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Updated 12:00 noon February 16, 2004



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Conference aims to help attendees achieve goals

Bonita Cowan-Tucker is like many people who periodically set goals to improve their lives; the goals often involve vague or unrealistic deadlines.

This changed for Cowan-Tucker in 1992 when she attended a goals-setting workshop at the U-M Women of Color Task Force (WCTF) Conference. She put her goals on paper to own a home and have a college degree within five years and 10 years, respectively. She and a witness at the conference signed the paper, which became a contract for Cowan-Tucker as she set out to achieve the new objectives.

Women of Color
Task Force Conference
Feb. 26

On-site registration and meals are at the Michigan League. Workshops will be in the Modern Languages Building.
For additional information visit

She succeeded with both goals—each with two years remaining. Cowan-Tucker, a former senior executive secretary in what was then the Office of the Vice President for University Relations, bought a condominium in 1995 and earned a bachelor's degree in human resource development at what was then Cleary College in 2000.

"It is possible that I would have achieved these goals anyway, but there's no telling when these things would have happened for me," says Cowan-Tucker, who now works as a program support assistant at the Veterans Benefit Administration office in Ann Arbor. "The conference was uplifting emotionally, spiritually and professionally."

The conference returns Feb. 26 for its 22nd year, providing women with professional and personal information. WCTF, a volunteer staff organization that receives administrative support from the Center for the Education of Women, has held career development activities since 1979 and has presented the career conference since 1982.

The workshops address topics such as project management, conflict resolution, stress, nutrition and weight management, spirituality in the workplace, and work environment enhancement.

Program coordinator Janice Reuben says a "Reflections of the Day" session is new this year. Participants can share their experiences, discuss how the conference has affected their personal agendas and receive suggestions for taking the next steps to achieving their goals.

Belleville author Beverly Jenkins, the conference keynote speaker, wants her talk, "Finding Your Path: Developing the Excellence Within," to inspire attendees to persevere despite obstacles.

Jenkins, who writes African American historical romance novels, says it took four years of telephone calls and letter writing before her first book was published in 1994.

"I have enough rejection letters to paper my house," she jokes. Jenkins now has 14 published novels, including her newly released book, "The Edge of Midnight."

She says age should not deter anyone from achieving one's goals. "When you reach a certain age, your dreams don't die," says Jenkins, 53. "You have to go after what you want."

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