The Women’s Municipal Leadership Program is an opportunity for aspiring women to advance their skills and hone their leadership abilities on the path to becoming strong local managers. This year’s program, held virtually, selected 33 participants. Meet the future women leaders of our communities below.

Bachelor, Enna

Enna Bachelor
Purchasing Manager
City of Livonia

Enna Bachlor’s public sector procurement experience spans twenty-four years, two states and three municipalities. She was born and raised in Detroit, is a graduate of Grand Valley State University, and mother of three beautiful daughters.

Christine Bedford
City Clerk
City of Rockford

Simone is the first Assistant to the City Manager in Novi. After working as an educational researcher for the University of Pittsburgh, Simone returned to Michigan to earn her MPA at Wayne State University. The Carnegie Mellon University alumna comes from two generations of Detroit Police Officers and is a certified applied behavioral analysis therapist.

Katie Beemer
MPA Student
Grand Valley State University

Katie is a second year graduate student at Grand Valley State University, and this year will receive her Masters in Public Administration, with a concentration in Local State and Regional Governance. She previously completed her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Pennsylvania State University. In addition to her studies, Katie serves as the Michigan Municipal Executives Next Gen Management Fellow with the City of Wayland, and will work as a graduate assistant at Grand Valley. She previously interned with the City of Ferrysburg and the City of Muskegon. At school, she is the President of the ICMA Student Chapter and a Leadership Fellow at the Cook Leadership Academy through the Haustein Center for Presidential Studies. Katie is passionate about civic engagement and the arts, and her thesis this year will be on the subject of voter participation in municipal elections.

Aubrey Berman
Economic Development Director
City of Westland

Aubrey Berman was appointed as the Economic Development Director for the City of Westland in March of 2019. Her role is to provide direct support for commercial, industrial and new residential projects throughout the development and expansion process and to deploy ongoing attraction and retention business development efforts. She began her municipal career for the City of Westland in 2013 as an Administrative Assistant to the Mayor where she managed communications, public and media relations and provided direct support to the City’s 85,000 residents. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree of Psychology from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master’s Degree of Business Administration in Global Leadership from Cleary University.

Barb Brooks
Executive Assistant
City of Boyne City

Barb is heavily rooted to the Boyne area as she has lived in northern Michigan most all her life but is also involved in regional and state-wide efforts. She has served the citizens of Boyne City through her various positions working for the City over the past 16 years and prior to municipal work, she served the business community in her role with the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2018 Barb was appointed by former Governor Rick Snyder to serve a four year term on the State of Michigan Waterways Commission representing the northern region. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, is a dog lover, an outdoor enthusiast, and her fun loving and adventuress personality makes her game for trying most anything.

Ginger Burke-Miller
Finance Director/Treasurer
City of Dearborn

Ginger Burke- Miller is an accounting leader with 18+ years of municipal experience. She is a certified public manager, certified public funds investment manager, and certified public accountant. She graduated with Michigan State University with a Bachelors in Accounting and has her MBA.

Jennifer Capling
Finance Director/Treasurer
City of Harbor Beach

Jennifer Capling is the Finance Director/Treasurer for the City of Harbor Beach, and a Financial Consultant for the Village of Forestville. She is also a Licensed Residential Builder, a Real Estate Agent and has taught mathematics at Davenport University. Prior to working in government, Jennifer was an Actuarial Analyst specializing in pricing, reserving and predictive modeling. Jennifer graduated from Kettering University with a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics, with a statistics and industrial engineering concentration. Jennifer also studied art at Alma College for two years, and even though she hasn’t picked up a brush in too long, oil painting is still her favorite hobby.

Cynthia Cutright
DDA Director
City of Port Huron

Cynthia Cutright is the Downtown Development Authority Director for the City of Port Huron, a position she was appointed to in January 2020. Prior to that, she served as Assistant to the City Manager. She started her career serving with the advocacy team at the Michigan Bankers Association before working for Senator Darwin L. Booher for his final term. Through these positions, Cynthia found she had a desire to serve her community through working in the public sector. Cynthia earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Ashland University. An Ohio-native turned Michigander who can never go back, she loves being outdoors to enjoy all that Michigan has to offer.

Natalie Davenport
Code Enforcement Officer/Intern
Village of Sparta

Natalie Davenport currently serves as the Code Enforcement Officer and Assistant to the Village Manager for the Village of Sparta, as well as a Project Intern for the Sparta Downtown Development Authority. Natalie also worked as a student intern at Melrose Township and Boyne Valley Township in the summer of 2017. Natalie graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science concentrated in Public Administration and a minor in Sociology in 2018. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in State, Local, and Regional Governance at Grand Valley State University and is expected to graduate in December of 2021. Natalie also serves as the Vice-President of the ICMA Student Chapter at Grand Valley State University.

Jane Dixon
Public Relations Specialist
City of Rochester

Jane is the Public Relations Specialist for the City of Rochester. Prior to her role at the City she worked in municipal analytics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Oakland University in Political Science and History and is pursuing a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan. She is grateful to be able to serve her community and looks forward to continuing to learn and progress in local government.

Tamaris Henagan
City Attorney
City of Adrian

Tamaris Henagan is an Adrian, MI native and a licensed attorney and CEO.  She obtained her B.S. in Business Administration and Management from Ohio Dominican University and received a Juris Doctor, with a concentration in Criminal Law, from the University of Toledo College of Law.  In 2017, Tamaris had the honor of becoming the first African- American attorney in the history of the City of Adrian.

She is the sole practitioner of Henagan & Associates, PLLC. where she is honored to serve as the City Attorney for the City of Adrian and specializes in criminal and family law, as well as, business consultation.Tamaris was honored to become part of local history by becoming the first African- American attorney to be sworn into Lenawee County bar and establishing the first black-owned law office in the city.

Kate Hosier
City Manager
City of South Haven

Marcie Gillette is the Community Services Director for the City of Battle Creek where she leads the work of the Code Compliance, Community Development, Inspections, and Planning / Zoning Divisions. In her role, she is responsible for uplifting, supporting, protecting and enforcing the community’s health of people and place. She strives to implement solution oriented government that is rooted in community needs and engagement. Ms. Gillette has spent her entire professional career in local government serving in various roles at the City since 1997. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Administration from Siena Heights University.

Brandie Isaacson
Executive Director
Livonia Housing Commission

Brandie Isaacson is the Executive Director of the Livonia Housing Commission – City of Livonia where she serves as a member of the City’s leadership team to ensure the execution of the City’s Affordable Housing and Community Development Plan goals and objectives. In 1997 she began her career in affordable housing working for a Detroit based non-profit assisting elderly citizens in accessing home improvement grants through the City of Detroit’s Neighborhood Community Development Block Grant programs.  Her passion for increasing affordable housing and improving citizens’ accessibly to community resources led her to join the City of Livonia team in 2002.  Brandie was appointed to Executive Director of the Livonia Housing Commission – Housing Department in January 2018 which she continues to lead today.  Brandie holds a BBA in Business Management along with an MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management, both from Eastern Michigan University.  She is also a certified public housing manager, a member of many professional organizations, and is active in promoting legislation that supports affordable housing.

Hana Jaquays
Confidential Asst. to the City Manager
City of Walled Lake

Hana Jaquays is the appointed Confidential Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Walled Lake, having served previously as an intern and city hall office assistant. In that role she serves as the Freedom of Information Act coordinator, recording secretary for the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the city’s Planning Commission. Ms. Jaquays has additional management responsibilities, having been appointed as the Manager of the City’s Farmer’s Market, a seasonal management position involving administration of the activities of the Market, its vendors and customers. Owing to her successes with the city, Ms. Jaquays was recently promoted to the position of Managing Director of the City’s DDA, working at the direction of DDA Executive Director. Her passion for public service began with her college internship at Walled Lake’s administrative offices. Ms. Jaquays graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Because of Ms. Jaquays’ passion for municipal government service she is completing a Master’s degree in Public Administration and looks forward to advancing her career in local government management.

Tracy-Ann Jennings
Director of Special Projects
City of Inkster

Tracy-Ann Jennings is a proud member of the Benton Harbor High School Graduating Class of 2000, a graduate of the University of Michigan and a Master of Social Work Student at Western Michigan University. Ms. Jennings has dedicated her professional career to serving communities, beginning in 1996. Formerly the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Benton Harbor, Ms. Jennings presently serves as the Director of Special Projects for the City of Inkster. Ms. Jennings is also a Certified DiSC Facilitator and Leadership Coach. Very much committed to community development and revitalization, Ms. Jennings has worked with City Leadership and Community Members on numerous projects in order to “achieve healthy communities, where everyone can live, work and grow.” While Ms. Jennings wears many important hats, her greatest title is that of Mother to her three beautiful children.

Kristina Kinde
Treasurer/Finance Director
City of St. Johns

Kristina Kinde is the Treasurer/Finance Director for the City of St. Johns. She holds a bachelors degree in accounting and finance from Cedarville University. She has worked as a Treasurer/Finance Director for two municipalities over the last 5 years. Prior to joining the public sector, she worked in public accounting as an auditor for 15 years, auditing primarily governments and non-profit organizations. Ms. Kinde enjoys being able to serve the community and is eager to develop and grow as a public administrator and community leader.

Ashley Latsch
Assistant to the City Manager
City of Grand Haven

Ashley Latsch currently serves as the Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Grand Haven. She obtained her Masters of Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Management from Grand Valley State University in 2019. Prior to joining the City of Grand Haven, Ashley spent time learning in the City Manager’s office in the City of Muskegon. Ashley is a CDBG Certified Grant Administrator and has strong interests in place making, economic development, and public engagement.

Tamar Lewis
Consultant
Woodhill Group

Tamar is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint, mother of grown and high-school aged offspring, member of a tribal fusion bellydance troupe, and has worked in municipal accounting for the last 21 years.  She served on the Michigan Municipal Finance Officers Association Board of Directors for 4 years, holding the role of President from 2017 to 2018, and continues as a member since 2002. Over her 21 years of public finance work she has labored under a diverse array of departments with unique and challenging issues; Public Works, Finance, Parks & Rec, and Major Grants.  She most served as Deputy Finance Director and Acting Chief Financial Officer for the City of Flint before transitioning into the role of consultant.

Kelli Martin
Treasurer/Finance Director
City of Traverse City

  Kelli Martin, MBA, MSA, CSM, Lean Greenbelt, is a lifelong public servant and steward of public resources. Before becoming the Treasurer/Finance Director of the City of Traverse City, she gained experience in finance, change management/lean process improvement, strategic planning, and metrics/data analytics through roles at the States of Ohio and Michigan, Franklin County, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Most recently, she managed sponsored research expenditures of $55M annually as the Director of Engineering Research for the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. She is a professor of Government and Non-Profit Finance for the MPAP program at the University of Michigan (Dearborn). She is currently working on a Doctorate in Management (ABD) focused on determining if there is a link between lean practices and fiscal stability within public organizations

Torri Mathes
Community Engagement Officer
City of Berkley

Torri Mathes serves as the Community Engagement Officer for the City of Berkley and has been working in local government marketing and communications since 2018. Prior to joining the public sector, Torri worked as a media relations and project management professional working across various sectors and industries. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Broadcasting with a specialization in Political Science from Oakland University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration. Torri’s true passion is cultivating collaborative relationships between each municipal department and the community in order to support, inform, and educate the public about local government.

Amanda Opalewski
Management Services Specialist
City of Sterling Heights

Amanda is a Management Services Specialist for the City of Sterling Heights. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs and a Master of Public Administration. She’s been working in local government since 2011 and looks forward to growing as a public administration professional.

Erin Quetell
Environmental Sustainability Planner
City of Ferndale

Erin Quetell is the Environmental Sustainability Planner for the City of Ferndale and has been with the City since 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Grand Valley State University and a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. She is committed to ensuring communities have a sustainable natural and built environment, equitable social environment, and inclusive economic environment. She lives in Farmington Hills with her wife, 5 month old daughter, dog, and cat.

Kristin Rutkowski
Assistant Manager/Village Clerk
Village of Beverly Hills

Kristin Rutkowski currently serves as the Assistant Manager and Village Clerk for the Village of Beverly Hills, Michigan. While originally from Michigan, Kristin has served in various municipal roles across the country. She earned a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver and has a Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University in Chicago where she double-majored in American Studies and Political Science. She is a member of the Michigan Municipal Executives, (MME), International City/County Management Association (ICMA), Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks (MAMC), and the International Institute Municipal Clerks (IIMC). She is a life-long learner, enjoys problem solving, and is looking forward to the professional and personal development opportunities that the Women’s Municipal Leadership Program offers.

Felicia Rutledge
City Clerk
City of Inkster

Felicia Rutledge is the City Clerk for the City of Inkster. She has served in this roll since 2012. She began her career as a Deputy Clerk for Pittsfield Charter Township followed by her selection as Deputy Clerk for the City of Ypsilanti. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management Cleary College. She has also taken classes at Washtenaw Community College and Tennessee State University. Felicia is eager to grow as a public administrator and finds passion in working with the public. She has one son Kelton.

Melinda Tolan
Finance Director/Treasurer
City of Portland

Melinda Tolan is the Finance Officer/Treasurer for the City of Portland, where she began her career in 2005 as the Income Tax Clerk and Deputy Treasurer. Melinda enjoys learning and taking on more responsibilities. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University. She is a member of Michigan Municipal Treasurer’s Association (MMTA) and Michigan Government Finance Officer’s Association. (MGFOA) Melinda is a numbers person and is passionate about planning and problem solving, especially when it brings joy to others.

Mariah Walton
Asst. to the City Manager for HR & Purchasing
City of Eastpointe

Mariah Walton is the Assistant to the City Manager in Human Resources and Purchasing for the City of Eastpointe. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and Sociology, from Michigan State University, and a Master’s in Public Administration, from Grand Valley State University. Mariah also serves as the Grant Writer for Realism Is Loyalty, a non-profit that provides services to high-risk youth and families in Kent County, and as the Social Media Copywriter for Social Bizz, a marketing firm that specializes in supporting Michigan businesses. Mariah has previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Corporation and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for the City of Wyoming, and as a member of the Board of Directors for West Michigan Cops Fore Kids, a non-profit that promotes positive police and community relationships. Mariah is eager to build a network of supportive women in Michigan, and to gain valuable skills to prepare for her future leadership roles in local government.

Pearl Ward
Finance Director / Treasurer / Clerk
Village of Lake Odessa

Pearl has been serving as the Treasurer/Clerk for the Village of Lake Odessa since 2007. Pearl is also the Finance Director, FOIA Coordinator and Title VI Officer for the Village of Lake Odessa in addition to her regular duties. In 2008, she began serving as the Deputy Clerk for Odessa Township. Pearl also serves as a Sheriff’s Posse Deputy for the Ionia County Sheriff’s Department.

Allison Watkins
Interim Village Manager
Village of Newberry

Katie Zeits is the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Traverse City and has served in that role since 2015. Katie began her career in 2010 with the City of Newaygo as an Intern and Administrative Assistant. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Local Government Management for Sustainable Communities. She is a member of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks (MAMC) and the International Institute Municipal Clerks (IIMC) and is working towards her Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) certification. Katie finds passion in working with the public and finding innovate solutions to problem solving.

Tessa Wightman
Clerk
City of Linden

Katie Zeits is the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Traverse City and has served in that role since 2015. Katie began her career in 2010 with the City of Newaygo as an Intern and Administrative Assistant. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Local Government Management for Sustainable Communities. She is a member of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks (MAMC) and the International Institute Municipal Clerks (IIMC) and is working towards her Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) certification. Katie finds passion in working with the public and finding innovate solutions to problem solving.

Danicea Woods-McSwain
Management Assistant
City of Ferndale

Danicea is a 2020 MPA graduate from Oakland University and is currently working as the Management Assistant for the City Manager’s Office at the City of Ferndale. In 2018 she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, also from Oakland University, and began working as a certified Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapist. She began her MPA program in the Fall of 2018, joined the ICMA student chapter at her university, and was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha Public Administration Honors Society. Her education, work, and academic experiences led her to actualize her passion of helping others. She hopes to become a City Manager to help increase the quality of life of residents in her community.

Lindsey Zeller
Quality of Life Director
City of Eaton Rapids

Lindsey graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor Degree in Community Development with a Public Administration focus. She has 2 and half years working with the City of Eaton Rapids as the Quality of Life Director. In her role she focuses much of her time on Parks and Recreation programming, writing and facilitating grants, and planning special events for the city. Prior to her work with the City of Eaton Rapids, Lindsey served in an accounting and human resources capacity in the public sector for 5 years. Lindsey’s true passion is serving a community where she can pair people with resources that will positively impact them and their lives.

Christine Zuzga
Planning Manager
City of Battle Creek

Christine Zuzga is the Planning Manager for the City of Battle Creek Planning and Zoning Department whose primary responsibility is the development and implementation of the City Master Plan. Her area of expertise includes planning, zoning, historic preservation, and community development strategies including placemaking and redevelopment ready initiatives. She serves on the board of directors the Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity as well as several local economic development groups. Christine is an AICP certified professional planner with twenty years of progressive experience in municipal government and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Geography, concentrating on Urban and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation.