Women helping women

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2016 Women’s Council Luncheon honorees (from left) Lakshmi Narayana, current Ann Arbor Thrift Shop board president; Amy Seetoo, president of the American Association of University Women, Ann Arbor Branch; and Marnie Leavitt, executive director of the Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan. (Photo by Steve Kuzma)

Inspiring doesn’t begin to describe the atmosphere at the 19th annual Women’s Council luncheon held at Washtenaw Community College last month.

There was plenty of laughter and gratitude to go around and some tears were shed, but the message was clear: When women help each other, magic happens.

The Women’s Council of the WCC Foundation provides students with funds needed to pursue their education, with more than $485,000 raised over the years for scholarships, grant funding for childcare, books, and emergency needs.

“Receiving a scholarship gave me confidence,” said WCC student Shelley Quiroz, who is working toward a nursing degree with plans to transfer to Eastern Michigan University in fall 2018. “It gave me something to fall back on when times were hard. To know and see that so many people care about your success is wonderful and I’m incredibly grateful.”

The annual luncheon also salutes successful women who lend their leadership to local organizations and make a difference in their communities. This year’s honorees were: Marnie Leavitt, executive director of the Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan; Lakshmi Narayana, current Ann Arbor Thrift Shop board president; and Amy Seetoo, president of the American Association of University Women, Ann Arbor Branch.

Dr. Rita Fields, executive vice president at Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and associate professor of management in the School of Business at Madonna University, served as guest speaker.

During her remarks, Fields shared her story of overcoming monumental personal challenges on her long journey to finding joy and success.

“As dark and scary as those moments were, I’m grateful for them because they made me into the woman I am today,” Fields said. “As women, we need to be honest about our struggles and stories because when we do that, we can better serve each other.”

To make a gift, visit wccnet.edu/foundation/give/.

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of On the Record.

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