Third Olivet College Cultivating Women Leaders Event Provides Critical Leadership Training

Posted: 10:13 AM, Mar 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-25 10:13:14-04
Women's Leadership Program

OLIVET, Mich. — Today, Olivet College held the third annual Cultivating Women Leaders event, Together We Rise, designed to help middle school girls to female business professionals develop their leadership skills. The event is part of the Olivet College Women’s Leadership Institute and welcomed more than 275 attendees to campus for interactive sessions and leadership training.

“I’m excited to say that Olivet College is leading a movement to address the gender gap in today’s workforce,” said Traci Corey, Women’s Leadership Institute director and Olivet College presidential spouse. “I believe in the power of mentorship in developing the women leaders of tomorrow. Mentors play an extraordinarily important role in galvanizing a young woman to aspire to great accomplishments.” Corey advocates for women’s rights, addressing issues head-on and encouraging women to work together to make a difference.

Attendees, including Olivet College current and prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members and female business leaders, networked and received professional and personal development from Olivet College alumnae, as well as women business professionals. Key areas critical to successful leadership were identified, and presenters shared personal experiences of obstacles they encountered and how they overcame those challenges.

Together We Rise

The day was comprised of interactive sessions and panel presentations, including opportunities to network.

* The “Be the Change” panel featured Olivet College students junior Nicole Deweyert, junior Brittany McDuffie and junior Tyler Nobel.

* Participants engaged in speed networking.

* A “Dress for Success” session was presented by Kelly Duggan of Kelly Duggan Image Consulting.

* The Olivet College Alumnae Panel featured Melanie Engels ’08, pharmacy manager, Munson Healthcare; Dominique Giroux ’18, volunteer, Camphill Community, Ireland;

Re’Gene Thompson ’17, technical assistant, Michigan Millers Insurance Company; and Caitlin Tyler ’12, owner, Hook & Reel Design. Sheri Jones, WLNS news anchor, facilitated the panel.

* Polo Reo Tate gave the keynote address.

* A “Negotiation Skills” session was presented by Melanie Estes, vice president, transportation practice lead, DHS Consulting; Tom Kolassa, chair, Olivet College board of trustees; Maureen Mitchell, regional vice president, Meijer; and Karen Preston, director, human resources, RTI Surgical.

* The “Let’s Get Real” panel featured Delstene Atkinson, special assistant to the president, Olivet College; Jacqueline Bougie, owner/creator, Searchlight Healthcare Advocates; Traci Corey, director, Olivet College Women’s Leadership Institute; and Melanie Estes, vice president, transportation practice lead, DHS Consulting.

* The program concluded with a ceremony honoring the second cohort of the OC ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Program, recognizing their development throughout the yearlong program.

Keynote Address: Polo Reo Tate

Tate, a Lansing native and the great-great-granddaughter of automotive pioneer Ransom E. Olds, was eager to accept the challenges that awaited her as she headed to the U.S. Air Force Academy after high school. However, Tate was not prepared for the harassment as well as the physical, emotional and sexual abuse from her peers and superiors that greeted her arrival — a horrific personal journey of survival and resilience Tate unflinchingly chronicles in her memoir.

Tate’s compelling and eye-opening odyssey of grace and reclamation as well as her courageous and positive outlook on life serves as motivation for women of all ages.

“We have the opportunity now to have a voice more than ever,” Tate said. “We have the opportunity to speak with authenticity. This is my philosophy: believe, be love, be now. Believe what we are set to do. Love as we were meant to. Be present in every moment. We’re all in this together, truly.”

Olivet College Women’s Leadership Institute Programming

The Olivet College Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) includes many other opportunities for any student who identifies as a female to learn and grow. This June, two Olivet College ATHENA International Leadership Camps will be held. The first camp will be for high school students June 21-23, followed by a specialized middle school camp June 23-25. Further, OC welcomes high performing students to apply for the Keyes-Barber-Benedict Scholars Program, a focal point of deep engagement for a select group of women student leaders at the College. Learn more about WLI at or by emailing For more information about Olivet College, contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or