Distinguished Women

The 49th Annual Distinguished Women Awards Gala & Events

September 29, 2018

Cocktail Reception 6:30 pm followed by Gala & Awards at 7:00 pm

Midland Country Club, Midland, Michigan

Presented By

Northwood University
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About The Distinguished Women Award

Forty-nine years ago, the Distinguished Women Award was created by the Northwood University Board of Trustees to honor the enormous contributions of women. The award is a recognition of excellence. The recipients represent the values Northwood espouses for its own students: commitment to free enterprise, the partnership of arts and business, and the management of global commerce. The honorees serve as role models for Northwood University students.

The Distinguished Women Award is bestowed at a multi-day celebration held annually and never given in absentia. The honorees receive their award in the form of a unique bronze medallion at an evening gala.

This event creates an occasion to bring Northwood University to the attention of those who share a dedication to its principles of higher education. We encourage the Distinguished Women to become involved with the University and its students, and to participate in the growth of the Distinguished Women Endowed Scholarship Fund.

For more information contact Ashleigh Summers, Director of Signature Programs & Special Gifts at 989.837.4465 or summersa@northwood.edu


2017 Honorees

Katie Bowman Coleman

Katie Bowman Coleman

Dealer/Owner of Bowman Chevrolet of Clarkston, Michigan

Bloomfield Hills, MI

Katie Bowman Coleman is president and owner of Bowman Auto Group, which includes Bowman Chevrolet, Bowman Isuzu Commercial Truck, and Bowman Auto Center, all located in Clarkston, Michigan. As president, Coleman oversees a team of more than 130 employees, selling nearly 5,000 vehicles per year.

Katie began working at the dealership with her father, John Bowman, in 1993, following a career in fashion retail with Ralph Lauren in New York and Australia. She spent 17 years learning every position in the dealership before taking over as owner in 2011.

Under Katie’s leadership, the dealership has regularly been ranked among the top 20 Chevrolet dealerships in the nation, and was recently recognized as one of the fastest growing Chevrolet dealerships in Michigan. Katie has also received a number of accolades and recognitions, most recently in DBusiness Magazine as one of the top female business leaders in Michigan in an annual feature entitled “Powered By Women.”

Katie believes in the importance of giving back to the community, and is active in a number of Clarkston-area charities. She and Bowman Auto Group proudly support Easterseals Michigan, Special Camp for Special Kids (SCAMP), My Habitat Clarkston, along with many other community organizations. She is a board member and past president of the Greater Detroit Chevrolet Dealers’ Association, and an active board member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Clarkston Chamber of Commerce, and Clarkston Downtown Retailers’ Association.

Katie earned a bachelor’s degree from Denison University and a master’s degree from Walsh College. She and her husband have three children and reside in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Nominated by: Pam Boundy

Eileen A. Curtis

Eileen A. Curtis

President and CEO of the Bay Area Community Foundation

Bay City, MI

Eileen has served as the President and CEO of the Bay Area Community Foundation since 2007. She previously held positions in for profit and non-profit organizations including Vice President of Client and Employee Relations for the F.P. Horak Company, Sr. Vice President of Integration for XO Communications, Inc. and Senior Vice President of Customer Relations for Concentric Network. Eileen currently serves on the Board of Directors of McLaren Bay Region, as past President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Mid-Michigan Chapter, past President of the Northeastern Michigan Estate Planning Council, and as a Trustee of the Council of Michigan Foundations Board. Eileen is a member of the Bay City Noon Rotary Club and participates with many other committees and organizations as a volunteer. Eileen was honored in 2007 as a recipient of the Mitten Bay Girl Scouts’ Women of Distinction Award and in 2012 as one of Saginaw Valley State University’s Great Women of the Great Lakes. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration degree from Central Michigan University.

Nominated by: Brenda Rowley (DW ’15)

Pamela Good

Pamela Good

President & CEO of Non-Profit, Beyond Basics

Birmingham, MI

Pamela Good is cofounder, president and executive director of Beyond Basics, a student-centered, literacy focused nonprofit organization that achieves grade level movement in six weeks. Founded in 2002, the organization is dedicated to one-on-one reading tutoring and literacy enrichment programs for K-12 students in Metropolitan Detroit.

Pamela received a bachelor’s degree in 2001 from the University of Michigan. An entrepreneur at heart, Pamela started her own business, Farmington Computer Services, at the age of 19. The company specialized in client payroll and financial statements for certified public accountants.

Eventually, Pamela left the workforce to raise a family. In 1999, she volunteered to help with a coat drive benefitting students attending a public school in Detroit. Little did she know that as she got off the highway on exit 9 for Joy Road that her life would change so much. As she delivered coats, she learned a powerful lesson from the school’s reading resource teacher that the underlying challenge of poverty leads to illiteracy.

Pamela’s eyes were opened to the vast deficiencies in public education and she vowed that she would do more to help. She developed and delivered enrichment activities leading her to cofounding Beyond Basics, a non-profit organization that helps children in Detroit and surrounding communities achieve grade level movement in reading in six weeks with one-on-one tutoring. Their literacy enrichment programs help students overcome an aversion to learning and cultivate a love of learning and curiosity.

Beyond Basics reaches thousands of underserved children annually in Detroit and southeast Michigan with exemplary results. Thanks to generous supporters, 50 dedicated staff, 100 partners, and 2,500 volunteers, the organization provides its services at no cost to students.

Nominated by: Susanne Forbes Dicker (DW ’84)

Patricia Leonard

Patricia Leonard

Executive Director of The Charles M. Bauervic Foundation

Suttons Bay, MI

Patricia Leonard became the Executive Director of The Charles M. Bauervic Foundation in 1983, a private foundation focusing on supporting private collegiate, secondary and elementary learning institutions. The combination of her teaching degree and experience and with three of her five children still in high school or college, Pat understood the many needs for programs that would stimulate creative, problem-solving thinking for students. Seeking guidance from other non-profit sector advisors, she asked the Foundation’s Board of Directors to clarify the Foundation’s bylaws to primarily support private education with meaningful programs providing a unique learning experience. Since then, Board has challenged educational providers to seek the most effective means for students to learn fundamental principles and their application to current problems, reaching a creative solution.

Many of the programs supported have common themes of entrepreneurialism, leadership, and self-reliance, yet with smaller grants for program funds. Pat, with the Board’s support, has a special desire to challenge grantees to maximize the potential of every dollar invested in a program, frequently resulting in surprisingly large dividends of learning. It is often this “seed money” approach to programs that spurs a larger initiative or lights a spark within the administrators and students to expand or enhance the programs.

This “spark” is what motivates and encourages Pat to continue as Executive Director instead of retiring at her current age of 82. The gratification of having personal interaction with the grant recipients has been the fuel for her years of service with the Foundation. She feels blessed to be in this position and is grateful to God for His direction with this responsibility and privilege of assisting others in small but essential ways. Six million dollars have been distributed over the years, with over 1100 grants to more than 200 organizations. She credits her own excellent education at Kingswood School Cranbrook and St. Mary’s College Notre Dame to her learning foundation, as well as her work ethic to her father, Mr. Charles M. Bauervic: “Whatever you choose to do, do it with all your heart.”

Nominated by: Kathryn Bolton

Catherine Monson

Catherine Monson

CEO and President of FASTSIGNS® International, Inc.

Carrollton, TX

Catherine became CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc. in 2009, bringing over 30 years of franchising and management experience. In 2009, she received the International Franchise Association (IFA) Bonny LeVine Award in recognition of her contributions to the growth of the franchising industry and in 2010, the Dallas Business Journal named her a top Women Industry Leader in the Dallas Metroplex. In 2012, Catherine appeared on the Emmy Award-winning series Undercover Boss to learn new ways to advance the FASTSIGNS® brand. In 2015, she received the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) first Franchise Action Network FAN of the Year award for her advocacy work in the franchising community. In 2016, she was selected as a Soderstrom Society Inductee for her contributions to the printing and graphic communications industry and was also honored with the 2016 Leadership Award from the Women That Soar organization. Catherine currently serves on the Board of Directors of the IFA and was elected Secretary in 2017. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for two franchise companies - The Learning Experience® and Brain Balance – and one other industry association, Idealliance.

Nominated by: Gov. William Wallace

Elyse M. Rogers

Elyse M. Rogers

Successful writer, community activist, and philanthropist

Midland, MI

Elyse M Rogers is president and CEO of MAC International Ltd, her freelance writing company based in Midland. She is the author of more than 1000 articles and stories published in the U. S. and Japan--publications include Highlights for Children, True Story, Family Health and many others. In addition, she wrote corporate materials for The Dow Chemical Company, served as Assistant Vice President of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, and as Interim President of the Midland Area Community Foundation.

The Rogers lived and raised their three daughters in Midland before moving to Tokyo, while Ed was president of Dow Chemical Japan. During their eight years in Japan, Elyse wrote three weekly newspaper that appeared in The Japan Times, The Tokyo Weekender and The Daily Yomiuri.

Community service is very important to Elyse and her family. She and her husband established the Rogers Family Foundation in order to provide ongoing financial support for area non-profits. She currently serves as president, her husband and daughters are directors, and the grandchildren are associate-directors. In May 2017 the couple was honored by Creative360 for their commitment to Midland and years of community service.

Elyse has served and/or chaired many boards, including the following: Northwood University Town and Campus(Chair); Midland Symphony Orchestra (Chair); Midland Visiting Nurses Association; (Chair), Midland Area Chamber of Commerce (Chair); Midland Country Board of Health (Chair); Saginaw Valley State University’s Board of Fellows; Little Fork’s Conservancy; MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland; and Michigan Nonprofit Association.

Elyse is a Registered Nurse with a B.S Degree in Nursing Education from Indiana University, and an M.A. Degree from Purdue University. She’s earned many honors including: Woman of Distinction Award--Mitten Bay Girls Scout Council, Fellow of the American Medical Writers’ Association, and the Athena Foundation’s Athena Award for outstanding professional achievement.

Rogers currently serves on Northwood President’s Advisory Council, and is a past member of the university’s Board of Governors. In 2016, she established the Elyse Rogers Endowed Scholarship in Entrepreneurship at Northwood.

Nominated by: Tina Van Dam (DW ’01)

Judy Zehnder

Judy Zehnder

President of Bavarian Inn Lodge

Frankenmuth, MI

Judy Zehnder Keller is the president and owner of the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth, Michigan, which she designed and built in 1986. Now in its 4th generation of active management, the Bavarian Inn Corporation is something Judy has been a part of since childhood.

Judy attended Michigan State University where she received a B.A. in Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management and a M.A. in Educational Psychology (and a Ph.D. in 4 handed pinochle while at Michigan State).

Judy is married to Don Keller and resides in Frankenmuth, MI. They have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren.

Judy is proud of her German Heritage serving on numerous committees. As Chair Woman for the Frankenmuth Sister City Committee for 22 years, she led over 700 students with friends and family on 10 tours to Germany. In addition to her active engagement and leadership within the Frankenmuth community, Judy currently serves on the Frankenmuth DDA Board, Michigan Tourism Hospitality Committee, Michigan Hotel/Motel Board of Directors and Concordia University Ann Arbor Board of Overseers.

Judy has a long line of “firsts”: First female Frankenmuth City Council Member serving for 12 years; First female Rotary Club member in 1991 and then president in 2007-08.

Her numerous Frankenmuth, Saginaw County and State of Michigan recognitions and awards include an Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” and from Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association “Hotelier of the Year”. Judy was ranked 10th out of 200 national finalists in Start Up Nation’s Leading Mothers in Business competition. In 2012 she received from Michigan State University the prestigious “Industry LEADER of the Year” presented by The School of Hospitality Business. In 2017, she received the Child Advocate of the Year from the Great Lakes Bay Region, Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN Council). These are just a few.

Currently the Bavarian Inn Lodge & Conference Center has 360 guest rooms, meeting/banquet space for 2-500 guests, four indoor pools, two water slides, three whirlpools, an indoor 18 hole mini golf, expansive Family Fun Center with over 150 arcade games and redemption area, weekly Sunday Brunch in the poolside courtyard, two restaurants, lounges, gift shops, tennis courts, exercise facilities, and is adjacent to Heritage Park and running trails.

When asked about her profession, Judy proudly says “I fry chicken and make beds for a living”.

Nominated by: Patricia Shaheen (DW ’16)


Nancy Barker

DW ’70

Yvonne Crum

DW ’01

Catherine Eklund Mares

DW ’03

Susanne Forbes Dicker

DW ’84

Marge Hohman

DW ’85

Tommie Pardue

DW ’02

Brenda Rowley

DW ’15

Patricia Rhodes-Prowse

DW ’11

Patricia Shaheen

DW ’16

Linda Solomon

DW ’02

Lynn Stinson

DW ’14

Pat Kerr Tigrett

DW ’11