Check out our IWD Presentation!

Click the link below to hear from important women in our community about the meaning, significance, and importance of International Women’s Day!



IWD: Humanitarian of the Year- Catherine Gant

In her role as a procurement global strategy and process consultant, Catherine Gant introduced a new supply chain management process and designed a training program for 1,500 employees. In her previous position as procurement communications and change management consultant, she produced innovative training programs for leadership and mid-level staff in Michigan, St. Louis, New York, and Chicago, and designed a customer care program from the ground up.

In an earlier position, Catherine demonstrated her true knowledge of expertise by restructuring and revitalizing a failing organization, and transforming employee behaviors, skills, and capabilities to create a powerful, high-performance operation.

Catherine’s personable and goal-driven leadership style allows her to make an immediate and last impact with diversified companies. Her insight, decision making skills, and strategic thinking abilities add to her strength as a passionate and driven consultant.

During her more than 33-year career, Catherine has served on the board of directors of community organizations, such as Van Buren community mental health authority, big brothers/big sisters, united way, and Kalamazoo chamber of commerce. She holds a bachelor of arts in business management administration from Nazareth college, associates of arts in liberal arts from Kalamazoo valley community college and is a certified master trainer in many aspects of leadership development, change management, and employee learning.

Catherine resides in Paw Paw, Michigan with her husband Don.  Catherine and Don have a daughter Errcka, a grandson Allen, and great-grandson Elijah.

IWD: Women in Business : Jacqueline Barton

Jacquelne Barton is the president & founder of Specialized Staffing. In 2001, Jacqueline started Specialized Staffing Solutions to make a difference in the staffing industry and in the communities and lives of the people they serve. She continues to focus on day-to-day operations as well as new projects and clients in this ever-changing hiring market.

IWD: Volunteer of the Year : Cameo DeWalt

Cameo DeWalt is a a high‐performing professional with more than six years’ experience in employment services. Highly skilled at relationship‐ building with clients, organizations and teams. Well‐versed in all phases of recruitment and hiring, including defining job roles, assessing needed skills and evaluating candidates. Outside of the office I am committed to volunteering my time and talent in the community. I have always been community minded and started volunteering in Jr High no one has made it through life without someone else help. The best way you can find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.


Please join us for IPWN 7th year IWD Celebration imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive!

3rd Trunk Purge

This clothing purge is similar to Trunk or Treat for kids, but with professional women’s and men’s clothing! Similar to a garage sale or a flea market: the clothing items will be located in the clean trunk of your car. Community members can hop from trunk to trunk for free professional clothing.  Kalamazoo let’s get back to work!!

Trunk Purge

This clothing purge is similar to Trunk or Treat for kids, but with professional women’s clothing! Similar to a garage sale or a flea market: the clothing items will be located in the clean trunk of your car. Community members can hop from trunk to trunk for free professional women’s clothing.  Kalamazoo let’s get back to work!!

Trunk Purge Registration

This clothing purge is similar to Trunk or Treat for kids, but with professional women’s clothing! Similar to a garage sale or a flea market: the clothing items will be located in the clean trunk of your car. Community members can hop from trunk to trunk for free professional women’s clothing. To participate with clean professional clothing and your clean car trunk call us at 269-350-3682 or click the link ( and we will get you set up with a parking spot! Kalamazoo let’s get back to work!!

6th Annual International Women's Day

This year in honor of our 6th Annual International Women’s Day celebration, we are honoring three extraordinary women in our community. For more information regarding International Women’s Day and this year’s #ChoosetoChallenge theme, click the link below

Humanitarian of the Year -Ragan Savara

Ragan Savara (she/her) offers free nonprofit capacity services to Kalamazoo nonprofits through her work at ONEplace@kpl. Prior to joining ONEplace, she spent eleven years as an attorney specializing in housing and consumer rights law.

Women in Business-Nicole R. Triplett

Owner of Kalamazoo Counseling connection Est. 2012, located downtown Kalamazoo, MI. Private practice, I received Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University, with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy. I work with children, adolescents, adults and families and have experience working with delinquent and abused children in a psychiatric setting alongside of medical and psychiatric doctors. Service Kalamazoo Public/Alternative Schools facilitating groups focusing on anger management and conflict resolution. I have completed evidence-based training in Motivational Interviewing as well as DBT for substance abuse.


Founder of Black Wall Street Kalamazoo, and the Kalamazoo Black Business Expo. Black Wall Street Kalamazoo (BWSK) is focused on the African American Community within Kalamazoo County, generational wealth building. BWSK is the areas Black Business Directory, highlighting and lifting the African American entrepreneur. The primary focus of BWSK is to provide a safe platform to exclusively increase the lifespan of the Black dollar. The guiding principles of BWSK are to access and aid in advocating for equal lending and banking practices, the primary to ownership and generational wealth. Business Education, acumen, economics and collaboration are consistently fostered in our endeavors. We have consulted with multiple entrepreneurship support organization including community development, economic development, private and public agencies to give guidance on best ways to impact the minority business community: United Way of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Truth Racial Healing and Reconciliation, South West Michigan First (SWMF), the City of Kalamazoo, City of Battle Creek, Chase Bank, LISC, Can-Do Kitchen, Black Arts and Cultural Center, Big Brothers Big sisters of America, Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, Greater Kalamazoo Business Resource Network, SBA, WMU School of Business, SCORE and others. Invited to speak directly with the governor to express the state of Black Business in Kalamazoo during the worst economic crisis our generation may ever seen. We have provided direct input to both to state Democratic and Republican representatives on legislation framing how to insure equitable disbursement of COVID relief funds. We provided strategy to South West Michigan First and assisted in directly ensuring 30% of the Michigan Restart grant funding was distributed to marginalized businesses in Kalamazoo. Our efforts have also resulted in an increase in access to entrepreneurship support resources and organizations. It is imperative to leverage our individual platforms, our voices, networks, and programming to build thriving Black Businesses. In a short 3 year period of time we have developed a proven track record of supporting and resourcing Black business owners.


The Roche’ Collection, “Wine For The Culture”, A boutique Urban winery. A contemporary, delicious and luxury wine collection. Enjoy your relaxing everyday moments with our wines which are equally worthy to celebrate success and glamour! Formulated with the modern wine drinker in mind. Roche’ is the taste that people desire and the varietals wine lovers enjoy. Twine Urban Winery by The Roche’ collection is located in the Washington Square neighborhood situated a mile from the downtown area. By all known accounts Nicole is the first Black female winemaker in Michigan.

Women in Excellence -Patrese Griffin

Patrese Griffin is a lifelong Kalamazoo resident who is dedicated to taking Kalamazoo to a higher level for all.  She is a committed community activist who has over 16 years experience in property management, specifically managing single family, conventional, senior housing, subsidized housing, and housing for those with mental disabilities.

For the last 3 years, Patrese has facilitated successes as a housing advocate. She researched and created a process that resulted in funding for housing application assistance, and helped to place families into housing.  She has also been instrumental in writing equitable housing policies that increase housing choices and options for all residents of Kalamazoo.

Patrese also serves in many other capacities, including: Board Vice-Chair of the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo (SPK) organizing committee member, member of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Law and Separation Design Teams, member of Vibrant Kalamazoo Board, member of the ISAAC Housing Task Force, Co-Chair of the Allocation and Accountability Team for Continuum of Care, Chair of Housing Resources Incorporated’s (HRI) Housing Equity Advisory Committee, and member of the Southwest Michigan Regional Prosperity Initiative Community Development subcommittee. She also volunteers with the United Way and Michigan United; and also does equity, cultural awareness, and evaluation training for various non-profit organizations.

Patrese is a graduate of Hackett Catholic Central High School and has taken Business Management courses at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.  Patrese resides on the Northside of Kalamazoo, and is married to artist/activist/community organizer Ed Genesis. They are parents to one adult son, and a son and daughter who are enrolled in Kalamazoo Public Schools.

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