The University Record, May 24 , 1999

Women of Color Task Force seeks new members

By Jane R. Elgass

Women of Color Task Force co-chairs Linda Kennedy (left) and Marie Moorhouse. Photo by Bob Kalmbach
Linda Kennedy and Marie Moorhouse are looking for a few good people who‘d like to join the Women of Color Task Force, and they emphasize that membership is not restricted to women of color.

The task force welcomes women of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, say Kennedy and Moorhouse, co-chairs of the organization. The task force has its roots in women of color, but you don‘t need to be African American to join.

“We really believe in diversity,” says Moorhouse, who is an allied health technical supervisor with the Health System. “That is where the best ideas come from, from different perspectives.”

“We are truly multicultural. This is an opportunity for all,” Kennedy adds.

Kennedy, who is an administrative assistant at the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, credits her nine years on the task force with helping her achieve two promotions.

“Members learn organizational skills, get help in preparing resumes and have wonderful networking opportunities,” she says. “I‘ve been promoted two times because of what I‘ve learned through my involvement with the task force. It‘s transferable.”

Marking its 20th year on the U-M campus, the organization originally was called Minority Women‘s Career Workshops for U-M Staff. It held its 17th annual full-day conference this past March, a program anticipated by many staff because of the valuable workshops and networking opportunities it presents.

The task force currently has only seven members and one liaison provided by Human Resources/Affirmative Action, and that small group managed to pull off the March conference—with the help of many non-member volunteers. The event includes a keynote address and more than 60 personal and professional development workshops. Sessions focus on such topics as the glass ceiling, freeing yourself from debt, getting ready to excel, organizing a team in the workplace, effective employee selection, single parenting and diversity at the University.

Moorhouse attended the annual conference for five years before deciding to join the group. She saw benefits in the “dynamics of the team” the task force represented and the “sisterhood.”

“If you want a new challenge, if you want to climb the ladder at the U, the task force can help,” she says. “You learn more about the University as a whole and you can develop new skills.”

“Recruitment, recruitment, recruitment” tops this year‘s agenda for the co-chairs, who are especially interested in involving more individuals at the Medical Campus in the organization.

This year‘s recruitment luncheon will start at noon May 27 in the Welker Room, Michigan Union, and is open to anyone interested in becoming a member. Dues are $24, payable by cash or check.

Second on their list is the March 3, 2000, conference titled, “Women of Color Task Force Presents, Conference 2000: Celebration of a New Era, New Opportunities and a New You.” The keynote speaker will be Bertice Berry, author, award-winning lecturer and host of “USA Live,” USA Network‘s daily live interactive talk show. Berry, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology, is described as a “scholar, entertainer, renaissance woman and comedian who delivers her message with a sense of humor.”

Other officers this year are Stephanie M. Estes-James, secretary III, Athletic Department, and Ella Williams, postal clerk, Health System Materiel Management, treasurer.

The group is sponsored by Human Resources/Affirmative Action, the Office of Academic and Multicultural Initiatives and the Human Resources Office at the Health System.

The task force‘s schedule of twice-monthly meetings is below. Additional information about the group is on the Web at or by e-mail,

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Women of Color Task Force

1999 Meeting Schedule

Meetings are held noon–1 p.m. at the locations noted below.

May 27—Welker Room, Michigan Union

June 10—Room 2G207, University Hospital

June 24—Welker

July 8—University Hospital

July 22—Welker

Aug. 5—University Hospital

Aug. 19—Welker

Sep. 2—University Hospital

Sept. 16—Welker

Sept. 30—Welker

Oct. 14—University Hospital

Oct. 28—Anderson Room A , Michigan Union

Nov. 11—Welker

Dec. 2—Welker

Dec 16—Welker