Stories indexed with the term ‘Washtenaw Community College Foundation’

Jean Jennings: “You Can Do Anything”

Speaking to a packed room at Washtenaw Community College on Tuesday, Letitia Byrd recalled how even her husband eventually saw women as equals, though he grew up in an era when women were expected to stay at home. “Remember that, ladies?” she quipped.

Letitia Byrd, Molly Dobson

Letitia Byrd, left, and Molly Dobson at Tuesday's Washtenaw Community College Foundation Women's Council lunch. Byrd was one of three honorees at the event. Dobson is a previous honoree. (Photos by the writer.)

Murmurs in the room showed that many of them did. About 300 people – mostly women – attended Tuesday’s luncheon of the WCC Foundation Women’s Council, where Byrd, Bettye McDonald and Marianna Staples were honored for their contributions as community leaders. The annual lunch raised about $25,000 for student scholarships and WCC’s Student Resource and Women’s Center.

Defying expectations and breaking stereotypes was a theme throughout the event, highlighted in a speech by Jean Jennings that took the audience through a romp of her unconventional path to becoming the president and editor-in-chief of Automobile Magazine, based in Ann Arbor. The saga included tales of unshaved legs, drill bits, cab driving, crash testing cars and starting a publication “with Rupert Murdoch’s money.” Jennings began by noting that the lunch would be a great place to pick up chicks. [Full Story]

EMU President: “My Advice Is to Take Risks”

Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University.

Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University.

It turns out that at least two high-profile women in this area  got their educational start in a one-room schoolhouse – both were at Tuesday’s Washtenaw Community College Foundation Women’s Council Lunch. One we’ve written about before, and one – Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University – gave the luncheon’s keynote speech.

As we summarize below, that speech ranged from slaughtering chickens to kicking down doors.

But before that, three women – Lisa Hesse, Ann Mattson and Ellie Serras – were honored for their leadership roles in the community. Hesse is founder of the nonprofit Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan, which works with preteen girls to develop healthy lifestyles through running. Mattson recently retired as 15th District Court Judge, a position she held for 15 years. Serras serves on several nonprofit boards, and was the longtime executive director of the Main Street Area Association. [Full Story]