2019-2020 Board of Directors
Prior 2018-2019 Board of Directors
2019-2020 Leadership Team
Pictured Left to Right. Row 1: Brandi Inglett (VP FD), Jennifer Blake (PE), Joyce Salisbury (Parliamentarian), Andrea Garver (Treasurer), Laurel Palmer (President) Row 2: Beth Pappalardo (VP CI), Betsy Weber (VP NP), Christy Peterson (Secretary), Sharon Seelye (Sustainer Co-Director), Alex Gatter (VP M) Not Pictured: Carole Majka (Sustainer Co-Director)
2018-2019 Leadership Team
Pictured Left to Right. Row 1: Sharon Seelye (Sustainer Co-Director), Joyce Salisbury (Nominating & Placement VP and Diversity & Inclusion Chair), Christy Peterson (Secretary), Carole Majka (Sustainer Co-Director), Laurel Palmer (President Elect) Row 2: Shannon Kelly (VP Membership), Jennifer Young (Parliamentarian), Maggie Hesketh (President), Alice Henderson (VP Community Impact), Mariah Lietzau (VP Fund Development), Krista Haley (Treasurer), Andrea Garver (Assistant Treasurer)
Laurel Palmer, President 2019-2020
I was born and raised in Reading, PA in a rural community. My family is Pennsylvania Dutch (mostly of German descent).Upon graduating from high school, I entered Cedar Crest College which is a small all women’s college in Allentown, PA. My College career was an incredibly transformative and empowering experience. I am immensely grateful to have had an all-women’s college experience and would make the same college choice again.
I went to graduate school at Michigan State University; My master’s degree is in college student development and my goal coming out of graduate school was to pursue a career in higher education. While pursuing my degree I met my husband, Steve.I have two incredible and amazing children who are both miracles and I am eternally grateful that they chose my husband and me to be their parents. I balance my time between my full-time work as a fundraiser at Kalamazoo College, teaching at WMU part-time and various volunteer organizations. In my free time I enjoy antiquing, making crafts with my daughter, and visiting my family back East.
When I moved to Kalamazoo I really worked to learn about the community and to build networks. It was during these pursuits that I found out about the Junior League of Kalamazoo (JLK). The JLK has and continues to be such an important part of keeping me engaged with the Kalamazoo community. It has given me many opportunities for personal and professional growth. In the coming year I look forward to learning more about the individual women of our League and what motivates and empowers all of us. In addition, I look forward to learning more about all of the workings of the JLK and honoring the work and contributions of our members past and present.
Jennifer Blake, President Elect 2019-2020
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and attended The University of Houston. I have a Bachelors in Psychology and after moving to Kalamazoo in 2008, I attended Spring Arbor and received my Masters in Counseling. I have worked in education and early childhood education all of my career as a preschool teacher, an early childhood training coordinator, a children's therapist, a school counselor and currently as a Day Care Licensing Consultant for the State of Michigan.
I joined the league in 2016, and served two years as the Touch-A-Truck chair where I learned all things trucks, as well as leadership, fundraising, and communication skills. I have met some amazing women, seen some life changing training and been to some great conferences that have left ready to see what I can do for this community! Every year my league experience is different and I cant wait to experience the upcoming years and witness this league's capabilities.
My husband Brian works at DENSO as a software developer and we have two girls that are 4 years old and almost 2 years old. We stay busy between dance class, gymnastics, chasing the toddler and trying to slow down time to keep them little forever! When I find some spare time, I absolutely love photography, sewing all the things and a good DIY project (also guilty pleasure... reality TV shows!).
Christy Peterson, Secretary 2018-2020
I was born in Ft. Wayne, IN and grew up on Coldwater Lake, MI. I have a very large family and amazing parents. I graduated from Michigan State University (Go Green!) with a degree in Business Management in 2002. I relocated to Kalamazoo in 2005 and began working for The Hinman Company, a commercial real estate leasing, management and development company, as the Accounting Assistant. I have received several promotions to become the Assistant Controller, and because of my work in the Junior League have transitioned to our Human Resources Manager. I am married to Erik and have several 4-legged kids. We enjoy camping, boating, wine tasting, and going to concerts.
Joining the league in 2010, hoping to make some local friends, a passion to volunteer and lead has grown because of the experiences and opportunities I've had in League. I have worked on many committees and has had many roles since joining the League: Special Events Chair, Annual Fund Chair, Fundraising Treasurer, VP of Fund Development, Ways & Means Committee, Technology Adhoc, Marketing & Communications (creating our current website, member database, and cloud-based document storage system), President-Elect, and President in 2016-2018. I love to help anyone with excel sheets that will let me, and parliamentary procedure in my jam. This year I will serve again as our Secretary as well as Treasurer for the Michigan State Council of Junior Leagues (the 9 Michigan leagues combined together).
I am thankful for the chance to share my knowledge and help others learn more about what JLK can offer women who want to be leaders in our organization and community! #LeagueforLife #WeGotThis
Andrea Garver, Treasurer 2019-2020
I was born in Dayton, Ohio and grew up mostly south of Fort Wayne, Indiana. My job and my husband brought me to Michigan; I work as an outpatient dietitian at the Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center helping people prevent or manage chronic conditions and become a healthier version of themselves through their nutrition.
I joined the JLK to connect with the community and like-minded women.
I enjoy being active outdoors (often with our furry pup Lucy), cooking, traveling, and spending time with family.
Joyce Salisbury, Parliamentarian 2019-2020
I was born in Royal Oak, MI the last of 8 children in a "mine, yours and ours" family. Growing up, my family owned bars, pizzerias, arcades and an ice cream store, unfortunately it was bars until I was 18 and then the arcades and ice cream store. My first job was folding pizza boxes for $.01 each.
I went to work at General Motors at 19 as a Co-op from GMI (now Kettering) and studied Manufacturing Systems Engineering. I went to Northwestern/Kellogg for Masters in Engineering and MBA. Chicago is still one of my favorite cities. I have been at GM for 29 years and am currently the Technical Director of Online Research and Analytics. I work out of my house and go to Detroit a few days per month.
I am married to Greg who works at Consumers Energy and we have a 9th grade son, Andrew, who attended KCDS and now KAMSC and Hackett. We also have a 5 year old Schnoodle named Maizey.
We moved to Kalamazoo in 2008 and I joined the Junior League in 2010. I joined to connect with women in the community because working from home can be lonely. I stay in the League because I love to learn new things and enjoy the company of the other women. I have been on Marketing and E&T committees, Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, Nominating VP, and Diversity & Inclusion Chair.
I enjoy home renovating, boating, watching soccer, traveling, technology and performing Improv with the Blab Rats. My Top 5 strengths are: Maximizer, Positivity, Futuristic, Strategic and Achiever.
Betsy Weber, Vice President of Nominating & Placement 2019-2020
I was born and raised in Brighton, MI (about 40 miles west of Detroit). I attended Brighton High School and Western Michigan University. After college, I moved back to the Detroit area and began my career in the banking/mortgage industry. I went to high school with my husband Andy, though we didn’t date until the end of our college years. We married in 2004 and just over a year later he took a new job in Kalamazoo. Our daughters Hannah and Avery were born here and I have learned to love life on the “west side”. A few months after Hannah was born, I left my career to concentrate on motherhood. I now work part-time from home and raise our family.
I joined the Junior League in 2010 to learn more about Kalamazoo and become engaged in the community. I love the experiences and friendships I have gained as a member of the League.
Brandi Inglett, Vice President of Fund Development 2019-2021
I was born and raised in the Battle Creek, MI area. I went to Gull Lake High School and Western Michigan University. While at WMU I studied Supply Chain Management and was part of Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, which was where I met my life long best friends and started developing my leadership skills.
Since graduating from WMU I’ve had a successful Supply Chain career working at John Deere, Parker Hannifin and currently Stryker Instruments. My Husband, Greg, works at Eaton Cummins as a Product Engineer. We have two fur babies, Penny (a MinPin Chihuahua mix) and Herman (a Scottish Terrier). We are expecting of first child in February 2020.
I joined the league in 2017, to volunteer with like-minded women and create friendships. My first active year I was the Events and Training Chair, which allowed me to set up Socials for all members to connect and Trainings to help members develop/refine their leadership skills. This year I am serving as the VP of Fund Development.
Beth Pappalardo, Vice President of Community Impact 2019-2021
I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska (go Huskers!), but moved around after graduating high school. I attended undergrad at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, moved to Houston, TX to work in the airline industry and then headed to the northern Chicago suburbs to get my MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Right around the time I started a family with my husband, a career move led us to Kalamazoo, where we have fallen in love with southwest Michigan and grown our family ever since.
As a transplant to Michigan, I joined the Junior League to learn more about my community and to meet other smart and motivated women. I have loved the opportunity I’ve had to volunteer with and learn about all the awesome organizations in our area, doing important work to address a variety of different community needs. Becoming an active member of our League has given me the chance to take on leadership roles that both build on skills I already have and allow me to develop in areas where I’d like to develop my skills. I have also made some great friends -- may of whom I would have never met were it not for my decision to join the League.
These days, I spend my time raising my two energetic kids while working part-time from home. I enjoy traveling, reading and the occasional karaoke night. I’m a foodie who loves a good meal, whether cooked at home or eaten out, and I’m lucky to have a husband that shares my passion for food! ;) I am thrilled to serve as the VP of Community Impact this year and am most excited to expand our Community Granting and learn more about the work done by our State Public Affairs Committee. If you have questions about what Community Impact does, please ask!
Alex Gatter, Vice President of Membership 2019-2020
Bio Coming Soon!
Carolyn Ridderman, Chair of Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce 2019-2020
I was born and raised right here in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I grew up just north of town with my father who owned a Dutch bakery in Parchment, my mother who worked part-time as a nurse at Borgess Hospital and my two younger sisters. I have been married to Justin Ridderman for 17 years. We have a pretty cool 14 year old daughter, Layne, who is a freshman at Gull Lake High School. We enjoy traveling, enjoying good food, sports and spending time together…and with our 3 year old Sheepadoodle named Judy. My top five Gallup strengths are Maximizer, Achiever, Responsibility, Focus and Harmony.
I received my Bachelors degree in Integrated Supply Management from Western Michigan University and started my career at Stryker as an intern between by junior and senior years of college. I have spent nearly 20 years with Stryker so far in roles with increasing responsibility in Operations, Human Resources and Supply Chain, based here in Kalamazoo, Michigan and also in Cork, Ireland for a 2 year expat assignment. I am currently a Sr. Director responsible for Business Transformation and our Global ERP deployment for the Planning, Distribution and RAQA process areas. I have an amazing team located around the world and we have an opportunity to help make healthcare better every day.
I joined the Junior League of Kalamazoo in 2017 looking to expand my network, learn and develop as a leader and give back to my community. I have found these opportunities with the league, and then some. I was part of the Membership Committee and the D&I Taskforce last year and was fortunate to be sent to ODI in February 2018 with a focus on Diversity and Inclusion. I am thankful to leverage my learnings last year and couple those with my passion around D&I in my current role as Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce. We are excited to bring awareness, education and action to our league!
Carole Majka – Sustainer Co-Director 2017-2020
I was born and raised in the Cleveland, OH area. I attended Kent State University and in 1971 married my high school sweetheart, Jim. In 1981 we moved to Portage. We have two children. Erin, who lives in Portage, and Adam, who lives in Mattawan with his wife. Julia. We have two grandchildren, Harrison, 6 years old, and Charlotte, who is 4. We know how lucky we are that everyone lives locally.
I worked at Upjohn for 11 years in the WW Congress and Meeting Department. When Upjohn moved to NJ, I left and started my own meeting planning company, UnConventional Events, LLC. I work out of our home. My clients are all pharmaceuticals and I specialize in planning their attendance at major medical conventions. For the past 20 years I have worked as a sole proprietor and loved it. My career has allowed me to travel throughout the world and meet the most wonderful people. I have subcontractors who assist on larger meetings. I am in the process of handing off more of the pre/post planning to them, which has allowed me to transition into working fewer hours and having a life outside of work.
Becoming active in Sustainers has been a godsend in helping me find an activity other than work that I truly enjoy. I am renewing old friendships, making new, and completely enjoying every minute of it!
Sharon Seelye - Sustainer Co-Director 2017-2020
Born 1951 in San Francisco, I moved to Kalamazoo when I was 8. I graduated from Comstock High School in 1969. I graduated from Adrian College in 1973 with major in Secondary Education - major in Sociology and minor in Biology. I married Mike in 1974 - he is the President of Seelye Auto Group.
I taught middle school science at Delton Kellogg Middle School for 5 years before becoming a stay at home mom to Mickey, Michelle and Mauri. I joined Service Club in 1979 and became active in the Junior League of Kalamazoo in 1980.
My placements in the League included: cookbook committee, Chair of "YOU ARE SPECIAL" (with the YWCA), we won the group STAR award that year, placement chair, corresponding secretary, clothes encounters worker and child selection for Pretty Lake Camp.
Other volunteer organizations I work with include: board member of community healing center (formerly guidance clinic), Big Brother/Big Sisters, board member of Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, trustee of Kalamazoo Civic Theatre Foundation, parents of portage central board member, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra League board member, American Cancer Society, partners in dance board member (WMU) and Capital Campaign co-chair of the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.
Currently: I have 8 grandchildren who live in Kalamazoo (lots of fun), I play tennis, work out and still volunteer for the above organizations. I have enjoyed getting involved with the Junior League again and look forward to a fun year!