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 29 participants. Meet the future women leaders of our communities below.
Assistant to the City Manager
City of Troy
Sarah graduated from the University of Arkansas and moved to Michigan in Fall 2020 to begin working with the City of Troy. As the Assistant to the City Manager, Sarah enjoys learning about the various challenges and duties that she is assigned. She believes the position is giving her great insight into the challenges that City Managers and other administration officers face in daily operations, as well as giving her a broad understanding of local government internal operations as well as communication between residents, staff, and City Council. Sarah is excited to network with other women in local government, learn from these connections, and learn from Michigan Municipal League and hopes that these skills will prove useful in her future as a City Manager.
Deputy Clerk/Treasurer, Parks and Rec Director
Village of Pentwater
Katherine is the Deputy Clerk/Treasurer and Recreation Director for the Village of Pentwater. She has worked for the Village for the past four years, during which time she earned her Michigan’s Certified Professional Treasurer’s certification through the Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association. She also serves as the Chairperson for the Parks and Recreation Board, where she wrote their most recent MDNR Joint Recreation Plan. As the Rec Director, she enjoys working with and watching the children in her community prosper and learn valuable life skills through their programs. She also loves serving her community, developing relationships with residents and she looks forward to furthering her career in government.
Planning & Communications Coordinator
City of Grand Ledge
Hannah Behl has been with the City of Grand Ledge for five years as the Planning and Communications Coordinator, serving her first role in local government. Prior, she worked in Human Services and received her BS in Community Development from Central Michigan University in 2015. She enjoys finding new ways to bridge internal communication gaps between departments, increase public transparency, and enhance public spaces. Hannah finds success working with a number of community partners to continue economic development efforts, and improve community recreation opportunities in Grand Ledge. She is eager to continue her career and looks forward to gaining momentum in municipal management. When she isn’t at City Hall, Hannah enjoys spending time outdoors or working on renovation projects with her husband Chad, and being a new mom to nine-month old, Silas.
Manager, Smart City Technology
Kate Bell is a Manager with NextEnergy’s Smart City Technology practice working to help cities establish and achieve net-zero carbon goals, support economic development, and improve quality of life for residents across Michigan. She received her Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Politics at Mount Holyoke College. Kate’s professional experience mirrors her passion for leveraging the tools of state and local governments to facilitate long-lasting and effective policymaking. Prior to joining NextEnergy, she served as a Community Development Fellow executing economic development programs and strategies for the City of Mount Clemens.
Public Works Director
City of Big Rapids
Heather Bowman, has served in multiple roles in a municipal setting her entire career. Currently, she is the Director of Public Works, for the City of Big Rapids, overseeing multiple divisions; Streets, Water, Wastewater, Dial-A-Ride, Motor Pool, Parks & Recreation. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Ferris State University in Recreation & Leadership Management. Serving on multiple boards, such as the Chamber of Commerce and DDA to encourage economic development within the community is a passion of hers.
Dr. Maria Calhoun
Deputy Human Resources Director
City of Southfield
Dr. Maria Calhoun has served in various roles within the City of Southfield municipal government for more than 22 years. She is a graduate of Northcentral University, and a proud United States Air Force veteran. In 2020, Dr. Calhoun completed the Saginaw Valley State University Certified Public Manager (CPM) program. Dr. Calhoun is passionate about inspiring others to become public servants in local government.
Assistant City Manager & HR Director
City of Dowagiac
Natalie Dean has over 17 years of municipal service experience, helping communities grow and prosper. Natalie began her career in municipal government in Marshall, Michigan, where she served in a wide range of roles, including Planning & Zoning Administrator, Director of Community Services and eventually Assistant City Manager. Serving for a time as the community planner for Wightman, she ultimately returned to public service to follow her passion for municipal leadership. Since 2019, she has proudly served the City of Dowagiac as Assistant City Manager and Director of Human Resources. With a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University, Natalie firmly believes that a well-run local government is grounded in passionate employees and engaged communities.
Accounts Payable/Utility Billing/Website Manager
City of New Baltimore
Angela has been working in municipal government for 12 years, and been with the City of New Baltimore for over 6 years. She grew up in Warren and is a graduate of Madonna University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Angela is currently working on completing her Master Citizen Planner certification as well as beginning the process of working towards her Certified Municipal Clerk certification. Angela enjoys a challenge, is a passionate book worm, and an avid runner.
Assistant to the City Manager
City of Birmingham
Melissa is the Assistant to the City Manager in Birmingham. In this role, she is particularly proud of launching and implementing Engage Birmingham, a platform designed to increase resident engagement in City decision-making. After teaching middle school and working for education nonprofits for nearly a decade, Melissa returned to school to earn a Master’s of Public Administration from Wayne State University. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in History and a Master’s of Arts in Secondary Education from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Rebecca is a manager in PwC’s ESG and sustainability consulting solutions practice in Detroit. Previously, she worked with state and local governments on their COVID-19 response and for a national foundation on their climate funding strategies. A Michigan native, she earned a master’s degree in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan. In her spare time, she coaches and plays ice hockey, sails, and enjoys a round of golf.
City of Midland
Katie Guyer has served as the City of Midland’s communications coordinator since 2016. In her role, she oversees all day-to-day communications initiatives with the belief that government communication should be transparent, timely, and relatable. Key projects under her jurisdiction include social media management; media relations; online public engagement platform, E-CityHall; and Midland’s award-winning Citizens Academy program. She is also a public information officer in the Midland County Emergency Operations Center, most recently serving during the Edenville and Sanford dam failures in May 2020. Katie holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Butler University and is a Certified Public Manager through the National Certified Public Manager Consortium.
City of Rochester
Ciona serves as the Planning Coordinator, where she streamlines the process for all commercial developments in the City. She holds a dual degrees in Criminal Justice & Sociology as well as a master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Local Government Management from Oakland University. Her passion is to become an Economic/Community Development Director. Ciona obtained the Master Citizen Planner (MCP) credential from Michigan State University Extension. She is a member of Michigan Association of Planning (MAP), Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) & International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Ciona is grateful for this opportunity to learn more about leadership roles in municipal government and network with others.
Administrative & DEI Intern
City of Grosse Pointe Woods
Lisa Kay Hathaway is the City Clerk in the City of Grosse Pointe Woods and has served in that capacity since appointed in 2005. She began her employment with the City in 1995 and was promoted to Deputy City Clerk/Confidential Administrative Assistant to the City Administrator in 1998. Lisa has attained multiple certifications, most notably through the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks having achieved the Michigan Professional Municipal Clerk certification and being the first recipient in the State of Michigan to attain Level 3 (MiPMC-3). She also holds Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) certification through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. She was elected by her peers to serve ten years on the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks Board of Directors and appointed to serve as Chair on several of the organization’s committees. Lisa has served as Acting City Administrator and assisted to transition seven new City Administrators as well as multiple other executive level staff over her twenty-seven year career. She attended Davenport University and is working toward attaining a degree in management. Lisa has completed the requirements of the Leadership Macomb program and the Women’s Municipal Leadership Program through the Michigan Municipal League. Lisa is passionate about ethically performing her duties as a public servant, being tasked with challenging projects, and seeing those projects through to completion.
Asst. Village Manager/Asst. Finance Director
Village of Dundee
Sarah Karl is the Assistant Village Manager for the Village of Dundee and has served in that role since March 2020. Sarah began her career with the Village in 2019 as an administrative assistant. She earned her Bachelor ‘s Degree in General Business Management from Michigan State University. Following graduation from Michigan State she worked in various roles in business management and sales for over 15 years. Her commitment to community is apparent by her dedication to volunteering for numerous efforts that give back to a community’s heart. Her transition to municipal management has provided challenging, educational and rewarding experiences, and she is grateful for the opportunity to develop additional skills in working with truly amazing colleagues and citizens.
City of Livonia
Village of Middleville
Network 180, Kent County Community Mental Health Authority
Erin McIntosh graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Grand Valley State University. Originally from the east side of the state, she relocated to Grand Rapids in 2016 to pursue education as a first-generation college student. Currently, she is working to obtaining her Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Policy, Advocacy, and Program Evaluation. She has worked in several administrative support roles within the City of Wyoming, City of Grand Rapids, and now in Kent County’s Community Mental Health Authority. Erin is a published undergraduate research scholar and has a passion for reading, writing, and community advocacy.
City of Stevensville
City of Kingsford
Holly Palmer serves as the City Treasurer for the City of Kingsford. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Northern Michigan University. She has 8 years experience in city government, having worked as the Administrative Assistant/Accounts Payable Clerk for the city prior to being appointed treasurer. She worked as the Finance Director for a community action agency for 15 years prior to that. She is a Certified Public Funds Investment Manager and is working toward her Michigan Certified Professional Treasurer designation.
Assistant Commission Counsel
Mary graduated from the Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2015 and has since been an active public servant, beginning her career as a City Councilmember in her hometown of South Lyon, Michigan. Mary formerly worked for the City of Detroit as legal counsel for the Detroit City Council, Board of Ethics, and the City’s many departments. Mary currently serves as Assistant Commission Counsel to the Wayne County Commission. Mary enjoys serving her community and helping others, but her greatest joy is spending time with her family.
Grand Blanc Township
Government & Nonprofit Administrator
Nancy Short has more than 15 years of experience at the intersection of government and nonprofit designing, revitalizing, and scaling programming to drive internal and external engagement and increase and diversify participation for organization and community success. Whether leading political affairs for a statewide trade association, scaling the state’s largest civic engagement initiative, identifying and cultivating gubernatorial appointees, or launching and revitalizing programming to build trust and support in the community for a health system, her love is leveraging relationships to drive mission, outcomes, and impact. People-focused, driven by results but passionate about impact, she believes public service is never done and serves on a number of nonprofit boards locally and statewide. Short holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.
Village Clerk & HR Director
Village of Elk Rapids
Services Program Manager
Priscilla Tatum is committed to public service that focuses on community relations and human services. Priscilla is an advocate for social change and sustainability.
Chief Assistant to the Mayor
City of Rochester Hills
In her role as Chief of Staff, Maria leads the mayor’s key initiatives, fundraising campaigns, special events, and communications. Whether it’s crafting a creative tweet or coordinating a fireworks show for thousands, every day is a little different. Maria is active in the community as a member of the Rochester Area Youth Assistance, Rotary Club, the OU Day of Giving Committee, the Rochester Hills Museum Young Leaders Circle Board, and the Create Collective. Her leadership has been notably recognized with the Crain’s Detroit 20 in the 20’s Award (2020), the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year (2019), and the Elite 40 under 40 Award by Oakland County (2018).
Michigan House of Representatives
Heidi Zabik is a Legislative Director at the Michigan House of Representatives, where she has worked for four state representatives during her thirteen years of service. She is skilled in policy research and analysis of current Michigan compiled law and pending legislation, with expertise in Local Government and Municipal Finance, Tax Policy, and Headlee/Proposal A impacts on local units of government. Ms. Zabik holds a Bachelor Degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University, and in 2015 she earned a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Human Resources from Western Michigan University. Zabik is excited for the opportunity to transition from state level government to local government, to further develop her passion for administrative leadership, grant management and strategic budgeting.
Saginaw County Road Commission
Angelic has 24 years of public sector experience, serving 22 of those years with Saginaw Township. Currently she is the Administrative Assistant for the Saginaw County Road Commission. Spending 22 years with Saginaw Township in various roles, her current role is providing her with a whole new set of PR skills. Angelic is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration at Delta college and Central Michigan University. Upon completing her degree looks forward to advancing her career within local government. Angelic has a passion for serving her community and bringing people together for the greater good of the community. She is thrilled to network with other women in local government and to gain the essential leadership skills to further her local government career.