The Grand Rapids Business Journal releases its list of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan every other year, recognizing women for their community involvement, leadership and impact on their industry. This year, Michigan State University was well represented with nine alumni recognized, including four Broad College graduates: Linsey Gleason (B.A. General Management ’03), Rhonda Huismann (B.A. Accounting ’97), Jennifer Remondino (B.A. General Business Administration ’02) and Milinda Ysasi (MBA ’19).
“This recognition is special because there are so many deserving women in our community,” Ysasi, executive director of nonprofit organization The SOURCE, said. “To be recognized alongside friends and strong community partners has been an honor.”
The Grand Rapids Business Journal hosted an event at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids on March 4 to celebrate the women recognized. Kara Tripi, assistant director of the Executive MBA program, and Cheri DeClercq, assistant dean of MBA and graduate programs, attended to support the Broad College honorees. Broad has been a proud supporter of the event for years, Tripi said.
“Recognizing the accomplishments of our women leaders not only showcases their success but also models what’s possible for young women who are just starting their careers,” DeClercq said. “It’s great to see so many of our MSU Broad graduates being highlighted for the impact they’re having.”
For this year’s event, which was the ninth biennial celebration and welcomed nearly 700 people, Grand Rapids-based consultant Graci Harkema was the keynote speaker. Harkema spoke earnestly about professionals being their authentic selves.
“Our goal in creating this event every other year is simply to recognize the quality of female leaders in the Grand Rapids business community,” said Tim Gortsema, editor of the Grand Rapids Business Journal. “Many of these women are household names locally, but some are up and coming in their professions and while they may not be traditionally ‘successful’ yet, we’ve identified them as influential in their areas of expertise.”
“It is an honor to see women like Milinda Ysasi, and the other influential alumna from Broad College, creating a positive impact on how business operates in West Michigan,” Tripi said.