Women’s Municipal Leadership Program Graduates Honored

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073
[email protected];


Women’s Municipal Leadership Program Graduates Honored

28 Future Leaders from Detroit to Traverse City Complete Training

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Twenty-eight future women leaders from throughout Michigan were recently honored for successfully completing the Women’s Municipal Leadership Program presented by the 16/50 Project.

Women represent just 16 percent of Michigan’s local chief administrative officers—a statistic that shows they face significant barriers when attempting to enter the profession. That’s why the 16/50 Project empowers women leaders with access to critical topic education and executive development through this transformative training opportunity—the Women’s Municipal Leadership Program.

The 2019 graduating class, honored in a new video being released this week, includes future leaders from throughout the state—from Battle Creek to Detroit to Traverse City.

The Women’s Municipal Leadership Program is a five-part training initiative that gives aspiring women community leaders an opportunity to advance their skills and leadership abilities on the path to becoming strong local government managers. The 2019 class began the program in the fall of 2019 and concluded in December. They were going to be recognized in March during the Michigan Municipal League’s 2020 Capital Conference, but that event was cancelled due to COVID-19. Instead, they are being honored this summer as the next class of the Women’s Municipal Leadership Program gets underway in August.

“Launched in 2018, the Women’s Municipal Leadership Program has helped catapult six of our program graduates into municipal executive roles” said Emily Kieliszewski, member programs lead for the Michigan Municipal League. “That’s an encouraging indication that what we’ve developed works. By actively eliminating barriers, we’re ensuring everyone has a fair shot in the collective hiring pool—and we’re increasing the number of candidates ready to serve Michigan communities along the way. The 2019 class was exceptional, and we’re excited to see how they will serve their communities in the future.”

This year’s graduating class are:

  • Shawna Allen, administrative assistant, City of Battle Creek;
  • Sarah Bek, executive assistant to the city manager, City of Petoskey;
  • Simone Bell, assistant to the city manager, City of Novi/Wayne State University;
  • Greta Bolhuis, assistant community development director, City of Plymouth;
  • Kristine Bosley, human resource director, City of Traverse City;
  • Alicia C. Bradford, parks director, Wayne County Parks Division;
  • Marrie Jo Carr, treasurer/human resources, City of Eaton Rapids;
  • Amber Clark, assistant to the city manager, City of Jackson;
  • Kelsey Cooke, drainage district legal counsel, Oakland County;
  • Courtney Flynn, public relations manager, Macomb County Board of Commissioners;
  • Monica Fulton, director of community resources, City of Garden City;
  • Marcie Gillette, community services director, City of Battle Creek;
  • Rebekah Kik, director community planning and economic development, City of Kalamazoo;
  • Jeanet Kulcsar, director of strategy, office of the CFO, City of Detroit;
  • Debra Peck Lichtenberg, city controller/treasurer, City of Grosse Pointe Farms;
  • Sharra Poncil, liability risk management analyst, City of Grand Rapids;
  • Sherry Powell, assistant city manager/clerk, City of Grant;
  • Jennifer Provenzano, recreation and cultural arts supervisor, Canton Township, Leisure Services Department;
  • Danielle Richardson, recreation services manager, City of Battle Creek Recreation Department;
  • Rhonda Ricketts, finance officer/treasurer, Village of Grosse Pointe Shores;
  • Karen Sall, controller/deputy city administrator, City of Trenton;
  • Heather Seyfarth, planner/community engagement specialist, City of Ann Arbor;
  • Haley Snyder, acting city manager, City of Albion;
  • Crystal VanVleck, director of strategic planning and special projects, City of Oak Park;
  • Bonnie Wessler, project manager, City of Ypsilanti;
  • Katelyn Zeits, deputy city clerk, City of Traverse City;
  • LeighAnn Mikesell, director of municipal services, City of Muskegon;
  • Julianne Pastula, senior assistant corporation counsel, General Counsel Board of Ethics, City of Detroit.

The training brings together lectures, panels, and interactive experiences. Participants explore multiple topics, including municipal budgeting and finance, economic development, council-manager relations, and interviewing and negotiating. The training also involves dialogue with experts and veterans in the field of municipal management; executive coaching; and participating in a mock interview experience with immediate feedback from seasoned managers. Due to COVID-19, at least the first two training sessions will be done for the first time virtually. This training will be conducted in a way that participants can still experience it all in the company of other dedicated women as they create a personal and professional network.

This complimentary program is open to Michigan women with a demonstrated interest in serving as local government chief executives. The class for the 2020 program was recently selected and will run from Aug. 24–Dec. 11.

To learn more go to and

For additional information contact the League’s Matt Bach, director of communications at (810) 874-1073 (cell) and [email protected].

About the League: Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at


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