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Women of Color Task Force

Click here to view the keynote address from the March 2020 Women of Color Task Force Career Conference.

The Women of Color Task Force (WCTF) is a University of Michigan staff organization, founded in 1979, that provides professional development, networking, and training opportunities for employees, with a focus on addressing the needs of women of color staff. For more than 36 years, the WCTF has served as a support network and a forum for the exchange of information about the status of women of color staff at the University of Michigan.

Executive Team 2020-21

Diane Brinson-Days, Ross School of Business (U-M Dearborn Liaison)
Doreen Tinajero, LSA Center for Social Solutions (Career Conference Registration)
Faye Portis, DAAS (Conference Vendors)
Gloryvee Fonseca-Bolorin, CEW+ (Leadership Development)
Grace Wu, Taubman Research Institute (Recruitment & Outreach)
Janice Reuben, CEW+, WCTF Program Coordinator (Project Lead)
Janis Williamson, University Health Services (Professional Development)
Katherine Weathers, LSA Advancement (Recruitment & Outreach)
Lorraine Robert, CRLT (Professional Development)
Maria Flores, Michigan Medicine Department of Learning Health Sciences
Marlanna Landeros, DPSS (University Policies)
Mary Jo Gray, School of Dentistry Compliance (Leadership Development)
Rachel Dawson, Michigan Medicine Precision Health (University Policies)
Shante Galloway, School of Dentistry (Career Conference Chair / U-M Flint Liaison)


Are you interested in becoming a member of WCTF? Any University of Michigan (U-M) employee is eligible for membership in the Task Force if they are an active, regular staff member.

The Task Force encourages the participation of individuals from all University of Michigan departments and units who are interested in the professional development of women of color staff and supporting the career advancement of all U-M staff.

To join WCTF, please contact Janice Reuben at


All Women of Color Task Force meetings and events will be held via Zoom until January 1, 2021.

The meetings usually begin at 12:00 pm and last for an hour. Workshop trainings and special events may run from 90 min to 2 hours. Please contact the WCTF Coordinator Janice Reuben about membership at 734.764.6005 or

June – December 2020 WCTF Meetings

June 4, 2020 WCTF Executive Team Meeting
June 11, 2020 Virtual End-of-Year Luncheon / Mini Training Session
June 25, 2020 WCTF General Membership Meeting
July 9, 2020 WCTF Professional Development Workshop
July 23, 2020 WCTF Professional Development Workshop
August 6, 2020 WCTF General Membership Meeting
September 10, 2020 WCTF General Membership Meeting
September 24, 2020 WCTF Professional Development Workshop
October 1, 2020 WCTF General Membership Meeting
October 15, 2020 Watch Party – Presidential Debate
October 29, 2020 WCTF DEI Event
November 12, 2020 WCTF General Membership Meeting
December 10, 2020 WCTF Virtual Holiday Networking Luncheon

Career & Personal Development

The Task Force hosts an annual career conference during winter break, a fall semester leadership retreat and offers career development workshops for its members throughout the year during the general membership meetings.

The brown-bag, lunch time training sessions cover topics in the following areas: career development, project management, leadership development, health & wellness, and work-life balance.

Mentoring Pilot

(August 2018 – December 2019)

The main purpose of this formal mentoring project is to provide opportunities for women of color staff to serve as mentors to each other as well as undergraduate students of color. The secondary purpose is to create a pipeline of women of color professionals prepared to step into staff roles at every level.

There will be 2 consecutive mentoring modules taking place during the pilot year. First, the creation of a formal peer-to-peer mentoring structure for the WCTF members to support each other. Then these staff pairs will be matched with a student from the women of color student group, Yoni Ki Baat (YKB). The coaching pairs must spend a minimum of 3 hours engaged in high quality and meaningful interactions with their student with at least one in-person meeting per month.

Participants will receive mentor/mentee training in several ways – during WCTF meetings, at onsite trainings offered by LPD, Michigan Medicine and other campus units; and from online classes webinars.

Project Outcomes:
1. Ongoing support for the career development of WCTF members by helping them learn to be effective mentors for other WoC staff as well as for undergraduate students.

2. Targeted career coaching by seasoned professionals to female undergraduate students of color in support of their educational goals.

3. A sustainable vehicle by which YKB and other similar nontraditional student groups can connect with women of color professionals at the U-M in order to learn more about employment opportunities in higher education.

4. Establish a pipeline that encourages and supports the interests of undergraduate WoC students to have a career as a higher education staff professional.

Conference History and Speakers

U-M Women of Color Task Force
Conference Themes & Keynote Speakers, 1983 – 2019

2020 – Women on a Mission 2.0: Leadership, Citizenship & Advocacy (38th)
Dr. Joy DeGruy, nationally & internationally renowned researcher, educator, author, & presenter
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist, author, social and political commentator, & businesswoman
moderated by Dr. Patricia Coleman-Burns, University of Michigan Assistant Professor Emerita of Nursing and Adjunct/Affiliated Professor in the Department for Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS)
Click here to view the 2020 WCTF keynote.

2019 – Amplifying Voices: Moving from Diversity to Inclusion (37th)
Cynthia H. Bowman, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Bank of America
Dilip Das, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Laurita Thomas, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
facilitated by Taryn Petryk, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Ross School of Business
Click here to view the 2019 WCTF keynote.

2018 – Equity for All: Reclaiming Our Time (36th)
April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks D.C. Bureau Chief
Click here to view the 2018 WCTF Keynote Address with April D. Ryan

2017 – U-M Staff: The Heart of Maize & Blue (35th)
Jane Elliott, Anti-racism Activist & Educator & 
Roland S. Martin, Host & Managing Editor of News One Now “Race, Gender & Identity in the Workplace”

2016 – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: A Staff Perspective (34th)
Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, “The Dilemma of Inclusivity: How Can We Make It Work?”
Click here to view the 2016 WCTF Opening Session and Keynote Address with Dr. Ruth Simmons

2015 – Tools for the Journey: Self-Awareness, Confidence & Respect (33rd)
Mr. Alfred (Al) Squire, Director of the Greenville Health System MedEx Academy
Click here for photos from the 2015 conference

2014 – Transforming the Face of Leadership (32nd)
Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut
Click here to view the 2014 WCTF Conference keynote address given by Dr. Mae Jemison.

2013 – Planning + Action + Perseverance = Success! (31st)
Ms. Donna Brazile, Political Strategist and Georgetown University Professor
Click here to view the 2013 WCTF Conference keynote address given by Donna Brazile.

2012 – 30 Years of Legacy, Leadership and Change (30th)
Dr. Johnnetta B Cole, National Museum of African Art
2012 Conference Event Announcement

2012 Conference Flyer

2011 – YOU First: Balancing Work, Family & Life (29th)
Rep. Shanelle Jackson, Michigan (D-Michigan)

Summer 2011 – U-M Staff Mentoring & Coaching for Diversity Conference
Dr. Howard G. Adams, Keynote Speaker

2010 – Excel in Uncertain Times: Identify Resources & Maximize Opportunities (28th)
Ms. Gail Perry-Mason, Vice President – Oppenheimer & Co, Inc.

2009 – Enhance U: Education, Empowerment & Equity (27th)
Dr. Howard G. Adams, President – H. G. Adams and Associates, Inc.
Founding Director, GEM National Institute on Mentoring

2008 – Work, Lead & Succeed In A Global Economy (26th)
Dr. Kenya Ayers, Executive Director of Esperanza Communications and past State Chairperson, Michigan ACE Network

2007 – 25 Years of Promoting Leadership & Diversity (25th)
Dr. Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania & Former Chair, US Commission on Civil Rights

2006 – Healthy Person, Healthy Society (24th)
Mr. Pete Thomas, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” (Motivational Speaker)

2005 – Inclusion and Opportunity: Recognizing Everyone’s Contribution (23rd)
Dr. Toni Hoover, Vice President – Pfizer GRD, Ann Arbor Campus

2004 – Finding Your Path: Developing the Excellence Within (22nd)
Ms. Beverly Jenkins, Author (Fiction)

2003 – One University, One Community, One Destiny: Staff and the University’s Mission (21st)
President Mary Sue Coleman
Ms. Sue Guevara, UM Women’s Basketball Coach

2002 – Women on a Mission: 20 Years of Excellence (20th)
Chief Benny Napoleon, Detroit Police Department

2001 – Not Without A Struggle: Honoring our Past, Taking Control of Our Future (19th)
Rev. Shaheerah Stephens, Author and Community Activist

2000 – The Celebration of a New Era, New Opportunities and a New You (18th)
Dr. Bertice Berry, Social Activist and National Talk Show Host

1999 – Ready, Set, Go TEAM! (17th)
Ms. Laurita Thomas, CHRO – UM Health System

1998 – Reforging Our Lives into the New Millennium (16th)
Ms. Vanna Novak, Motivational Speaker

1997 – Looking Back, Moving Forward: 15 Years with the Women of Color Task Force (15th)
Ms. Thelma Wells, Christian TV Personality (Dallas, TX)

1996 – Building and Creating Opportunities for Growth (14th)
Ms. Patricia Russell-McCloud, Federal Communications Commission

1995 – Success: Beginning with the End in Mind (13th)
Dr. Benjamin Carson, Cardiologist and UMMS Graduate

1994 – Developing a Plan for Excellence (12th)
Dr. Elizabeth Allen, R.N.

1993 – Globally Pulling Our Cultures Together: Positioning Ourselves to Empower, Impact and Excel (11th)
Ms. Helen Zia, MS Magazine
Ms. Sonia Sanchez, Activist

1992 – Ten Years In Retrospect: Commemorating Our Past, Securing Our Future (10th)
Ms. Valerie J. Johnson, Director of Native American Services
Ms. Susan L. Taylor, Editor in chief of ESSENCE Magazine

1991 – See Beyond Today: Inspiring a Vision to Enhance the Quality of Life (9th)
Dr. Gwendolyn Calvert Baker, Director – YWCA of USA and President of NYC Board of Education
Dr. Howard McCurdy (microbiologist)

1990 – Progressing Towards Plurality: The Challenge of the 90s (8th)

1989 – Shades of Quality: Emerging, Excelling, Empowering (7th)
A. Deer

1988 – Imagine What We Can Be: Challenge, Create, Celebrate (6th)
Dr. R. Griffin

1987 – Working Constructively Toward the Future: If You Think You Can, You Can (5th)
Ms. M. Susan Watson (Detroit Free Press Columnist)
Ms. Laura Rendon (Assistant Professor of Education at the University of South Carolina)

1986 – Focus On: Effectiveness, Productivity, and Professionalism (4th)
The Honorable Cynthia D. Stephens,Wayne County Circuit Court Judge
Ms. Rose Martin, Director of the Peace Neighborhood Center

1985 – Women of Color: Striving for Excellence (3rd)
MsCarman Harlan (WDIV news personality)
Dr. Mildred Tirado, UM Counseling Services Center

1984 – Survival, Career Development and Networking (2nd)
Ms. Jennie Partee and Ms. Beulah Sanders, WCTF Founders

1983 – Survival, Career Development and Networking (1st)
Dr. Bernadine Denning 

Current Members



Alena Williams, Michigan Medicine TCS & Alcohol Management
Alex Franklin, LSA Chemistry
Amanda Harris, FinOps Payroll Office
Angee Sanders, LSA Dean’s Office
Angela Kelly, Shared Services Center
Angela Turner, DSA Health Service
Ashley Tanksley, School of Public Health HBHE
Axelle Smith, Ross School of Business
Barbara Askew, LSA Physics
Brittany Hamilton-Reed, DSA Housing
Carine Hails, Office of University Development
Carmeda Stokes, UHR Organizational Learning
Carmencita Princen, Graham Sustainability Institute
Catricia Thomas, Michigan Medicine Cancer Center
Chandani Wiersba, OAMI
Charmayne Wiley, Business Engagement Center
Cherie Dotson, College of Pharmacy
Cheryl McPherson, School of Education Teaching Works
Christina Arnold, Student Legal Services
Courtney Reid, Center for the Education of Women (CEW+)
Crystal Gregory, College of Pharmacy
Crystal Robinson, Michigan Medicine Ophthalmology
Cynthia Alexander, Shared Services Center
Dawn Storball, Michigan Medicine Office of Postdoctoral Studies
Dayna Asante-Appiah, LSA Opportunity Hub
Debby Mitchell Covington, College of Engineering
Deborah Willis, Rackham Graduate School
Deqresha Cox, Michigan Medicine Human Resources
Devon Keen, School of Information
Diane Brinson-Days, Ross School of Business*
Doreen Tinajero, LSA Center for Social Solutions*
Ellen Copeland-Brown, Michigan Medicine Revenue Cycle
Faye Portis, Department of Afroamerican & African Studies*
Frances Acevedo-Mariani, LSA Dean’s Office
Gloryvee Fonseca-Bolorin, CEW+*
Grace Morabito, Michigan Medicine Office of the Executive Director
Grace Wu Ressler, Taubman Research Institute*
Jacquelyn West, LSA Dean’s Office
Janice Reuben, CEW+ / WCTF Program Coordinator*
Janis Williamson, University Health Services*
Jeanine Tsang, LSA Finance
Joana Dos Santos, Taubman CAUP
Jordan McAdory, LSA Opportunity Hub
Kaitlin Deslatte, Division of Public Safety & Security
Karen Gates, CoE Biomedical Engineering
Katherine Gaston, Shared Services Center
Katherine Weathers, LSA Dean’s Office: Advancement*
Kiana Daniels, DSA Residence Education
Kimberly Gates, Michigan Medicine Medical School
Kimberly Williams, Ross School of Business
Kimberly Wright, Shared Services Center
Kristina Bee, Business Engagement Center
LaDonna Williams, School for the Environment & Sustainability (SEAS)
LaTonya Berryhill, MICHR
LaTonya Woods, ITS Enterprise Application Services
Laura King, UMOR Animal Care and Use
Lauren Davis, School of Social Work DEI
Lekisha Maxwell, ISR Population Studies Center
Liese Hull, LSA Comprehensive Studies Program
Linda McGuire, ITS Infrastructure Networks
Linh Huynh, Office of New Student Programs
Lisa Fields, Shared Services Center
Lisa M. Green, Services for Students with Disabilities
Lorraine Robert, Michigan Medicine Medical School Administration*
Lovaida Roach, HITS Business IT
Marchelle Moore, CEW+
Maria Flores, Michigan Medicine Department of Learning Health Sciences*
Marlanna Landeros, Division of Public Safety & Security Human Resources*
Mary Jo Gray, School of Dentistry Compliance*
Mashunda Oliver, Ross School of Business
Monica Hickson, ITS Infrastructure
Natalie R. Brown, School of Dentistry Human Resources
Nedine Hunter-DuPree, ITS Human Resources
Nichole Burnside, School of Public Health (SPH)
Nyshourn Price, School of Social Work
Parina Kamdar, Institute for Social Research (ISR)
Paula Williams, Division of Public Safety & Security
Rachel Dawson, Michigan Medicine Precision Health*
Sade Wilson, Center for Educator Preparation (U-M Flint)
Sandra Crump, UMMS Radiology
Sangeeta Vijayagopatan, UM Hospitals Surgical
Shante Galloway, School of Dentistry Human Resources*
Shareia Carter, Center for Social Justice and Inclusion (U-M Dearborn)
Shay Vaughn, CEW+
Sheila McFolley, University Library
Stacy Peterson, School of Social Work
Talisha Reviere-Winston, LSA Linguistics
Taniesha Williams, LSA UG: Student Academic Affairs
Tashia Munson, University Library
Tazin Daniels, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching
Tiffany Marra, CEW+
Trena Brannon, ITS Infrastructure
Victoria McIntyre, The Millennium Project
Whitney Williams, Michigan Medicine Medical School Faculty Development
Zarinah Aquil, Michigan Medicine Medical School Administration

* WCTF Executive Team Member


Corporate Partnerships: TIAA

Community Partnerships: Golden Limousine, Inc.

U-M Sponsors: DAAS, Office of the Provost, Michigan Medicine Human Resources, and University Human Resources


In 1979, Jennie Partee of the Affirmative Action Office and Beulah Sanders of the School of Education created the Minority Women’s Task Force, a staff organization that would provide career development opportunities for minority women employed at the university. With additional support from the University of Michigan Affirmative Action Office (HRAA), the Human Resource Development Office, the School of Education and the University of Michigan Hospital Office of Organizational Effectiveness (Medical Center), Ms. Partee and Ms. Sanders developed a series of workshops designed to build professional skills that would empower and support African American women in their career advancement efforts at the University of Michigan. The format consisted of small groups of women coming together to discuss employment concerns and career development opportunities within the University. Over the course of the next four years, the membership grew and focused on enhancing the workshop training modules. These efforts culminated in a day-long career development conference on February 25, 1983 that featured eleven professional development workshops and more than two hundred conference participants.

The Minority Women’s Task Force experienced a major shift in its recruitment focus in the mid-1980s as it actively targeted Latina, Asian and Native American women for membership. During the 1985 summer retreat, the members voted to change the name of the organization to the Women of Color Task Force. The WCTF membership, which is comprised of staff from both the Ann Arbor and Flint campuses, has received support for the past twenty-one years from the University and the surrounding community. In 2002, the Women of Color Task Force became an administrative unit of the Center for the Education of Women (CEW+).

Awards: The Women of Color Task Force was the recipient of two university service awards in May 2009. The group received an inaugural 2008 University of Michigan Distinguished Diversity Leaders Team Award from Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts and the 2009 VOICES of the Staff Champion Award from Chief Human Resources Officer Laurita Thomas. WCTF was recognized for its continuing commitment to provide career development opportunities for all university personnel: and to support the University its efforts in recruiting and retaining a highly skilled workforce.

Career Development Passport Pilot: In 2013, WCTF along with representatives from University Human Resources, the U-M Health System Human Resources Office and VOICES of the Staff Career Development Team, collaborated to create the Career Development Passport Pilot, a 12-month staff development initiative. The project was implemented in March 2013 and ran until February 2014. This project received the 2014 CUPA-HR Midwest Successful Practices Award and CDPP team members (including Janice Reuben, WCTF Program Coordinator) conducted a panel presentation at the 2014 National CUPA-HR Conference in San Antonio, TX on September 30, 2014.


"To those who much is given, much is expected"

"Every person should strive to make a difference, no matter what they choose to pursue in life."

“Social capital is needed to be exposed to all the opportunities that majority groups have naturally.”