Look Who’s Talking event welcomes Wendy Groll for the Women’s Initiative 20th anniversary luncheon

It’s a milestone year for Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation’s endowed Women’s Initiative Fund, as they honor 20 years of providing services and programs to the women and girls of Isabella County. 

“We learned that far too many women and girls in Isabella County were in need of serious help,” co-chair of the Women’s Initiative, Leah Rau, quoted co-founders Judy French Smith and Kay Krapohl Smith about the Women’s Initiative 2003 beginnings.

“Also, we believed that it was time for women to be given the opportunity to become philanthropists on their own—not as spouses or daughters, but as independent donors,” continued Rau as she quoted the two founders. “And that's what happened. When the women of Isabella County learned that other women needed their help, they came through in a big way, and they continue to do so today!"

This year's Women's Initiative committee at the Look Who's Talking luncheon Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. Courtesy Terrence Stallworth Jr. / Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation
The Women’s Initiative has fulfilled 73 grant requests since 2003, totaling over $169,000, based on the interest of endowed funds. This past year alone, they distributed $41,500 via 13 grants to organizations including Christmas Outreach; Clothing Inc.; Community Compassion Network; Girl Scouts of Michigan; Hopewell Ranch; Isabella County Child Advocacy Center; Rise Advocacy; and The Care Store.  

These recent awardees were acknowledged for their support of women and girls of Isabella County during the Women's Initiative’s 2023 Look Who's Talking Speaker Series luncheon. 

This year’s annual Look Who’s Talking luncheon took place Wednesday, October 11 at the Soaring Eagle Conference Center in Mt. Pleasant. The Women’s Initiative welcomed Wendy Groll, vice president of operations and director of training for Handley & Associates, which delivers Dale Carnegie Training for 36 counties in Michigan, as its speaker.

Over 340 attendees listened to Groll as she shared her perspective on the power of channeling untapped potential and how that can impact your overall outcome. 

“Go after the things you’d love—not just like—to make happen,” Groll said during her speech. “When you bring that passion, it brings opportunities, and also inspires others to use their powers for good.” 

Her messages inspired men and women throughout the crowd, as she spoke on how to "use your powers for good in a world where trust takes courage and courage takes trust.”

“She was fabulous,” shared Central Michigan Kundalini owner, Kris Batzner, who attended the event. “I love that she talked about courage and trust. You have to have courage to trust yourself, trust your decisions, trust the outcomes. And she said that so eloquently.” 

“There are all kinds of restraints that can get in our way, but the biggest one is what’s going on in our heads,” Groll commented on her presentation’s key takeaway message. “When I had [audience members] write down the things that they’d love to accomplish—not just like to accomplish, but love to accomplish—it’s a choice. It’s 100% a choice. Even writing down the first step it’s going to take… Enthusiasm will bring more enthusiasm. And sitting at a table with people [at this event], hopefully the comradery will hold each other accountable.”

Batzner agreed. “I love this event every year. It’s empowering to be around strong, intelligent women that hold each other up.”

To learn more about the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation’s endowed Women’s Initiative Fund, visit mpacf.org/womens-initiative.
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Read more articles by Courtney Jerome.

With 15 years of professional media experience, Courtney Jerome has found a passion for storytelling and showcasing our region in a positive light. She's written stories for television broadcasts, numerous magazines, and digital publications. In addition, she owns a boutique creative marketing agency that focuses on social media, photo, and video storytelling for small businesses across Michigan and the country — courtneyjeromemedia.com. Contact Courtney, the managing editor of Epicenter, at editor@epicentermtpleasant.com.