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.

Executive Team

Doreen Tinajero, LSA Center for Social Solutions (Career Conference Registration)
Faye Portis, DAAS (Conference Vendors)
Grace Wu, UMHS, Treasurer (Recruitment & Outreach)
Katherine Weathers, LSA Advancement – Dean’s Office (Recruitment & Outreach)
Jacqueline Bowman, Office of the Staff Ombuds (Special Advisor to the Executive Team)
Janice Reuben, CEW+, WCTF Program Coordinator
Janis Williamson, UHS (Professional Development)
Lorraine Robert, CRLT (Professional Development)
Marlanna Landeros, DPSS (University Policies)
Mary Jo Gray, School of Dentistry (Leadership Development)
Rachel Dawson, Michigan Medicine HITS CIO Administration (Strategic Planning)
Shante Galloway, School of Dentistry (Career Conference Registration)


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.

July 2019 – July 2020 WCTF Meetings

All WCTF meetings will be held in Room 4701 in Haven Hall (DAAS conference room ) unless otherwise indicated.

July 11, 2019 – Personal Self Defense and Conflict Management (to be rescheduled) CEW+
July 25, 2019 – Identity & Belonging in the Workplace – Gloryvee Fonseca-Bolorin, MA, CEW+ Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS), 12-1:30 pm
Aug 8, 2019 – General Meeting Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Aug 22, 2019 – Personal Self Defense and Conflict Management – Candace Dorsey, DPSS CEW+, 330 E. Liberty Street
Sep 12, 2019 – General Meeting Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Sep 26, 2019 – Staff Writing Retreat
Setting Writing Goals
Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Oct 10, 2019 – General Meeting Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Oct 24, 2019 – Staff Writing Retreat
Different Writing Styles (grants, proposals, abstracts, etc.)
Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Oct 28, 2019 – Fall Leadership Retreat: Cynthia H. Bowman, MBA; Shannon Cohen, MA, and Joy DeGruy, PhD (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) Networking Reception to follow 4:30 – 6:00 pm Weiser Hall, 10th Floor ( 500 S. Church Street)
Nov 7, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Dec 5, 2019 Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Jan 16, 2020 – Conference Prep Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Jan 30, 2020 – Staff Writing Retreat Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Feb 13, 2020 – Conference Prep Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Feb 27, 2020 – Conference Prep Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Mar 5, 2020 – Career Conference Prep Michigan League (11:30 am – 3:30pm)
Mar 6, 2020 – 38th Career Conference Michigan League (7 am – 5 pm)
Mar 12, 2020 – Conference Debrief Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
Mar 26, 2020 – Staff Writing Retreat Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
April 9, 2020 – General Meeting/ Workshop Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
May 14, 2020 – Staff Writing Retreat Haven Hall, Room 4701 (DAAS)
June 11, 2020 – EoY Networking Luncheon TBD

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

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 livestream of 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
Amanda Harris, FinOps Payroll Office
Angela Kelly, Shared Services Center
Angela Johnson, Michigan Medicine Multicultural Health
Angela Turner, DSA Health Service
Ashley Tanksley, School of Public Health HBHE
Barbara Askew, LSA Physics
Carine Hails, Office of University Development
Carmencita Princen, Graham Sustainability Institute
Catricia Thomas, Michigan Medicine Cancer Center
Chandani Wiersba, School of Information
Charmayne Wiley, Business Engagement Center
Cherie Dotson, College of Pharmacy
Cheryl McPherson, School of Education
Crystal Gregory, College of Pharmacy
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
Doreen Tinajero, LSA Center for Social Solutions*
Diane Brinson-Days, Ross School of Business
Ellen Copeland-Brown, Michigan Medicine Revenue Cycle
Faye Portis, Department of Afroamerican & African Studies*
Frances Acevedo-Mariani, LSA Chemistry
Gloryvee Fonseca-Bolorin, Center for the Education of Women+ (CEW+)
Grace Wu, Taubman Institute*
Jacqueline Bowman, Office of the Staff Ombuds
Jacquelyn West, School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD)
Janice Reuben, Center for the Education of Women+ (CEW+) (WCTF Program Coordinator)*
Janis Williamson, DSA University Health Services*
Jeanine Tsang, LSA Finance
Joana Dos Santos, Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning
Judy Breadon, School of Nursing
Kaitlin Deslatte, Division of Public Safety & Security
Kamilah Davis-Wilson, School of Public Health
Karen Gates, CoE Biomedical Engineering
Katherine Weathers, LSA Dean’s Office: Advancement*
Kiana Daniels, DSA Residence Education
Kimberly Gates, Michigan Medicine Medical School
Kimberly Williams, Ross School of Business
Kristina Bee, Business Engagement Center
Lekisha Maxwell, ISR Survey Research Center
Liese Hull, LSA Comprehensive Studies Program
Linda McGuire, ITS Infrastructure Networks
Lisa M. Green, Student Life Services for Students with Disabilities
Lorraine Robert, Michigan Medicine Medical School Administration*
Marchelle Moore, Center for the Education of Women+ (CEW+)
Maria Flores, Michigan Medicine Medical School
Marlanna Landeros, Division of Public Safety & Security Human Resources*
Mary Jo Gray, School of Dentistry*
Mashunda Oliver, Ross School of Business
Monica Hickson, ITS Infrastructure
Natalie R. Brown, School of Dentistry Human Resources
Nedine Hunter-DuPree, ITS Human Resources
Nyshourn Price, School of Social Work
Parina Kamdar, Michigan Medicine HITS OCIO
Paula Williams, Division of Public Safety & Security
Rachel Dawson, Michigan Medicine HITS CIO Administration*
Sangeeta Vijayagopatan, UM Hospitals Surgical
Shante Galloway, School of Dentistry Human Resources*
Sheila McFolley, University Library
Stacy Peterson, School of Social Work
Talisha Reviere-Winston, LSA Linguistics
Tashia Munson, University Library
Tiffany Marra, Center for the Education of Women+ (CEW+)
Uzma Anwar, LSA Opportunity Hub
Zarinah Aquil, Michigan Medicine Medical School Administration

* Denotes WCTF Executive Team Member

Honorary Members (Retired):

Belinda Eberhardt, UMHS KMS
Cheryl Mayes, Plant Operations (2018)
Clara Blakely, UM-Flint Educational Opportunities
Elizabeth Mimms, School of Education
Ella Williams, UMHS Entrances Services
Gwendolyn Brown, College of Engineering* (2018)
Johnnie Joplin, Michigan Medicine Revenue Cycle (Spring 2018)
Joyce French, ISR (Nov 2017)
Lynne Shivers, Rackham Graduate School
Priscilla Rice, School of Education
Regina Sims, Rackham School of Graduate Studies (Oct 2017)
Rosalind Anderson, Michigan Medicine Pediatric Clinic (Nov 2017)
Valerie Eaglin, Center for the Education of Women+ (CEW+)


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.