Hats Off to Women Luncheon

In May of 2020 the Zonta Club recognized outstanding women leaders in our community in the annual Hats Off To Women celebration.  Although Covid-19 safety guidelines changed the format in which the celebration was held, it did not deflate the admiration and appreciation we all share for these outstanding leaders.   Please join us below in recognizing all award recipients.

Lisa Taylor

Traverse City Track Club

Nominated by Zonta Club member Janice Beyer.

Lisa is the first-ever Executive Director of the Traverse City Track Club. She oversees the programs, finances, scholarships, grants for a club of 1,000 members. Lisa is a coach first though, and has guided hundreds of young women through her longtime position of Coach for Cross Country and Track at Traverse City Central High School. She stays in touch with many of her former runners throughout their life and shares in the accomplishments while encouraging them to stay active. I met Lisa at her Couch to 5K program 15 years ago at Running Fit. She has encouraged me to run everything from a mile to a half marathon. Through injury and illness, she has been a great coach to me. Thank you Lisa!

Lenda McQueer

Christ Church of Traverse City

Nominated by Zonta Club member Pat Lewallen.

Lenda is a great lady who has a heart for helping others.  Lenda is the coordinator for the three times a week Community Food Pantry and assists with the Saturday Night Community Meal, all provided free to those needing food and/or a quality meal. In addition, she is the Administrative Assistant to Christ Church pastor, Rev. Jeff Goodwin (also a great person). Lenda McQueer has been a key person at Christ Church for many years…not sure how long, but VERY long !!
Lenda is tireless, always puts others before herself and due to her comittment, hundreds of people every week have food and meals. Lenda coordinates and supervises many volunteers, who are also terrific. Lenda deserves a Hats Off recognition as she is a great role model and inspiration to many. Nominated by Zonta Club member Pat Lewallen.

Phillomena Mantella

President of  Grand Valley State University

Nominated by Zonta Club member Shannon Owen.

GVSU’s President Philomena Mantella is a women leader in higher education. She has just finished her first academic year as president and has remained transparent, forward thinking and innovative. In these times of uncertainty she has provided clear direction and empathy towards all our students, faculty, staff and community. I’m thankful for her leadership and look forward to the next year under her direction.

Karen Schmidt

Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park

Nominated by Zonta Club President Rhonda Estes.

Karen Schmidt is a retired educator who was employed in the field of education for 35 years as a speech pathologist, classroom teacher, learning disability consultant, special education director, and elementary school principal.

Since 2007, Karen has acted as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park. She does not garner a pay check for her work, instead she puts in endless volunteer hours and dedicates herself to the operation and sustenance of the gardens. Under Karen’s leadership the Botanic Garden has become a popular regional attraction as well as a popular wedding destination.

Mary Anne Rivers-Friese

Nominated by Zonta Club member Dayna Ryan.

Mary Anne Rivers-Friese has served as my personal and professional mentor for many years, and I credit her for helping me find my footing and develop professional confidence.  She embodies the qualities of an effective leader with her inherent grace and strength, and uses her magical singing voice and personable nature to make anyone feel like family.

She has taught me the art of letting go and re-purposing my passions to advocate for myself and others.  A wonderful grandmother, wife, and caring friend, Mary Anne’s lovely character is unwavering and inspirational for myself and countless others.

Meagan Luce

Nominated by Zonta Club member Kellie Sergent.

Meagan is an absolutely genuine and amazing woman.  Not only professionally, but as a mother, friend and community champion.  As a full time Realtor with Century 21 Northland for the last 10 years, Meagan gives 110% every single day. She is an advocate for her clients and the industry, always striving to learn and educate her peers.  Besides her involvement with the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, where she is a past President and served on numerous committees, she has served as State District Rep, been on the Public Policy Committee and Chair of RPAC, all for Michigan Realtors. She is also active in The Pathfinder School as well as various non-profits in the region.  She is a mentor, friend and role model for myself and many who know her. Meagan is a truly outstanding person in our region.

2019 Hats Off to Women Photo Gallery