Article courtesy of Saginaw County Chamber of CommerceBeth Bryce of Northwood University has been selected as one of eight women from Bay, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties as “Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region” and has enhanced the region’s quality of life in decidedly different ways.
The Graff Chevrolet dealership in Bay City and Saginaw Valley State University Athletics created the honor in 2011 to draw attention to local women for their extraordinary commitment of time, talent and experience in a meaningful way to improve the quality of life in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Two recipients are selected from each of the region’s four counties.
The following women have been selected for the 2013 award:
- Beth Bryce of Saginaw, who is a certified motivational career coach, writer and speaker. Bryce is the founder of Girls2Women Coaching, an organization aimed at mentoring women in their lives and careers. Her leadership in Girls On The Run of Saginaw Bay, a nonprofit program for young girls that promotes healthy lifestyles to improve self-esteem, has helped increase the number of girls in the program from five in 2010 to 300 currently. She has contributed as an author to “Women On Fire Book 2,” an anthology featuring stories of women who have overcome adversity. Bryce also works as an adjunct professor at Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School.
- Wendy Dore of Bay City, who also was awarded “The Key To Bay City” by Mayor Chris Shannon for her role in organizing the Labadie Pig Gig. The annual event was a Bay City summertime staple from 1993 to 2012. The Pig Gig generated more than $1 million in funds for local nonprofit organizations. Dore and her husband, Jim, now oversee the Bay City Country Club and continue to support charitable causes such as the Boys and Girls Club of the Great Lakes Bay Region, the Bay Area Women’s Center’s Power of the Purse event, and the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission’s Race for Rescue.
- Alice Gerard of Bay City, who is the president and chief executive officer for McLaren Bay Region. She is credited with ensuring community nonprofit organizations are supported through sponsorships and in-kind donations from McLaren Bay Region. Gerard also is a past campaign chair for the United Way of Bay County. Her past honors include the 2008 United Way Distinguished Service Award, the 2007 YWCA Women’s Empowerment Award, the 2007 SVSU Crystal M. Lange College of Nursing and Health Sciences Outstanding Alumna Award, and the 2006 Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Award.
- Susan Marsh of Midland, who is the founder and director of Young Lives Midland, a mentoring program for teen mothers. During its brief 2-year existence, the initiative has served over 30 teen mothers in the area, and Marsh has helped train 15 people to serve as mentors in the program. The group also has organized activities including an annual regional summer camp for teen mothers from Michigan and surrounding states. In addition, Marsh has volunteered for the Pregnancy Resource Center, overseen a neighborhood Bible study and served as a deacon at Christian Celebration Center church.
- Annie Rummel of Frankenmuth, who is president of the Great Lakes Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is credited with integrating the convention and visitors bureaus of Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties, which helped to bring a number of events to the region including the 2012 Midwest Soccer Tournament, which generated an estimated $12 million in economic activity. She also has incorporated the region into the Pure Michigan advertising campaign.
- Bonnie Schaeffer of Mount Pleasant, who is a longtime local volunteer. As a leader at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, one of her projects, “Chefs With Spirit,” involves providing meals to those in need; another project feeds needy children on Wednesday nights. Her volunteer efforts include work with the Isabella County Commission on Aging, the Mount Pleasant Rotary Club and the Central Michigan University-based Christmas outreach program for underprivileged families. She also has hosted 14 foreign exchange students in her home.
- Janet Maar Strickler of Mount Pleasant, who is the president of the Mount Pleasant Area Community Foundation. She is credited with growing the foundation’s scholarship program while formalizing sponsorship opportunities for businesses and individuals. Strickler has a record of active community involvement, serving on the boards of McLaren Central Michigan and the Mount Pleasant Country Club, as well as volunteering for the Isabella County Vision 20/20 Quality of Life Committee, the Woodland Hospice House Advisory Committee and the Mount Pleasant Tourist Club.
- Dr. Audrey Stryker of Midland, who is a full-time partner at the Women’s Ob-Gyn clinic in Saginaw and volunteers at a free clinic in Bay City. She helped create the iWish Foundation, designed to provide improved health care resources to women and children in underdeveloped communities. The endeavor has sent Stryker to Haiti, where her foundation delivered medical equipment. She earned the 2011 American Red Cross Humanitarian Hero of the Year award from the Saginaw branch in recognition for her efforts in Haiti. As a result of her work, SVSU students and others in the community have gained valuable knowledge and experience to help those less fortunate.
The Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region will receive their awards Thursday, Feb. 27. A networking reception will begin at 4 p.m. in SVSU’s Curtiss Hall. The program includes a panel discussion on how women can serve as change agents and make a meaningful difference in their communities. The ceremony is open to the public and free of charge, but seating is limited.
The honorees also will be publicly recognized during halftime of the women’s basketball game between SVSU and Northwood University that begins at 6 p.m. That game is Girl Scout Night, and all girl scouts wearing official Girl Scouts apparel will be admitted free of charge, along with up to two guests each. For others, tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and seniors.
Presented by Catholic Federal Credit Union and Graff Chevrolet of Bay City, The Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region award is sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, General Motors and Spring Hill Suites of Saginaw, and hosted by SVSU Athletics.