FSU College of Business’ Committee on Inclusion to discuss ‘Glass Ceiling’ concept Sept. 12

(From left) Gentex Vice President of Chemistry Sue Franz, Plante Moran Partner Michelle McHale-Adams and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Director Karianne Thomas are panelists for the third annual Conversation on Inclusion, “The Glass Ceiling: Imaginary or Not?” The event, presenting by Ferris State University’s College of Business Committee on Inclusion, begins with a social hour, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the University Center Ballroom. (Courtesy photo)

Submitted by Ferris State University 

BIG RAPIDS — Community members can spend Wednesday evening learning various obstacles women have faced when striving for success during a Ferris State University panel discussion.

A trio of female professionals with unique perspectives and credentials will be panelists on Wednesday, Sept. 12, during the FSU College of Business Committee on Inclusion’s third annual Conversation on Inclusion, “The Glass Ceiling: Imaginary or Not?”

Assistant professor of management Catherine Browers said the 6 p.m. discussion, hosted in the University Center ballroom, is an opportunity for the Big Rapids community to join Ferris students, faculty and staff and hear from influential speakers.

This year’s panelists include Sue Franz, vice president of chemistry at Gentex; Michelle McHale-Adams, Plante Moran partner and noted certified fraud examiner; and Karianne Thomas, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety director and a Ferris alumna.

“Our panelists are seasoned female professionals who will offer their personal journeys to career success,” Browers said. “They also will address the attitudes and varied obstacles they encountered because of their gender. The Committee on Inclusion is confident our audience will gain significant insight from the group we have assembled.”

Franz hails from China and came to Gentex in 1997. She progressed  through different roles with increasing responsibilities before being named to her current administrative duties with the Zeeland-based corporation.

“While this will be Sue’s first visit to campus, Ferris enjoys a vital relationship with Gentex,” Browers said. “Our Master of Business Administration faculty have collaborated in ‘mini-MBA’ instruction for a number of certificate programs. Gentex’s Vice President of Operations Paul Flynn earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from Ferris and works with our MBA program.”

McHale-Adams has been recognized as one of 2018’s “Most Influential Women in Mid-Market Mergers and Acquisitions” by the business-to-business digital marketing service Mergers and Acquisitions.

“Ms. McHale-Adams is in-demand nationally as an expert witness, and her participation is just one element of a strong partnership Ferris enjoys with Plante Moran,” Browers said. “We have seen a number of our COB students take positions with their firm in the last several years.”

Thomas became the leader of the largest combined public safety department in the United States when she was promoted to replace Jeff Hadley as Kalamazoo DPS director in November 2017.

“Thomas was the first of our panelists to offer her services for this Conversation on Inclusion,” Browers said. “We are glad to welcome Karianne, who was in the College of Education and Human Services’ inaugural masters class in Criminal Justice Administration.”

Associate Professor of Marketing Henry Ho said organizers hope the public joins with Ferris’ participants in this annual Conversation on Inclusion, which will begin with a social hour and hors d’oeuvres at 4:45 p.m. on Sept. 12.

“I am honored to be part of the COB Committee on Inclusion,” Ho said. “Our college places a great emphasis on the university core value of diversity, which is clearly stated in our committee’s mission statement. We believe this conversation will be an informative and valuable presentation for all who join us.”

Organizers ask all interested in attending the Conversation on Inclusion to register online, as space is limited.

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