As women of color who have occupied senior leadership positions within a West Michigan landscape, we are living testaments to the implicit and explicit ‘people, power, politics’ struggles that impact women of color in Kent and Ottawa Counties. We are not alone. Daily, women of color serve on the front lines of public, private, and nonprofit sector organizations despite systemic barriers, ceilings, and walls that challenge their ability to thrive. Our own lived experiences make us passionate about creating safe spaces for existing and emerging female leaders of color to share their stories. We believe that storytelling is a powerful tool for brokering trust, transparency, and transfer of knowledge. This research was undertaken to address narratives in West Michigan that suggest that “there are no experienced people of color to lead” in our communities. For this work, we used our expertise regarding mind mapping and network mapping, storytelling, messaging, and building beloved communities to advance the voices and inclusion of women of color at tables of power and decision-making in West Michigan. This website serves to amplify our voices as sisters who lead so that the conversations birthed out of our research will continue to positively impact women of color as well as the organizations blessed by their engagement.

Pat Sosa VerDuin
Shannon M. Cohen

Upcoming Event

March 22 & 23, 2018

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Recent Blog Posts

Inaugural Sister Who Lead Conference – REGISTER NOW!

REGISTER NOW! You are invited to this exciting event for women of color coming together in an Inaugural Sisters Who Lead Conference taking place on March 22-23, 2018 . Registration is now officially open for this event. This conference has been curated by and...

Post-It Power: What Young Professionals of Color Want You to Know about Creating A Culture of Fit and Belonging in West MI Workplaces

Authors: Shannon Cohen & Pat Sosa VerDuin Since the release of our “Invisible Walls, Ceilings, and Floors” research and the birth of Sisters Who Lead, we have been honored to speak in community and conference spaces seeking to foster workplace cultures where...

Looking For Signs

Author: Pat Sosa VerDuin I am always looking for signs…actual signs. I look for license plates, and placard words placed on park benches in loving memory of someone. At stores, I look for inspirational signs you know the ones that read ‘Live, Laugh and Love’… you’ve...

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