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Varnum Partners with GRAM, GROW for 5th WomenConnect Event

June 13, 2017

The fifth annual WomenConnect event welcoming women professionals who are new executives in the community is set for Wednesday, June 28 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The event is a collaborative effort by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women and Varnum LLP.

WomenConnect provides an introduction of female professionals – especially younger women and women of color – to the West Michigan community. The formal programming at the event is intentionally light, allowing ample time for attendees to network, meet new people and catch up with friends and colleagues.

The following professionals will be introduced at this year’s event:

  • Maria Cimitile – Provost, Grand Valley State University
  • Maria Davis – Director of Human Resources, GRAM
  • Sandra Gaddy – CEO, Women's Resource Center
  • TaRita Johnson – Director, Career Center, Calvin College
  • Maggie Lancaster – CEO and Director, Grand Rapids Children's Museum
  • Charisse Mitchell – CEO, YWCA West Central Michigan
  • Stacey Stout – Assistant City Manager, City of Grand Rapids

WomenConnect was developed in large part to support retention of professional talent in West Michigan.

"WomenConnect is a way to introduce new women executives to other women in the professional community in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere," said Varnum attorney Joy Fossel, who leads the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Team. “The networking helps provide incoming women leaders with access to influence within the larger community.”

The WomenConnect event is by invitation and is designed to include a cross section of generations, providing an opportunity for women in different stages of their careers to meet and network.

For more information, contact Joy Fossel at

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