Women of Color Task Force

About Us

The Women of Color Task Force (WCTF) is a University of Michigan staff organization, founded in 1979, that provides professional development, networking, and training opportunities for employees, with a focus on addressing the needs of women of color staff. The WCTF serves as a support network and a forum for the exchange of information about the status of women of color staff at the University of Michigan.


In 1979, Jennie Partee of the U-M Affirmative Action Office and Beulah Sanders of the School of Education created the Minority Women’s Task Force, a staff organization that would provide career development opportunities for minority women employed at the university. With additional support from the University of Michigan Affirmative Action Office (HRAA), the Human Resource Development Office, the School of Education, and the University of Michigan Hospital Office of Organizational Effectiveness (Medical Center), Ms. Partee and Ms. Sanders developed a series of workshops designed to build professional skills that would empower and support African American women in their career advancement efforts at the University of Michigan.

The format consisted of small groups of women coming together to discuss employment concerns and career development opportunities within the University. Over the course of the next four years, the membership grew and focused on enhancing the workshop training modules. These efforts culminated in a day-long career development conference on February 25, 1983, that featured eleven professional development workshops and more than two hundred conference participants.

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Leadership 2022-2023


  • Doreen Tinajero, LSA Center for Social Solutions (President, Policy Review and Advocacy Team)
  • Shante Galloway, School of Dentistry (Vice President, Resource Development Team)
  • Grace Wu, Taubman Research Institute (Treasurer, Outreach and Engagement Team)
  • Katherine Weathers, LSA Scholarships (Secretary, Communications Team)

Executive Team Members

  • Zarinah Aquil, Office of the Provost (Membership Social Team)
  • LaTonya Berryhill, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (Program Development Team)
  • Patricia Coleman-Burns, School of Nursing (WOCAP Liaison)
  • Ellen Copeland-Brown, Michigan Medicine (Outreach and Engagement)
  • Rachel Dawson, Precision Health (Career Conference /Juneteenth Chair and Bylaws and Operations)
  • Maria Flores, Eisenberg Family Depression Center (Policy Review and Advocacy Team)
  • Monica Hickson, ITS (Technology)
  • Marlanna Landeros, DPSS (Educational Assistance Team))
  • Janice Reuben, Alumni Association (Resource & Recognition Team/Historical Resource Team)

Meetings and Events

WCTF General Meeting Schedule for 2022-2023

WCTF general meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Please note that the WCTF meetings planned this year will be hybrid, with some being in-person and others on Zoom. Be sure to read all WCTF emails for meeting updates.

  •   Thursday, October 20, 2022General Meeting
  •   Thursday, November 17, 2022General Meeting
  •   Thursday, December 15, 2022Holiday Lunch


Events Schedule 2022-2023

Please check back as additional events will be added throughout the year

  • June 17, 2022 – 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration (Friday)
  • June 30, 2022 – WCTF Member Career Talks
  • March 3, 2023 – 41st Annual Career Conference
  • June 19, 2023Juneteenth Celebration


41st Annual WCTF Career Conference

Grow. Advance. Succeed. (GAS): Refuel Your Career

March 3, 2023 | 8:15 am – 4:00 pm

Registration Opens January 18th

Save The Date flyer for the WCTF Career Conference The Women of Color Task Force is excited to host its 41st annual career conference this year on March 3, 2023. Pre–registration is required to participate in all events and sessions. Morning conference sessions will be presented virtually. The keynote luncheon and afternoon sessions will be in-person at the Michigan Union.  All session times are in Eastern Standard Time Zone.

The keynote presentation will take place at 12:00 pm EST at a luncheon in the Rogel Ballroom at the Michigan Union. Please review the information below for workshop descriptions, speaker details, and the full conference schedule.

Please ask your supervisor for professional development leave now so that you may attend this valuable conference opportunity!

All U-M staff, faculty, students, and the public, regardless of gender or ethnicity, are invited to register to attend this inclusive professional development event.

The deadline to register is February 28th, at 12:00 pm EST.

Schedule at a Glance

Friday, March 3, 2023

  • 8:15 am Welcome Remarks/Conference Orientation
  • 8:30 am Workshop Session A
  • 9:50 am Break
  • 10:00 am Workshop Session B
  • 12:00 pm
    Keynote Luncheon
    “Women of Color, Rise Through the Authenticity Principle”
    Ritu Bhasin, CEO and Founder of bhasin consulting inc. (bci)
  • 2:30 pm Workshop Session C
  • 4:00 pm Conference Ends

Career and Personal Development

The Task Force hosts three professional development events: the annual career conference during winter break; a fall semester leadership retreat, and a Juneteenth celebration in June. Throughout the year, WCTF offers various career development training sessions for U-M staff throughout the year during the general membership meetings.  The brown-bag, lunchtime training sessions cover topics in the following areas: career decision-making, project management, leadership development, health & wellness, and work-life balance.


Are you interested in becoming a member of WCTF? Any University of Michigan (U-M) employee is eligible for membership in the Task Force if they are an active, regular staff member.

The Task Force encourages the participation of individuals from all University of Michigan departments and units who are interested in the professional development of women of color staff and supporting the career advancement of all U-M staff.

Please contact WCTF about membership via email at wctf-faqs@umich.edu.

Career Conference Archives


Tamika D. Mallory, Social Justice Leader and Movement Strategist
Click here to view all recordings from the 2022 conference

“Defining the New Normal: Shaping A Post-COVID, Anti-Racist Workplace”

Corie Pauling, Senior Vice President, Chief I & D Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, TIAA

The Honorable Rashida Tlaib, MI-13

Oveta Fuller, PhD, Michigan Medicine

Preeti Malani, MD, Michigan Medicine

Alfreda Rooks, MPA, Michigan Medicine

Click here to view the full interactive conference program. 

Please take note of the fact that the conference program is interactive; feel free to click on bolded words, images, graphics, and ads to read and learn more.

Click here to view recordings, presentations, workbooks, and resources from the conference


Click the links below to view recordings of the keynotes and some of the workshops:

Women on a Mission 2.0: Leadership, Citizenship & Advocacy (38th)

Dr. Joy DeGruy, nationally & internationally renowned researcher, educator, author, & presenter

Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist, author, social and political commentator, & businesswoman

Dr. Patricia Coleman-Burns, U-M Assistant Professor Emerita of Nursing & DAAS

Click here to view the 2020 WCTF keynote.

Amplifying Voices: Moving from Diversity to Inclusion (37th)

Cynthia H. Bowman, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Bank of America

Dilip Das, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Laurita Thomas, Associate Vice President for Human Resources

Facilitated by Taryn Petryk, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Ross School of Business

Click here to view the 2019 WCTF keynote.

Equity for All: Reclaiming Our Time (36th)

April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks D.C. Bureau Chief

Click here to view the 2018 WCTF Keynote Address with April D. Ryan

U-M Staff: The Heart of Maize & Blue (35th)

Jane Elliott, Anti-racism Activist & Educator & 

Roland S. Martin, Host & Managing Editor of News One Now “Race, Gender & Identity in the Workplace”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: A Staff Perspective (34th)

Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, “The Dilemma of Inclusivity: How Can We Make It Work?”

Tools for the Journey: Self-Awareness, Confidence & Respect (33rd)

Mr. Alfred (Al) Squire, Director of the Greenville Health System MedEx Academy

Transforming the Face of Leadership (32nd)

Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut

Planning + Action + Perseverance = Success! (31st)

Ms. Donna Brazile, Political Strategist and Georgetown University Professor

30 Years of Legacy, Leadership and Change (30th)

Dr. Johnnetta B Cole, National Museum of African Art

YOU First: Balancing Work, Family & Life (29th)

Rep. Shanelle Jackson, Michigan (D-Michigan)

Summer 2011 – U-M Staff Mentoring & Coaching for Diversity Conference

Dr. Howard G. Adams, Keynote Speaker

Excel in Uncertain Times: Identify Resources & Maximize Opportunities (28th)

Ms. Gail Perry-Mason, Vice President – Oppenheimer & Co, Inc.

Enhance U: Education, Empowerment & Equity (27th)

Dr. Howard G. Adams, President – H. G. Adams and Associates, Inc.
Founding Director, GEM National Institute on Mentoring

Work, Lead & Succeed In A Global Economy (26th)

Dr. Kenya Ayers, Executive Director of Esperanza Communications and past State Chairperson, Michigan ACE Network

25 Years of Promoting Leadership & Diversity (25th)

Dr. Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania & Former Chair, US Commission on Civil Rights

Healthy Person, Healthy Society (24th)

Mr. Pete Thomas, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” (Motivational Speaker)

Inclusion and Opportunity: Recognizing Everyone’s Contribution (23rd)

Dr. Toni Hoover, Vice President – Pfizer GRD, Ann Arbor Campus

Finding Your Path: Developing the Excellence Within (22nd)

Ms. Beverly Jenkins, Author (Fiction)

One University, One Community, One Destiny: Staff and the University’s Mission (21st)

President Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan
Ms. Sue Guevara, UM Women’s Basketball Coach

Women on a Mission: 20 Years of Excellence (20th)

Chief Benny Napoleon, Detroit Police Department

Not Without A Struggle: Honoring our Past, Taking Control of Our Future (19th)

Rev. Shaheerah Stephens, Author and Community Activist

The Celebration of a New Era, New Opportunities and a New You (18th)

Dr. Bertice Berry, Social Activist and National Talk Show Host

Ready, Set, Go TEAM! (17th)

Ms. Laurita Thomas, CHRO – UM Health System

Reforging Our Lives into the New Millennium (16th)

Ms. Vanna Novak, Motivational Speaker

Looking Back, Moving Forward: 15 Years with the Women of Color Task Force (15th)

Ms. Thelma Wells, Christian TV Personality (Dallas, TX)

Building and Creating Opportunities for Growth (14th)

Ms. Patricia Russell-McCloud, Federal Communications Commission

Success: Beginning with the End in Mind (13th)

Dr. Benjamin Carson, Cardiologist and UMMS Graduate

Developing a Plan for Excellence (12th)

Dr. Elizabeth Allen, R.N.

Globally Pulling Our Cultures Together: Positioning Ourselves to Empower, Impact and Excel (11th)

Ms. Helen Zia, MS Magazine
Ms. Sonia Sanchez, Activist

Ten Years In Retrospect: Commemorating Our Past, Securing Our Future (10th)

Ms. Valerie J. Johnson, Director of Native American Services
Ms. Susan L. Taylor, Editor in chief of ESSENCE Magazine

See Beyond Today: Inspiring a Vision to Enhance the Quality of Life (9th)

Dr. Gwendolyn Calvert Baker, Director – YWCA of USA and President of NYC Board of Education
Dr. Howard McCurdy, Microbiologist

Progressing Towards Plurality: The Challenge of the 90s (8th)
Shades of Quality: Emerging, Excelling, Empowering (7th)

A. Deer

Imagine What We Can Be: Challenge, Create, Celebrate (6th)

Dr. R. Griffin

Working Constructively Toward the Future: If You Think You Can, You Can (5th)

Ms. M. Susan Watson, Detroit Free Press Columnist
Ms. Laura Rendon, Assistant Professor of Education at the University of South Carolina

Focus On: Effectiveness, Productivity, and Professionalism (4th)

The Honorable Cynthia D. Stephens, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge
Ms. Rose Martin, Director of the Peace Neighborhood Center

Women of Color: Striving for Excellence (3rd)

Ms. Carman Harlan, WDIV news personality
Dr. Mildred Tirado, UM Counseling Services Center

Survival, Career Development and Networking (2nd)

Ms. Jennie Partee, WCTF Founder

Ms. Beulah Sanders, WCTF Founder

Survival, Career Development and Networking (1st)

Dr. Bernadine Denning

Juneteenth Celebration Archives

U-M Campus wide Juneteenth Celebration
WCTF 2021 Juneteenth Celebration
WCTF Juneteenth Staff Town Hall on Social Justice, Health Equity and Police Reform

Contact Us

Please contact WCTF via email at wctf-faqs@umich.edu or contact members of our Executive Team based on their programmatic areas.