing holistic well-being, continued personal development, and work-life balance.

View the complete list of awardees.

Tricia Bailey
Vice President of Sales, FuturePlan

Tricia Bailey is the Vice President of Sales for FuturePlan, a category of one, the only TPA offering a full spectrum of creative plan design, strategic consulting, IRS, and DOL regulatory compliance services, actuarial practice, and end-to-end plan administration for every plan, with complete independence and flexibility. They are a technologically advanced national organization with the heart and soul of a hands-on business partner. Bailey lives in Waterford, Michigan, and covers all of Michigan and Toledo.  

Bailey is an expert in retirement plan design. From helping small businesses get all of their tax credits available with Secure 2.0 to diving into very complex retirement plan design. She is an expert at establishing cash balance plans for high-net-worth business owners who desperately need a tax shelter. Her professionalism, ingenuity, and authenticity help her clients get to the next level.  

Bailey is also passionate about giving back to the community through her role in Leadership Oakland, as well as various community-based nonprofits, such as Let’s Go Detroit and Matrix Human Services. She has been awarded Volunteer of the Year for her dedication to giving back. Bailey studied business at Axia College.

Coriel Taylor
Managing Director of Strategy & Consulting, Accenture

As a technology strategy executive, Coriel Taylor is a trusted advisor for her clients. Her role as Managing Director of Strategy and Consulting at Accenture involves helping clients recognize and drive business value through the technology decisions and investments they make. She is also responsible for overseeing Accenture’s delivery portfolio for a Midwest utilities client. 

Throughout her 18-year career, Taylor has led complex delivery programs for her clients and sponsored various local and national engagements and partnerships for Accenture. Her background in applied intelligence, digital experience design and development, cloud, and innovation have helped make her a highly sought-after resource for clients and ecosystem partners.  

Taylor is a firm believer in the power of collaborative teams and is passionate about establishing and empowering diverse teams that deliver value. She is a member of the 2020 DBusiness 30 in Their Thirties class, and among other things, serves on the steering committee for NPower’s Command Shift Coalition, which focuses on increasing the number of women of color in Technology careers. Taylor is a proud native of Detroit, Michigan, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter. 

Sydney Bonham
Assistant Vice President of Investor Accounting, Northpointe Bank

Sydney Bonham is the Assistant Vice President of Investor Accounting at Northpointe Bank. With the primary focus to be a sound financial resource for every client, and after years of dedication and smart work, Northpointe has held onto this core value and transformed its business into a top influencer of the mortgage industry. Its success has led it to expand its organization in many facets of financial services, such as traditional retail deposits, nationwide mortgage purchasing programs, and community bank fulfillment services.

Bonham is a financial professional with proven leadership skills in the mortgage servicing industry. Her propensity for problem-solving and process management yields a consistent record of success in dynamic and challenging environments. From cancer research to mortgage banking, she has demonstrated her attention to detail and commitment to excellence. Before joining Northpointe Bank, Bonham was a zone leader at Steelcase. Before that, she was, an investor reporting analyst at Preferred Mortgage Services Inc (PMSI). 

Bonham graduated from Dartmouth College with an undergraduate degree in women's and gender studies.

Kathi Sitek
Vice President of Business Development, Diversified Members Credit Union

Kathi Sitek is the Vice President of Business Development of Diversified Members Credit Union. She first joined the company in 2017 as vice president of business development. DMCU has been a Michigan credit union for over 85 years.

Sitek is also the founder and inventor of Pill Pouch LLC. Together with her mother, she came up with a simple way to build knowledge of and confidence in required medications. They invented the Pill Pouch, a product that now helps people with similar stories. As part of this work, Sitek shares her story of invention and entrepreneurship to help and encourage others. 

Earlier in her career, Sitek served as vice president of marketing and business development for A B D Federal Credit Union, where she focused on community outreach and member engagement. 

Wendy Zelond
Senior Vice President of Finance for Utilities Segment, AltaGas

Wendy Zelond is a finance executive with over 20 years of experience in the energy, airline, and public accounting sectors. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Finance for the Utilities Segment of AltaGas, which includes Washington Gas, Semco Energy, and Enstar located in Washington DC, Michigan, and Alaska, respectively. 

Zelond’s passion is people, with a love of developing teams and creating a space that allows all team members to flourish. She engages broadly throughout the organization by sponsoring employee resource groups and mentoring individuals to help them achieve their aspirations. Her approach to leadership has been shaped by years of working in various industries, really listening to her team, continuous self-improvement, and seeking opportunities outside of her comfort zone. As Zelond continued to grow in her career, her passion for building teams coupled with a desire to reach more people led her to publish her first book, We Talk, We Lead: A Reflection of One Women’s Stories to Inspire and Empower Others.

Zelond is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

Patricia Deldin
Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Associate Director of the Depression Center, University of Michigan

Patricia Deldin is currently a Professor at the University of Michigan in the Departments of Psychology (Clinical and Cognitive areas) and Psychiatry and the Associate Director of the Depression Center.

She previously served as the VP of behavioral health at Color Health, a health technology company that makes population-scale healthcare programs accessible, convenient, and cost-effective for everyone. Before that, she was a professor at Harvard University. 

She received her undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Iowa and her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She had a short stint at the National Institutes of Mental Health as a post-bac scholar, and she is a past president and past board member of the Society for Research in Psychopathology, the premiere clinical psychology psychopathology society. 

Kari Bliss
Principal of Sustainability. PADNOS

Kari Bliss is the Principal of Sustainability at PADNOS, an industrial recycler of paper, plastics, metals, and electronics. With over 20 years of experience, she brings real answers, real results, and real success through unique, scalable solutions for businesses that positively impact the planet and your bottom line. 

Her expertise in materials allows her to capitalize on circular economy market trends. Her team developed 36 solutions for complex circular economy challenges faced by OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.

Bliss is a GreenBiz Certified Professional and a GRI Certified Sustainability Professional, leading the sustainability transformation. She is a board member of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and the treasurer of the Society of Plastic Engineers Recycling Division. Bliss is a result-driven leader skilled at developing sustainability initiatives. Her ability to establish trust with a diverse array of customers, and identify what they value, brings all the necessary stakeholders together to solve complex circular economy challenges.

View the complete list of awardees.

Christina Frank
Vice President, External Affairs, Cornerstone Alliance

Christina Frank joined the Cornerstone Alliance Team in September 2016 as the director of investor relations. Since joining the team, she has worked her way up through the organization, taking on the role of Vice President of External Affairs in August 2018. In addition to her traditional responsibilities as VP, Frank is also the founder and host of FLEX: Female Leadership Excellence, an annual panel-style event, where powerhouse female professionals from various industries, backgrounds, and experiences come together to share openly their struggles and successes, while also giving local females access to global talent, experience, and motivation. Before joining Cornerstone Alliance, she was the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien & Cass, Inc. 

Frank is a Certified Professional Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council and is currently pursuing her JD. She was selected as a Top 50 Economic Developer in 2022; Top 50 Women Leaders in Michigan in 2022; Bold Woman of Business in 2023; and Distinguished Alumni 2024, Brandywine HS, and she’s been featured on numerous national podcasts, including Limitless - The Podcast by Frankly Co. She has also been featured on the cover of numerous business magazines, including Fortune Business Review, Executive She Magazine, and others. 

Beyond her professional achievements, Frank is deeply committed to making a positive impact in her community. She actively engages with state and national organizations advocating for domestic violence survivors' rights, showcasing her dedication to social causes. Her passion extends to the realms of the military transition to the civilian workforce and promoting female advancement in business, reflecting a commitment to inclusivity and empowerment. Outside of her professional role, Frank embraces life’s adventures. An avid outdoors enthusiast and beekeeper, she also enjoys boating, traveling, and cruising around in her ‘91 Jeep. Frank resides in St. Joseph with her husband, son, and chocolate lab.

Alicia Cordoba
President, Aquinas College

Alicia Córdoba is the ninth President of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Before joining Aquinas, she served as the inaugural Beirne Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. 

In February 2022, she was promoted from distinguished chair to associate vice president acknowledging her service to the institution. Córdoba served from January 1998 to May 2018 at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, as director of the Center for Mission and Identity, assistant to the president for mission integration, interim director of campus ministry, chair of the departments of music and fine and performing arts, and professor of music. 

She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Oboe Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At The Juilliard School in New York City, she was the first woman to receive a Doctor of Musical Arts in English Horn Performance. Córdoba has taught various courses in music and the humanities and consults and presents on topics related to leadership development, strategic planning, critical thinking, Catholic mission and identity, musical performance, and musicianship. As an active performer on the oboe, oboe d’amore, and English horn, Córdoba has performed throughout Europe, North America, and South America and in Australia, and she continues to commission new works in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ashley Ward
CEO & Founder, W Talent Solutions

Ashley Ward is the founder and CEO of W Talent Solutions, an elite recruiting team providing elite candidates in vital, high-level roles across industries. She leads talent strategy, brand management, and national expansion efforts for the firm. As a talent expert and executive recruiter by trade, Ward is certified in several psychometric assessment tools, including talent optimization through Predictive Index, in which she facilitates large workshops. She has conducted over 20,000 professional candidate interviews within her career and has placed C-suite and president-level roles throughout the nation.

Ward founded W Talent Solutions in 2017 with a mission to start a philanthropic business that gives ten percent of its profit to nonprofits that empower women and children in the communities the firm serves. Before founding W Talent Solutions, Ward was an executive recruiter for a boutique headhunting firm. She also worked for a freight brokerage business and recruited the founding team for their new Grand Rapids office, including 20 additional offices across the US. Previous to her work there, she spearheaded the recruiting efforts for a national insurance company.

Ward received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and advanced through graduate coursework in counseling and human behavioral studies. She serves on several executive boards in the community. She currently serves on The City of Grand Rapids Downtown Improvement District Board, Wedgwood Christian Services’ board of directors, and the YWCA’s Fund Development Committee. She previously served on the board for Safe Haven Ministries, where she chaired their Corporate Impact Committee, as well as the Grand Rapids Sister Cities Council, and the City of Grand Rapids Mayor’s Next Gen Advisory Board. She is also currently the Executive Director for Grand Angels, a venture capital angel investment group, and a Member of the Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentorship Program. Aside from board work, Ward is an avid professional guest speaker.

Micah Hood
Chief of Staff of Detroit Department of Transportation, City of Detroit

Micah Hood is the Chief of Staff of the Detroit Department of Transportation of the City of Detroit. The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) is the largest public transit provider in Michigan that serves the City of Detroit, surrounding suburbs, and neighboring cities, including Highland Park and Hamtramck. 

Hood is a dynamic professional manager with years of experience within city government. Her experience runs deep within formulating, presenting, and executing operating budgets and superior analytical skills. She is a strong communicator and relationship builder, experienced in successful interactions with senior municipal government and civilian officials, private companies, community organizations, and the general public. Hood graduated from Grand Valley State University with an undergraduate degree in communication and media studies.

Soon Hagerty
Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy, Hagerty

Soon Hagerty is the Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy for Hagerty. She has played a lead role in transforming Hagerty from a local specialty insurance company operating in a basement to a global publicly traded lifestyle brand for car lovers that joined the New York Stock Exchange (HGTY) in 2021 with a value of more than $3 billion. Since 2016, Soon has overseen Hagerty’s brand strategy in support of the company’s stated purpose to save driving and fuel car culture for future generations.

When she was four years old, Soon’s family fled Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. After a perilous 12 days on a boat and another six months at a refugee camp, the family ultimately settled in Fresno, California, sponsored by an uncle who had fought for the South Vietnamese. The family’s experience inspires and defines Soon to this day. Soon has co-owned several PR and marketing firms, including Luxe Communications, which she founded, and Centigrade a marketing, communications, and events with several offices in North America and Europe. Her global brand communications experience includes developing strategies for many of the world’s top brands, including Lamborghini, Ducati Motorcycles, eBay Motors, Black River Caviar, Xellent Vodka, and Breitling watches.  

A believer in “doing good by doing well,” Soon is the founder and co-owner of The Good Bowl, a mission-based Vietnamese restaurant in Traverse City, Michigan, that donates $1 per bowl to charity. She is also the creator of “Help in Heels,” a women’s volunteer group, and “Running in Heels,” a women’s entrepreneur group. In 2022, Soon was named one of the US’s “Top Women in Communications” by Ragan Communications for her work in transforming the Hagerty brand, and in 2023, Soon and her husband founded Boundless Futures Foundation to help female entrepreneurs and nonprofits that align with their mission to lend financial and leadership resources to female founders who create businesses that have a social impact.

Mary Kratz
Executive Vice President, Interoperability Institute

Mary Kratz is the Executive Vice President of the Interoperability Institute. She is a leader in the field of biomedical informatics, working at the intersection of interoperability, telemedicine, and business development. As a senior health informatics advisor to the United States Department of State, Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy, and Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, Kratz implemented health information systems in over 40 countries, primarily low and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Kratz previously assisted the World Health Organization, International Telecommunication Union, United States Agency for International Development, Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine in formulating and articulating policy, position, and response to current and emerging technologies and enabling interoperability across a variety of public and private organizational missions.

Starting her career in research and clinical laboratories at the University of Michigan Health System, Kratz quickly transitioned into managing complex enterprise-wide computer deployments. She chaired several standards development organization committees for Health Level Seven, Object Management Group, and the International Standards Organization. Under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, Kratz was recruited to work for the US Government. She served as a contracting officer representative at the US Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center at Fort Detrick. She was Internet2’s initial health sciences director, implementing next-generation Internet for academic organizations in the United States and globally, before taking a position with the US Government.

Brenda Arbelaez
Founder & President, PALS INTERNATIONAL

Brenda Arbeláez is the Founder and President of PALS INTERNATIONAL. She built PALS INTERNATIONAL from a one-person home-based business to a global business that specializes in language instruction, cross-cultural training programs, accent reduction, global relocation support services, business consulting, language translation, and interpretation. 

With a teaching degree earned in Bogotá, Colombia, Arbeláez spent 10 years teaching in bilingual schools. Upon arrival in the United States in 1975, she soon became known as a particularly effective Spanish language instructor, teaching private students in her home. As an immigrant who lived first-hand the experience of transplanting her family to another country, one whose language and culture were unfamiliar to her, Arbeláez brought a keen insight into the challenges and rewards of mastering a second language. She soon added instruction to groups of executives en route to assignments in Spanish-speaking countries, and by 1983, formed PALS INTERNATIONAL. Arbeláez is a graduate of Colegio Maria Auxiliadora with an undergraduate degree in education.

View the complete list of awardees.

Whitney Weiner
Founder & CEO, Whole Dental Wellness

Whitney Weiner was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by two incredible parents who instilled in her a lust for learning and adventure. An overachiever from the get-go, Weiner excelled in academics and earned a full ride to Colorado College. A Midwestern girl at heart, she returned home to attend graduate school at the prestigious University of Iowa College of Dentistry, where she was awarded for her outstanding achievement in periodontics. She followed that by perfecting her craft in a postgraduate program in periodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and earning a Master’s degree in Oral Sciences, focusing on the genetic ties to inflammatory diseases.

Earlier in her career, Weiner joined a boutique periodontal office for a short while but quickly learned that she wanted to set her sights higher and open her group practice with an emphasis on the connection between oral health and overall health, thus the creation of Whole Dental Wellness. In addition, she took over a specialty practice that focuses not only on periodontics but endodontics and oral surgery, as well. She plans to open multiple locations in the future to expand the Whole Wellness concept that she is so passionate about. 

It’s no wonder that this overachiever has been named a Top 25 Women in Dentistry and the Most Interesting Person in Dentistry and is a two-time winner of 40 under 40 all while lecturing nationally and internationally to share her breadth of knowledge to dental professionals who like her, strive to be the best in their chosen careers. While Weiner is a proud philanthropist, friend, mentor, and visionary, she is most proud of her role as a wife and mother to her three energetic boys.

Courtney Smith
Founder & CEO, Detroit Phoenix Center

Courtney Smith is the Founder and CEO of the Detroit Phoenix Center. She built an award-winning nonprofit organization providing housing, basic needs, education, and essential wrap-around services to children, youth, and families transitioning from homelessness and poverty. Detroit Phoenix Center also mobilizes youth most impacted by systemic barriers to drive change within their community.

Her outstanding commitment to service has garnered national recognition, including Comcast Newsmakers and the Steve Harvey Show. Smith has been named the 2021 Most Valuable Professional by Corp! Magazine and a COVID-19 Hero by Crain’s Detroit Business. She is a Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 honoree and a double-time recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award, along with many other notable achievements. Smith prides herself on being transparent and progressive, two traits that have made her a sought-after speaker on youth and community development topics, advocacy, and servant leadership.  

She is also a thought leader on the Forbes Nonprofit Council. As drum major for service, Smith also serves on the Eastern Michigan University Alumni Association's board of directors and is a governing board member of the Black Executive Director Alliance of Detroit. More recently, Smith served on the Steering Committee for the Soul of Philanthropy, bringing a national exhibit to the Detroit Historical Museum and amplifying the stories of renowned community leaders. Smith graduated with an undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University. She is currently pursuing graduate coursework at Harvard University.

Nada Sitto
Founder & CEO, MWHS Design

Nada Sitto moved to the United States as a young child. She earned an MBA from Lawrence Tech University while launching her company, MWHS Design, in 2019. Having worked her way up from front desk associate in undergrad to director of operations for new developments, she found her passion for construction and design, leading to the origin of MWHS Design. 

Despite launching just before the pandemic, Sitto has grown her company from just her and one other team member into a full team of high-level professionals now in a 13,000-square-foot office building in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

MWHS Design's main clients are hotel franchises working hand in hand with brands, such as Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and Wyndham. Sitto was featured in Crain’s Detroit Business 2022 Notable Women in Construction, Design, and Architecture, recognizing her work on multiple large hotel projects, new builds, and renovations in the Metro Detroit area.

Alison Orlans
CEO & President, eTitle, Orlans PC & Revlegal

Alison Orlans is a passionate innovator who is committed to transforming and shaping the way real estate transactions and legal services are delivered while improving the client experience. More than 15 years ago, Orlans joined the family businesses created by her mother, Linda Orlans. As president of eTitle, she expanded the company’s reach and services, making eTitle one of the largest independent and most highly skilled land title agencies. eTitle sets the standard for a leaner, greater, five-star experience. In 2009, Orlans formed Atlantic Law Group, and in 2017, she led the multi-million-dollar merger of three law firms to launch Orlans PC. Orlans PC serves the real estate and financial services industry and is one of the country's largest WBENC-certified women-owned law firms.

Orlans has created a core-purpose-driven organization, grounded in a unique corporate culture, setting the gold standard in client service, technology, and performance. She is known as a visionary who integrates lean processes and technology with legal knowledge and expertise. Her unique approach led to the creation and launch of Revlegal in 2020. Revlegal is “law accelerated” and provides modernization, consultation, and other lean practices for legal services, optimizing people, processes, and performance, for corporate legal departments and government entities. 

Orlans has been part of multiple women's organizations, champions diversity in the legal profession, and has grown her employee base to 70% female. She advocates for increased diversity worldwide, has presented at the WBENC conferences, and is a member of NAMWOLF. Orlans now serves as the CEO and President of Orlans PC, eTitle, and Revlegal.

Shatica McDonald
Managing Director & Client Account Lead, Accenture

Shatica McDonald is a Managing Director and Client Account Lead managing an entire business and P&L for one of Accenture’s major health clients in the Midwest. In this role, she has the responsibility of bringing the best global talent and professional services inclusive of strategy, consulting, technology, operations, and Accenture SONG (formerly Accenture Interactive) to her clients. 

During her 17-year tenure at Accenture, McDonald has led large customer experience transformations within North America’s Health Payer industry. She has done so by delivering 360° Value across a vast range of healthcare clients with a primary focus on digital experience, customer relationship management, sustainability, and contact center transformations. She brings innovative leadership and AI-powered solutions while driving on Accenture’s purpose “To deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity.” Known as a trusted C-suite relevant thought leader and sales originator, McDonald has sold and delivered multiple complex transformation programs for some of Accenture’s most important accounts.

She is equally passionate about ensuring inclusion and diversity are a core change in mindsets and lifestyles. As such, she has been appointed as the North American inclusion and diversity Lead for Health, serves as the Executive Sponsor for the African American Employee Resource Group (AAERG) in Michigan, and is an active community advocate for the youth, including STEM, talent, and technology skills development. She currently sits on the board of a local High School within the Detroit Public School Community District. McDonald was named an “Accenture Global Health Expert” for Customer Relationship Management & Experience in 2018/2019, awarded Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 Top Executives in 2020, and was recently appointed as the AHA Go Red For Women Chair for the 2023 Campaign.

Jennifer Goforth
Executive Director, General Motors

Jennifer Goforth is an Executive Director at General Motors (GM), leading the Global Aftersales Engineering and Service Operations. Appointed in 2022, she leads the Service Engineering teams in North America, Korea, China, Australia, Brazil, and GM International with global responsibility for all of GM’s Service Deliverables, including service parts release, diagnostics, reprogramming, customer literature and cataloging, service instructions, aftersales substance of concern and supplier quality engineering. In addition, Goforth is responsible for GM’s service operations in North America and South America, which include brand quality, field action execution, field service engineering, export operations after sales, warranty administration, labor time, warranty administration, technical training, and service special tools. These deliverables support GM’s customers globally.  

Goforth has over 25 years of experience at GM, including roles in manufacturing engineering, manufacturing and labor operations, vehicle engineering, vehicle program management, and customer care and aftersales. She has extensive global experience through international assignments in Germany, South Korea, and China. She has passionately supported GM’s Zero Emissions Vision as vehicle line director Spark EV, chief engineer Bolt EV, chief engineer Bolt EUV, and chief engineer Blazer EV.  

Goforth is a passionate leader who supports diversity and STEM as a member of GM’s Women’s Advisory Board and executive champion for GM’s Latino Network Warren Chapter. She has sustained a scholarship with the SAE Foundation recognizing excellence in STEM education and service to others and serves as a member of the I-CAR Board of Directors. Goforth is the recipient of the SAE International Distinguished Younger Member, SAE International Significant Contributions to AWIM (A World in Motion, partnering industry volunteers and teachers to introduce students to engineering design experiences), SAE Detroit Section Outstanding Younger Member, and SAE Detroit Section Outstanding AWIM Contributions. She holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University and a Master’s degree in Engineering from Purdue University.

Deba Harper
Founder and CEO, CHAMP Nation

Deba Harper is the Founder and CEO of CHAMP Nation. The CHAMP Nation Organization brings workforce development in tech-driven certified skills to access high-value and in-demand tech careers.

Harper is accustomed to pioneering innovative systems, analyzing business workflow, and implementing user-centric business solutions. For 20 years, she has curated a successful career as a senior salesforce consultant and administrator, business analyst, producer, and real estate developer. She has worked with small businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and multinational and global corporations in various industries like entertainment, manufacturing, and real estate.

Harper is a systems innovation specialist who utilizes advancements in technology to improve the efficiency of producing goods and services by enhancing the employee experience (EX), which ultimately improves the customer experience (CX). Possessing intuitive analytical insight, she uses CRM data for qualitative analysis to evaluate business process challenges to identify opportunities to optimize efficiency. As a master multitasker, she possesses the capacity to manage multiple concurrent projects from frame and shape and throughout implementation. Harper graduated from California State University, Northridge with an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary art and urban planning. 

View the complete list of awardees.

Shannon Maloney
Managing Director & National Practice Leader, Strategic Retirement Partners

Shannon Maloney serves as the Managing Director and a founding member of Strategic Retirement Partners. With over two decades of experience in the industry, Maloney is highly regarded as a sought-after speaker at both local and national events. Her leadership and commitment to excellence have earned her numerous accolades, recognizing her significant contribution to the retirement consulting community. 

Throughout her career, Maloney has established a thriving retirement plan team and practice driven by her dedication to assisting employers reduce fiduciary liability and provide competitive, affordable retirement benefits. She is passionate about helping American Workers save, plan, and invest wisely. She is privileged to have long-term relationships with her clients, their employees, and the communities she serves. A testament to her expertise, Maloney has been honored with prestigious awards, including nominations for “Plan Adviser of the Year” by Plan Adviser Magazine and recognition as a “Top Women Advisor - Captain” by the National Association of Plan Advisors for six years. Additionally, she has been recognized as a “Top Advisor for Participant Outcomes” by 401(k) Specialist Magazine and was named a Financial Times Top 401k Advisor in 2016 and 2017. 

Maloney prioritizes stewardship and client advocacy, providing expert guidance and oversight to enable her clients to focus on managing their businesses. She assists her clients in navigating retirement plan issues, resolving plan and provider issues, and implementing best practices to improve plan outcomes for participants. She prides herself in creating a decision-making and plan management process, which is easy for her clients and committee to understand and implement. Beyond her professional endeavors, Maloney is a proud veteran of the US Army with service during Desert Storm and Italy while she was stationed in Germany. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and can often be found at a sporting event for her Wolverines. She finds joy in her role as a wife and mother to two daughters, as well as in her pursuits of gardening, community volunteering, travel, and being a coffee aficionado. 

Teresa Cerbolles
Director of Product Management - Vehicle Apps & System Experience, General Motors

Teresa Cerbolles is the Director of Product Management for the Vehicle Apps and System Experience at General Motors. She first joined the company in 2006 as an HVAC development engineer and worked her way up to the head of product and infotainment services director in 2022. She was promoted to her current role in February of 2024. 

Cerbolles has served General Motors for over 17 years in various capacities, including in the Global Human Factors Center, as an engineer manager for vehicle controls integration, and as a global system integration lead. 

Cerbolles is an experienced automotive executive with a demonstrated ability to get results and lead a large team with high energy and genuine relationships. She has built multiple new teams that are engaged by providing leadership, strategy, and coaching. Before General Motors, she served with Delphi as a systems/control integration engineer. Cerbolles earned an MBA and an undergraduate degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Kettering University.

Wendy Taylor
Executive Director, ATC Healthcare

Wendy Taylor is an independent owner of ATC Healthcare Services of MidMichigan. ATC is a pioneer in the healthcare staffing industry and has staffed, wherever healthcare is provided since 1982. As an independent owner of ATC, Taylor provides every type of medical staffing solution, including per diem coverage, long-term assignments, permanent placements, and locum tenens coverage. In addition, she provides Medicaid Waiver and Private Pay home care services, such as assistance with homemaking, companionship, overnight care, live-in care, respite care, meal preparation, medication reminders, and accompaniment to appointments.

Taylor is also the independent owner and executive director of CareBuilders at Home, a skilled nursing and private duty home care agency providing non-medical care to elderly and others who require assistance with their daily living needs. They help individuals with independence and dignity by providing non-medical and private duty home care services in the familiar surroundings of the home 24/7. In addition, Taylor has a strong background in medical staffing and in-home care and has worked in the HR field for over 24 years in hospitals, higher education, and local government environments. 

She is currently a State of Michigan contract holder providing medical personnel to several state-wide facilities through MDHHS, MDVA, and MDOC. She provides contract and PRN medical staff to hospitals, LTC/SNF, and juvenile detention centers throughout the state. Taylor holds accreditation through CARF International, providing premier in-home services in the Great Lakes Bay Region. She currently serves as a member of the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council and is a Great Lakes Bay Regional Leadership Ambassador. She previously served as the Vice Chairperson for the State Advisory Council on Aging for the State of Michigan, holding this seat for four years. Taylor has an undergraduate degree in organizational administration and a Master’s degree in Administration with a major in HR, both from Central Michigan University.

Teri Grieb
Chief Administrative Officer, Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences

A chief business leader and executive team member for the Henry Ford Health and Michigan State University Health Sciences partnership, Teri Grieb serves as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The partnership strives to discover and advance a new standard for health to transform lives, improving how individuals and communities experience care across the state of Michigan and beyond. 

Grieb was previously the associate dean for research strategy and senior director for research at the University of Michigan Medical School, where she was responsible for the operational and fiscal management of the Medical School Office of Research and its reporting units. In partnership with the executive vice dean for research and chief scientific officer, she developed and implemented strategic initiatives, led enterprise change management, facilitated research with Michigan Medicine affiliate hospitals and health systems, and advised on infrastructure, policy, operational, and fiscal issues for the research enterprise.

Grieb holds a PhD from the Genetics Program at George Washington University. After receiving her doctorate, she joined an early-stage life sciences company, where she was the director of tissue biologics and the lead scientist responsible for developing the company’s licensed technology for sterilizing allograft tissues. Grieb then joined MedImmune, Inc. as an R&D project manager. She oversaw commercial and university-licensed technologies. Grieb was also a managing director for the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, the home of the University of Michigan’s NIH-funded Clinical Translational Science Award, and an industry research liaison responsible for nurturing technology transfer, developing partnerships with industry, and fostering entrepreneurship.

Korin Visocchi
Academic Specialist - Curriculum Development & Data Analysis, Michigan State University - Eli Broad College of Business

Korin Visocchi is an Academic Specialist in Curriculum Development and Data Analysis for Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business. Visocchi is a passionate educator with a demonstrated history of success as a collaborative, creative, and strategic team member working to advance an organization’s mission. She is an expert in strategic planning, keynote addresses, educational operations, collaborative leadership, project management, leadership coaching, and school accreditation. Visocchi is also a retired rock-and-roller who marvels at how her unique journey in the music industry unexpectedly influences her best practices as an educational leader. Her story draws from 20 years of crossover lessons and experiences touring from California to France, teaching from Detroit to Lansing, and guiding institutions through economic downturns and COVID-19.

While earning degrees in history and international studies at Michigan State University’s Honor College, she began gigging with her then-boyfriend (now husband of 15 years) at dive bars and dorms performing original music with their band, The Hard Lessons. Visocchi simultaneously earned a Master's degree in Education from the University of Michigan. The band soon booked national tours and music publishing placements with Grey's Anatomy, Friday Night Lights, and Chevrolet while opening for everyone from Kings of Leon and My Chemical Romance to Rusted Root and Iggy Pop and the Stooges. 

After nearly a decade of adventure and non-stop touring, Visocchi made the difficult decision to stop performing and get back in the classroom. Embracing the intersection of rock and roll and education, she found her footing in the educational leadership space, discovering the weight authentic stories play in influencing confidence and real-world change. Since earning her PhD in Educational Leadership from Oakland University, Visocchi has elevated her career by serving in roles as chief learning officer and executive director and is an expert in school accreditation, curriculum design, educator coaching, and strategic planning. 

Jeenal Vora
Senior Director Digital/BUI, Automotive- Americas, HARMAN International

As a Senior Digital Director at Harman International, Jeenal Vora drives the strategy, direction, and delivery of transformational programs and their adoption across the organization. Her position combines the traditional roles and responsibilities of a Business Unit Interface, along with the emerging role of a change agent for digital transformation.

Vora is a results-driven professional with extensive experience in the automotive industry for portfolio management and program leadership driving digital transformation initiatives and enhancing operational excellence within the automotive industry. She possesses strong collaboration skills, enabling her to work effectively with global teams and manage complex projects across diverse regions while, driving innovation, optimizing processes, and achieving strategic objectives in dynamic environments.

Vora’s entrepreneurial and teamwork-focused mindset, combined with her self-motivation, discipline, and passion, make her a tenacious problem solver. Efficiently managing professional priorities while placing her family's needs at the nucleus of her values has always been her steadfast commitment and guiding principle. With experience in executive-level management of multiple programs and initiatives, Vora demonstrates accountability for financial performance while driving technology solutions to customers. Vora earned her Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University and earned her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering in India.

Beth Timmerman
Director of Internal Audit, Central Michigan University

As the Director of Internal Audit at Central Michigan University, Beth Timmerman is responsible for managing a comprehensive program of internal auditing within the university in conducting or co-sourcing financial, compliance, operations, and information system audits, as well as consulting and special project engagements. 

Before joining CMU in April 2020, Timmerman had 26 years of experience in auditing, both for the state of Michigan and most recently at the University of Michigan. Timmerman worked for the Office of the Auditor General, DNR, and was the Director of Internal Audit for DEQ. At UM, she was a senior healthcare auditor. She also has eight years of experience in the banking sector; owning and managing a CD rate broker business.

Timmerman is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an Accounting major. Timmerman is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Internal Auditor, and a Certified Healthcare Internal Audit Professional. She is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Association of College and University Auditors (ACUA).

View the complete list of awardees.