Women of Color Task Force

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.


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 reubenjs@umich.edu.


Women of Color Task Force meetings are held monthly on Thursdays, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm at Haven Hall, Conference Room 4701 (DAAS). Please contact the WCTF Coordinator Janice Reuben about membership at 734.764.6005 or reubenjs@umich.edu.

June 2018 – June 2019 WCTF Meetings

All WCTF meetings will be held at 12:00 pm in Haven Hall, in the offices of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS) unless otherwise indicated.

A special thank you to the Department of Afroamerican & African Studies for providing meeting space for the U-M Women of Color Task Force.

Friday, July 13, 2018 – Jocelyn Giangrande workshop, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm Palmer Commons, Great Lakes South Room
July 26, 2018 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Aug 9, 2018 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Aug 23, 2018 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Sep 20, 2018 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Oct 4, 2018 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Oct 25, 2018 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Nov 15, 2018 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Dec 13, 2018 – Holiday Networking Luncheon TBD
Jan 24, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Feb 7, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Feb 21, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Mar 7, 2019 – Conference prep @ Michigan League Michigan League
Mar 8, 2019 – 37th Annual Career Conference @ Michigan League Michigan League
Mar 14, 2019 – Conference Debrief
April 4, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
May 16, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
June 6, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
June 20, 2019 – End of Year (EOY) Networking Luncheon TBD

WCTF Events - 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.

Staff Mentoring

The Task Force believes that creating opportunities to share experiences and exchange knowledge fosters professional success and supports personal excellence. In order to produce those opportunities and conduits for sharing, the Task Force provides mentoring to its members, other U-M staff, and students.

The goals of the mentoring program are to:

  • Promote leadership development;
  • Increase professional skills and specific core competencies;
  • Provide resource information to staff members regarding their career goals; and
  • Establish a support network for U-M staff.

A new mentoring pilot in 2018-2019 will pair WCTF members mentors with undergraduate women of color mentees in an effort to encourage these students to consider a career in higher education administration and create a pipeline of future women of color staff leaders.

Conference History and Speakers

U-M Women of Color Task Force
Conference Themes & Keynote Speakers, 1983 – 2018

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 Managment
Amanda Harris, UHR Payroll Office
Angela Kelly, Shared Services Center
Barbara Askew, LSA Physics
Brittney Nobles, College of Pharmacy
Carine Hails, Office of University Development
Catricia Thomas, Michigan Medicine Cancer Center
Charmayne Wiley, Business Engagement Center
Cherie Dotson, College of Pharmacy
Cheryl Mayes, Plant Operations
Cheryl McPherson, School of Education
Christine Dantzler, University Library
Crystal Robinson, Michigan Medicine Ophthalmology
Dawn Storball, Michigan Medicine Office of Postdoctoral Studies
Debby Mitchell, College of Engineering
Deborah Willis, Rackham Graduate School
Delmere Oliver, Michigan Medicine Shared Human Resources
Devon Keen, School of Information
Ebony Reddock, School of Social Work
Ellen Copeland-Brown, Michigan Medicine Revenue Cycle
Faye Portis, Department of Afroamerican & African Studies*
Frances Acevedo-Mariani, LSA Chemistry
Grace Wu Ressler, Michigan Medicine Metabolism, Endo & Diabetes*
Gwendolyn Brown, College of Engineering*
Jacqueline Bowman, Center for the Education of Women*
Jacquelyn West, Procurement Services
Janice Reuben, Center for the Education of Women (WCTF Program Coordinator)*
Janis Williamson, DSA University Health Services*
Joana Dos Santos, Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning
Joyce French, Institute for Social Research (Retired Nov 2017)*
Judy Breadon, School of Nursing
Katherine Weathers, LSA Dean’s Office: Advancement*
Kristina Bee, Business Engagement Center
Laiwanna Tutt, Law School*
Latreece Taylor, UHR Recruitment & Employment Services*
Lekisha Maxwell, ISR Survey Research Center
Liese Hull, LSA Comprehensive Studies Program
Lisa M. Green, Student Life Services for Students with Disabilities
Lorraine Robert, Michigan Medicine Medical School Administration*
Marlanna Landeros, Division of Public Safety & Security Human Resources*
Mary Jo Gray, School of Dentistry
Monica Hickson, ITS Infrastructure
Natalie R. Brown, School of Dentistry Human Resources
Nyshourn Price, School of Social Work
Paula Williams, Division of Public Safety & Security
Rachel Dawson, Michigan Medicine HITS CIO Administration
Regina Sims, Rackham School of Graduate Studies (Retired Oct 2017)
Rosalind Anderson, Michigan Medicine Pediatric Clinic (Retired Nov 2017)
Samara Hough, Center for the Education of Women
Shante Galloway, School of Dentistry Human Resources
Sheila McFolley, University Library
Stacy Peterson, School of Social Work
Tashia Munson, University Library
Tiffany Marra, Center for the Education of Women
Zarinah Aquil, Michigan Medicine Medical School Administration

* Denotes WCTF Executive Team Member

Honorary Members:
Belinda Eberhardt, UMHS KMS (retired)
Clara Blakely, UM-Flint Educational Opportunities (retired)
Elizabeth Mimms, School of Education (retired)
Ella Williams, UMHS Entrances Services (retired)
Johnnie Joplin, Michigan Medicine Revenue Cycle
Lynne Shivers, Rackham Graduate School (retired)
Priscilla Rice, School of Education (retired)
Valerie Eaglin, Center for the Education of Women (retired)

Executive Team

Faye Portis, DAAS (Vendors / Recruitment)
Grace Wu, UMHS, Treasurer (Membership)
Gwendolyn Brown, CoE-IOE (Leadership Development)
Katherine Weathers, LSA Advancement – Dean’s Office (Recruitment)
Janis Williamson, UHS (Professional Development)
Joyce French, ISR (Historian)
Lai Tutt, Law School (Career Conference)
Latreece Taylor, UHR Temp Services (Leadership Development)
Lorraine Robert, CRLT (Career Conference)
Marlanna Landeros, DPSS (University Policies)
Shante Galloway (School of Dentistry)
Mary Jo Gray (School of Dentistry)

Jacqueline Bowman, CEW (Special Advisor to the Executive Team)

Janice Reuben, CEW, WCTF Program Coordinator


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.