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Paula D. Cunningham to Present at Olivet College Cultivating Women Leaders Speaker Series Nov. 18

Posted at 12:43 PM, Nov 04, 2020

OLIVET, Mich. — Paula D. Cunningham, state director for AARP Michigan, will present as part of the second annual Cultivating Women Leaders Speaker Series on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1-2 p.m. The speaker series is a program of the Olivet College Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) and is aimed at personal and professional development for high school and college students through the mentorship of strong women role models. The event is free and will be presented through Zoom.

“We are proud to offer the second annual Cultivating Women Leaders Speaker Series during the 2020-21 academic year,” said Jamilia Johnson, WLI coordinator and recruiter. “It is especially important that we are able to present these events virtually, continuing to provide opportunities for attendees to develop their confidence, communication and leadership skills.”

The series is open to all high school students, parents, teachers, counselors or other administrators, as well as the Olivet College community. Registration is available at

Paual D. Cunningham

Paula D. Cunningham is the state director for AARP Michigan which has more than 1.4 million members. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social welfare organization with a national membership of nearly 38 million. They work to lead positive change and deliver value to all people ages 50 and over.

Prior to joining AARP Michigan, Cunningham was the CEO of Capitol National Bank (CNB). CNB has been in the community for more than 32 years. She was the only African American woman in the country to be president of a majority-owned bank.

Prior to joining CNB, Cunningham was also the first woman to be president of Lansing Community College (LCC). In that role, she successfully led a community millage campaign to generate an additional $9 million for the institution into perpetuity. Under her leadership, the college implemented a strategic planning process that resulted in five new buildings. The main building on the LCC campus was officially named the Paula D. Cunningham Administration Building in 2006. This is the only building named after a woman in downtown Lansing.

Cunningham’s dedication to education, small business and community has been recognized by many organizations. She has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career, including the 2016 Michigan Black Caucus Trailblazer Award, the prestigious Athena Award, being inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, featured in Ebony Magazine as a “Woman on the Move” and featured in Bridge Magazine as a woman who “Breaks Barriers.”

Cunningham serves on numerous boards including, but not limited to, Davenport University and McLaren Health Systems – Lansing, and she was the first African American female to chair the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board.

The Cultivating Women Leaders Speaker Series will host two additional events in the spring of 2021.

Learn more about the Olivet College Women’s Leadership Institute and Cultivating Women Leaders Speaker Series by contacting Jamilia Johnson at 269-749-7667 or

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