Women in Office Mean Business

Date/Time:       08/21/2019       5:30 pm

Location: Varnum Law

Taking our seat at the table
Join us to learn from these powerhouse politicians about their journey to office, lessons learned while listening to their constituents, and challenges they’ve encountered and overcome. While our career paths may not require campaign promises or snappy yard signs, we all can apply the lessons these ladies share as we blaze a trail in our professions. Let’s talk politics as only WISE women can!

Thank you to our very special guests who have volunteered their time to answer questions and share their experience and insights.

Courtney Winell – League of Women Voters Grand Rapids Board Member


Mayor Rosalynn Bliss – Grand Rapids
Mayor BlissMayor Rosalynn Bliss became Grand Rapids’ first female Mayor when she took office on January 1, 2016. She previously served as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years. 

Mayor Bliss is Grand Valley State University’s endowed chair for the Frederik Meijer Honors College. She earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of South Alabama and a master’s in social work from Michigan State University. 

She serves on several local, regional and statewide boards and commissions and has been recognized for her leadership in both child welfare and public service.

Sarah Anthony – State Representative for 68th House District
Sarah AnthonyState Rep. Sarah Anthony is serving her first full term representing the 68th House District, which encompasses part of the city of Lansing and Lansing Township. Sarah was born and raised on Lansing’s south side.  She graduated from Central Michigan University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and legal studies. She went on to earn a Master of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University and was later named a fellow of the University of Michigan’s New Leadership Academy. After graduation, she returned to Lansing to work for former State Rep. Joan Bauer as a Legislative Assistant. In 2010 Anthony began an eight-year service as Deputy Director with the Michigan College Access Network. She was elected to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners in 2012, the youngest African American woman to serve in this capacity in the United States. She currently serves as the Democratic Caucus Chair for the 2019-2020 session. In November 2018, Anthony was sworn into her partial term, making her the first African American woman to serve in this capacity in Lansing’s history. She has been a fearless leader for health care access, social justice, and services for senior citizens and working families.

Lynn Afendoulis – State Representative for 73rd House District
Rep Lynn AfendoulisState Rep. Lynn Afendoulis was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2018. She represents the 73rd District, which includes the city of East Grand Rapids and the townships of Cannon, Courtland, Nelson, Oakfield, Plainfield, Spencer and Grand Rapids Charter Township. Rep. Afendoulis graduated from Forest Hills High School and attended Miami University (Ohio); she graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism. For the last 25 years, she has worked for Universal Forest Products, Inc. in various capacities, including director of corporate communication for the past 15 years. Rep. Afendoulis serves as chair for the committee on Tax Policy. She also serves on the committees for Health Policy, Military, Veterans, & Homeland Security, and Transportation & Infrastructure. Lynn has also served on the boards of the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth (Boys and Girls Club), Opera Grand Rapids and Circle Theater. She also serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids and Legacy Trust and on the parish council of her church, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

Joan Bauer – Advocate for Women & Former State Representative for 68th House District
Joan BauerFmr. State Representative Joan Bauer served on the Lansing City Council for 11 years and then represented the 68th House District from 2007-2012. She has lived and worked in Lansing for most of her life. Joan graduated from Western Michigan University with a BA in history and political science. She was a high school teacher, women’s services director at the Lansing YWCA, director of the Lansing Community College Foundation and volunteer services director at Ingham Regional Medical Center. While in office, she served on the House Appropriations Committee and chaired the Higher Education Subcommittee, and Governor Whitmer recently appointed Joan to the Michigan Capitol Commission. Term limited in 2012, Joan is currently working part-time at Lansing Community College where she assists the President with community relations and engagement. Joan is committed to encouraging women and young people to become involved in the political process.

Remember Your Purse!
Attendees are invited to donate new or like new, designer and everyday handbags/purses. The Annual Purse Auction Fundraiser will be held on September 19th, 2019 at Watermark Country Club and benefit Kids’ Food Basket and the Whole Child, Inc. The goal is to raise $50,000 for the children. How much can WISE Women do when we come together?!

Register For The Event: $25

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