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Fossel & Velie Among 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan

January 25, 2012

Varnum attorney Joy Fossel and Human Resources director Carroll Velie have been selected as two of Grand Rapids Business Journal's 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Business Journal surveyed hundreds of women throughout Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties to select candidates for the 2012 recipients. This year's judges, Michelle Richards, executive director of the Center for Empowerment & Economic Development and Anne Doyle of Anne Doyle Strategies, made the final selection for the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan.

All 50 women will be profiled in the March publication of the Grand Rapids Business Journal.

Fossel focuses her legal practice on business and commercial litigation, including employment claims, health care litigation and contested probate matters. In 2010, Fossel was named the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Council and now leads the firm in its diversity and inclusion efforts, including diversity scholarships, internships, Varnum's internal diversity committee and community initiatives and donations. In 2011, Fossel was appointed to the State Bar of Michigan's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

In addition to her active practice, Joy leads the firm in donating hours of pro bono services through Legal Aid of Western Michigan. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Michael S. Barnes Award in recognition of exemplary dedication to pro bono service. In 2011, the State Bar of Michigan selected Fossel as the recipient of the John W. Cummiskey Award,  which recognizes her pro bono service at the state level.

Velie has been part of Varnum's administrative management team since 1987.  She is committed to supporting an inclusive culture that balances the needs of the firm with those of the people working there. Velie was key in establishing Varnum's Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is  made up of men and women from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences. The council provides a broader perspective and awareness to Varnum's strategic planning effort.

Velie has been recognized as the NALS Legal Professional of the Year and a YWCA Woman of Achievement. Velie is a member and past president of the Association of Legal Administrators, a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and Inforum, a professional women's association. Velie serves on the advisory board for Gilda’s Club and is the co-chair of LaughFest. She is a board member for Hello West Michigan, an organization that works with local companies to attract and retain top talent in West Michigan.

Fossel, Velie and the 48 other recipients will be honored at a luncheon on March 7, 2012 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The luncheon will feature keynote speaker Susan Ford Bales, who will  be honored with her late mother, former first lady Betty Ford.

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