The Great Lakes Women’s Business Conference brings together 1,000+ certified women-owned businesses from around the country, corporate and government supplier diversity, and procurement professionals. The conference addresses the needs of emerging and established business owners.
Deadline to apply is September 15, 2022 for Suppliers to apply for one-on-one sessions between qualified certified WBEs and Corporates with specific business opportunities
WEpitch Competition, a fast-paced business pitch tournament. Fifteen WBEs will pitch their businesses to a panel of business experts at the Women’s Business Conference to compete to win First Place
Discussion groups that emphasize the exchange of ideas, demonstrations of skills & application of techniques & interactive business training, and coaching sessions that are directly applied to your business
The awards are for outstanding members that go above and beyond to support the Great Lakes Women's Business Council (WBC). Their leadership and support are an inspiration to all members, partners, and friends.
Award-winning journalist and founder of Life’s About Change
Karen Swensen is an award-winning journalist and founder of Life’s About Change, a business aimed at helping others navigate life’s challenges. She currently contributes a monthly “Changing Chapters” segment on the Today Show with Hoda and Jenna.
Karen has won more than ten Emmy and six Edward R. Murrow regional awards, along with numerous Gracie, Gabriel, Associated Press and Press Club awards for investigative journalism, writing and feature reporting.
Karen spent most of her career at WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans, LA, the only station to provide uninterrupted coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. She, like the majority of her colleagues, lost her home but stayed on the air providing vital information in real time, earning them the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism: the George Foster Peabody, the Edward R. Murrow, and the DuPont-Columbia Awards. Karen also worked as a morning anchor for NECN in Boston where she wrote and produced the acclaimed documentary “ Katrina: A Flood of Tears,” which premiered at Harvard University and was followed by a panel discussion about the governmental response to the tragedy.
Cathy Fisher serves as Senior Vice President, Business Banking Regional Director for the Midstate region for Citizens. She oversees sales, service, operations, and development of Business Banking in Michigan, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Upstate New York. In this role, her focus is on small to medium-sized businesses to help improve cash flow, address borrowing needs, and provide protection against fraud and strategies on future investments. Cathy began her career with Citizens 23 years ago and has divided her tenure between Retail leadership positions and her current Business Banking leadership role. Prior to Citizens, she spent several years in the financial services industry as a licensed financial advisor working with business owners and consumers on wealth accumulation and retirement planning.
Multi-Emmy winning and multi-Emmy nominated broadcast journalist, Paula Tutman has spent more than 30 years in front of the camera as a broadcast news reporter. A Peace Corps brat who grew up in Africa, she has spent the last 25 years living in and falling in love with Detroit and her adopted “soul’s home”, the State of Michigan. Paula has vast experience in numerous reporting genres. She spent 8 years as a police reporter in Louisville, Kentucky, and Baltimore, Maryland. She can currently be seen daily at 4, on WDIV’s, First-at-4 news broadcast as a specialty correspondent with a focus on interesting and relevant topics with deep regard for stories that have elements of human interest and social justice.
A proud WBE and MBE, in 2018, Paula launched Zuke-iT, a 100% women-owned and women-run company that would manufacture her flagship, patent-pending invention—Bra-Less Bra, Instant Cleavage Sculpting Solution™. Her maiden product went to market in 2021. Bra-Less Bra is a product that allows larger-busted women to wear many of the fashion trends that have ignored 75% of women who are larger than a D-cup bra size. Paula, who invents under the nickname, Elle, is a serial creator-preneur who says, “I don’t believe we are the sum total of our jobs. I’m a woman. I multi-task for a living”. Paula often says, “I intend to follow every thread my talents take me for the sheer enjoyment of stretching who I am, what I can create, and what I can get done for others in this brief whisp of time”.
Paula teaches a Master Your Message Communication Course© to organizations and corporations. The course is an intensive workshop that teaches an advanced communication model designed to shift office-place communication culture into high gear to team-strengthen in order to work better, sell better, be better and improve productivity and quality service in all areas of business and healthcare. She is also simultaneously developing a non-profit to fund and promote female minority business owners.
Lauren is best known as the weekend morning news anchor for Detroit’s NBC affiliate, WDIV Local 4 News. She is the first on-air position in Detroit’s top ten news market ultimately being contracted as the solo, weekend morning news anchor. She thrived as a celebrated interviewer with a remarkable capacity to connect with the audience. Lauren’s executive communication experiences developed parallel to her news career. She has worked on hundreds of corporate communication projects as the voice, host, and moderator. From interviewing award-winning author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson for the Commonwealth Club Inforum series to hosting The Wall Street Wizards Cryptocurrency live-streamed summit and hundreds of live and taped programs, Lauren has worked with hundreds of companies including dozens of Fortune 500 Companies bringing their event programs to life, including the multimillion dollar grand opening of General Motors’ Detroit headquarters and the United States Postal Services Washington DC based forum.
Carol Cain is the 13-time Emmy Award-Winning Senior Producer/ Host of "Michigan Matters," the highly-rated weekly Public Affairs show that airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on CBS Detroit. The show focuses on politics, business, education, sports, and community issues. She has interviewed the Captains of industries from business, politics, and more. Carol also hosts/produces CBS Detroit's "Eye on The Future" TV specials that have focused on business, diversity, politics, and education.
Carol continues to write a popular column for Detroit Free Press. She began her career as State Editor at United Press International and served as Business Editor for the Toledo Blade. She was a nationally syndicated columnist at The Detroit News and has won awards for her work at the Freep. She earlier served as Editor of the National, International, and Business Desks at the Free Press. Born in Detroit, she attended Detroit Public Schools and has degrees from Michigan State University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Great Lakes WBC will enforce its “Be Well” policy that stipulates that if you feel sick or are experiencing COVID-like symptoms prior to traveling to or while onsite at our event, we ask that you leave or not attend for the safety of others. To help ensure your personal safety Great Lakes WBC is committed to robust and transparent communications.