The Distinguished Women Award

Katana Abbott with Pamela Good, founder of Beyond Basics and Florine Mark of Weight Watchers at the Northwood University Distinguished Women Panel Discussion and Luncheon
Katana Abbott with Pamela Good, founder of Beyond Basics and Florine Mark, President and CEO of Weight Watchers at the Northwood University Distinguished Women Panel Discussion and Luncheon

Forty-seven years ago, the Distinguished Women Award was created by the Northwood University Board of Trustees to honor the enormous contribution of women.  This may well be the first achievement award program for women bestowed by an institution of higher learning.  It was the first award established by Northwood University beyond the institution of honorary degree.

This weekend’s festivities included a panel discussion and luncheon that featured several of the 2016 awardees and the 1999 Distinguished Woman, Florine Mark.

I’d like to share a few of the comments made by panelists to one of the questions asked by moderator, Linda Solomon. The question was: “When faced with two equally qualified candidates for employment, how do you decide between the two? 

Judith Schumacher-Tilton, President of Schumacher Chevrolet Auto Group: “They need to fit in with the culture of your business.”

Deborah Stephens, President, Dow Chemical Canada: “Ask yourself, who could be that future leader.  It always comes back to future capabilities.”

Florine Mark, President & CEO, Weight Watchers International, Inc: “Body language, enthusiasm, fun.  Do they enjoy themselves?” 

Celeste Briggs, Director of the GM Women’s Retail Network: “Fire in the belly.  Do they have passion?  Can they communicate their leadership skills?”

Terri Mulcahey, Executive VP Marketing Penske Automotive: “I like to hire people smarter than me.  Very versatile.  Energy.  Able to work outside the box. Future leaders.”

Nancy Barker, Susanne Forbes-Dicker, Maggie Allesse, Linda Orlans, Tommie Pardue, Lorraine Schultz, Margery Krevsky, Laurie Cunnington, Lynn Stinson

The highlight of the weekend was the Gala awards dinner where Northwood University students took turns introducing the 2016 awardees.  Past honorees in attendance were also recognized, and the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Nancy Barker who was part of the first flight of Distinguished Women in 1970 and has played a crucial role in its ongoing success.

It’s always thrilling to be in the company of greatness, and this event is one of the highlights of my year.  Tomorrow on the show, we will be hearing from another very smart woman.  Dottie Deremo is the past president of Hospice of Michigan, and I have invited her to come share her wisdom on this very important topic.

I remember how devastated I was when the doctor told me that I needed to call Hospice for my step-father when he had lung cancer.  I had no idea what a blessing Hospice would be to our family.  I hope you can join us either live or by listening to the archive which will be available on Wednesday from our website, mobile app, or iTunes

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