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  • Marcia Green

LEADING WOMEN OF ABWA 2024 Top Ten Nominee and 2023 Woman of the Year

TOP TEN NOMINEE, VERONICA CRUZ


Our 2024 Top Ten Nominee, VERONICA CRUZ, joined Novi Oaks Charter Chapter in January of 2020, sight-unseen. We are thankful for her leap of faith. She immediately became involved and has volunteered her help on the annual fundraising auction, the Eastern Michigan Council (EMC) event to honor Cheryl Blair (July 2021), is Chair of the Fundraising Committee, and is always willing to pitch in where she is needed.


Veronica is currently serving as the chapter secretary for a second 1-year term. She has taken Apex courses (ABWA's education platform) and has attended Eastern Michigan Council events, the ABWA 2022 Virtual Central Regional Conference, and the 2022 ABWA National Women's Leadership Conference in Westminster, Colorado. Veronica personifies the best way to get the most out of an ABWA membership!


Veronica is the Community Involvement and Government Affairs Executive at AlphaUSA in Livonia, Michigan. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a Master of Science Degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development.


Her passion is managing non-profits, helping children in need, and creating workforce development opportunities for kids through STEAM. She works closely with the Livonia schools to help generate funding to create opportunities for kids by building STEM technology labs, providing school supplies and food pantries. She also works with local businesses and colleges to create workforce development opportunities for Title 1 families.


Additionally, she supports Community Engagement for AlphaUSA by building and maintaining external relationships to help develop new initiatives while making positive contributions to the local community.


The Top Ten is an ABWA National award, with chapters across the U.S. nominating a member based on her career, education, involvement in ABWA, and contributions to her community.


The final Top Ten are chosen by a panel of three businesswomen outside of ABWA. At the national conference in the fall, the chosen Top Ten are interviewed by a three-person panel made up of the current American Business Woman of ABWA (top honor in ABWA) and two other ABWA members who have previously served as national officers or are previous Top Tens. The panel then chooses one woman from the Top Ten to be recognized as the new American Business Woman of ABWA. The next National Women's Leadership Conference will take place in Chattanooga, Tennessee on October 4-7, 2023.


The 2023 Top Tens and 2023 American Business Woman Amber Clark can be seen at https://www.abwa.org/about-us/


The Woman of the Year (WOY) is a local American Business Women's Association award based on the contributions a member has made to the chapter in the previous calendar year.


For the 2023 Woman of the Year, Novi Oaks Charter Chapter had four nominees. Being nominated is a high honor, and we are fortunate as a chapter to have these women as members.


2023 WOMAN OF THE YEAR, MARY GANTT

MARY GANTT was chosen as our 2023 Woman of the Year. Since joining ABWA in March of 2017, Mary has contributed to Novi Oaks' fundraising efforts whenever possible. She served as our chapter Secretary for two years, and has worked on the membership, program, and fundraising committees.


For our major fundraiser, the Autumn Brunch With Auction, she worked on the committee, hosted a table for ten guests with Karen Rea, made donations, and found new donors.


Mary modeled for our 2021 and 2022 Fashion Shows at the Clothing Cove in Milford, and will be modeling again on May 10, 2023. She has also recommended some wonderful speakers and has invited guests to the chapter meetings. She exemplifies what an active and meaningful membership in ABWA can bring.


Mary holds a MS in Physical Therapy from Andrews University and a BS in Biology from Madonna College. She worked extensively as a Physical Therapist at Botsford Hospital, Sunrise Home Health, and In Home Rehab Solutions. She currently works as a Photo Coach with Creative Memories and FOREVER, helping people organize their photos so their memories can be celebrated and shared with others.


Mary uses scrapbooking events as community outreach-helping Girl Scout troops earn badges, creating small photo albums for residents in senior living facilities and memory care facilities, and fundraisers to support to the Novi Public Library's programs and the Fisher House, a comfort home for military and veteran family members to stay while their loved one is hospitalized in a VA hospital. She supports the Bethany Anne Galdes Foundation, a suicide prevention program for at-risk children.


Veronica Cruz and Mary Gantt will also be honored along with other Michigan chapters' Women of the Year, Top Ten nominees, and Protégé Award recipients at an Eastern Michigan Council of ABWA event on September 9, 2023.

OTHER WOMAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEES:

LINDA DaBIERO is a Controller for Corby Energy Services in Belleville Michigan. She has been a member of ABWA for two years. She has worked on the Auction Committee, volunteered to help set up for the auction, and hosted a table for ten with Amy Sutzer at the 2022 event. She attended the July 2022 special event to honor District V Vice President Gail Frahm, and has recruited one new member.




MARCIA GREEN joined ABWA in March of 1991. In 32 years, she has served on many committees and on the chapter board many times. She is currently serving her second year as chapter Treasurer. In 2022, she also served as a Co-Chair of the auction, Program Chair, Newsletter Editor, and she maintains the chapter website. She hosted a table at the auction, made many donations, and modeled at the 2022 fashion show. She has recruited 28 members.


Marcia was chosen as a national 2017 Top Ten, and served as the ABWA 2017-2018 District V Vice President.


She retired in 2016 as an HR Manager in the automotive industry. She earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Management at the University of Phoenix, her Bachelor of Business Administration at Walsh College, and two associate degrees at Oakland Community College. Marcia’s only current volunteer activity is in ABWA.


JANICE JONES joined ABWA in April 2019 and has sponsored one new member. She hosted tables at the 2019, 2021, and 2022 auctions, donated many, many items, and made several large baskets. When we could not hold an auction in 2020, she donated a major portion of her Mary Kay sales to the chapter scholarship fund. She donated to the 2021 and 2022 Fashion Shows, modeled both years, and has volunteered to model again in 2023.


Janice holds a BS in International Studies and a BA in Theatre, both from Michigan State University. She is also a Certified Professional in Talent Development (2016). Janice’s work experience is diverse, and she has been working as a technical writer and an instructional designer for 15 years.


She supports the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Fred Astaire Dance Studio/Michigan RIM Foundation (helped teach amputees ballroom dance), Gilda’s Club Detroit , The Pink Fund, and the Oakland Literacy Council.


Our member, Pat Plamondon, had also been nominated for the honor of Woman of the Year, but declined, since she had previously been chosen as the 2020 Woman of the Year.



Interested in joining ABWA? We hold an orientation Zoom every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Visit Events to register (free).


Visit our home page to download a tri-fold about Novi Oaks (mid-page), and click on the button for the "ABWA: One membership: a lifetime of value" brochure. National membership is only $115 per year, and local dues are only $24 per year. To join, click the red "JOIN ABWA" button at the upper right corner of any page.


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