Women’s Council Luncheon Celebrates Female Role Models
Liz Orbits, manager of WCC’s Student Resource and Women’s Center, sees women all the time who want to get a college degree but face obstacles. They may be single parents, lack transportation, or have no female role models to look to for guidance. That’s why she and 250 others gathered at the Morris Lawrence building May 12 for the 12th Annual Women’s Council Luncheon. It’s an annual fundraising event for the WCC Foundation that celebrates the power of female leadership while raising money for women’s scholarships.
This year three community women were honored: Lisa Hesse of Girls on the Run; Ann Mattson, a retired 15th District Court judge; and Ellie Serras, head of the Main Street Association in Ann Arbor for 17 years. All three have inspired and mentored those around them and “believe in the values and ideals of education and service,” as Serras put it.
Following the theme of female leadership, keynote speaker Dr. Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University, spoke about her experiences of female firsts. She was the first woman to serve as the deputy state treasurer for local government, and she’s now serving as EMU’s first female president.
Vanessa Ray, a WCC culinary arts student who has relied on support and guidance from the SRWC, spoke of her often rocky journey toward college. She was determined to follow her grandmother’s vocation of cooking by continuing the family’s catering business, yet she had a young son, no job, unreliable transportation, and no place to live. With assistance from Orbits, the resources of the SRWC, and a Foundation scholarship, Ray has a 3.88 grade point average, is working part time at a catering business, and is flourishing.
“That’s what this luncheon was all about—celebrating strong female role models and empowering our female students,” Orbits said. “It was wonderful to look around the room and see all those people whose support will help so many of our female students. Encouraging women and men to get a college education: that’s what WCC does best.”
To learn more about the WCC Foundation Women’s Council or how to become a mentor, visit the Foundation website or call 734-973-3665.