On April 11, 2022, Simmons University will celebrate the investiture ceremony of Lynn Perry Wooten, the university’s Ninth President and first Black President. Link Lynn assumed the leadership post on July 1, 2020, and her expertise in organizational development and transformation has served both the university and organizations world-wide. This former Cornell University dean and University of Michigan business professor continues to shape how we think about the workforce through publications and talks on the She-Cession and continued impact of Covid on women in the workforce. In 2021 Link Lynn was appointed to the North Carolina A & T University Board of Trustees. Visit the Simmon’s University Investiture site to RSVP for the virtual ceremony:


Joyce Hunter will receive the 2022 Community Service Award from the Ann Arbor Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women for her outstanding community service efforts. Her leadership of the Ann Arbor Links Kids Reading Series and role as President of the African American Historical and Cultural Museum are just two examples of the countless ways Link Joyce makes an impact in our community. She will be recognized during NANBPW’s Virtual Ceremony in April 2022.


Dr. Polly Gipson, Clinical Associate Professor at Michigan Medicine, will receive the 2022 Professional Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women in April 2022. Link Polly was also appointed Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2021.


In February 2022 Keisha Gipson Blevins has been named Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This leadership role complements her current leadership position as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, and positions her to remain a partner to university wide DEI strategic efforts.


Cynthia Bowman was named to Crain’s 2021 100 Most Influential Women’s List. Link Cynthia currently serves as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion and Talent Acquisition Officer for Bank of America. She was also named as a FOR(BES) The Culture 50: Champion in 2021. Congratulations Link Cynthia on being a waymaker in corporate America!

Erika Williams-Hickman

Make way for new local leaders! Erika williams-Hickman has accepted the role of Vice Chair for the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Link Erika will serve as Chairperson for Membership and Marketing.

Ayanna McConnell

On July 1, 2021, Ayanna McConnell became the first African American Vice President at the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan. A higher ed professional for two decades, Link Ayanna will lead all aspects of the Association’s university relations, student, fundraising, volunteer/advocacy, LEAD Scholarship and DEI strategies.


Laurita Thomas has no plans to slow down when she retires later this year.
She was recently named the next president of the American Research Universities Human Resources Institute. The group brings together human resources leaders for development, networking and other opportunities. Its members represent the nation’s top 62 major research universities, including U-M. Thomas, the associate vice president for human resources, was a founding member of the institute. She previously served as treasurer and board member. Throughout her career, Thomas made service a part of her leadership approach. She has long supported various civic, non-profit and professional organizations. Thomas has served U-M for 46 years, including 15 in her current role. She announced her retirement late last year. A search is currently underway for her successor.


Link Ray-Johnson is the recipient of the University of Michigan’s 2018 Distinguished Diversity Leaders Award. The award was established to recognize staff members who work to create a welcoming, supportive and inclusive campus community. The award made possible by the Office of The Prevost and University Human Resources, is presented annually in December. Ms. Ray-Johnson currently serves as the Conflict Resolution Officer in The Rackham Graduate School.


In May 2022 Dr. Cleopatra Caldwell will be recognized by Washtenaw Community College’s Women’s Council as a 2022 Shero for her service and leadership in our community. In addition, Link Cleo was recently awarded the 2021 Alumni Achievement Award from her alma mater North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in November 2021. Her expertise and research in health disparities continues to have lasting impacts on communities of color, including through the Fathers and Sons programs in Flint and most recently Chicago, IL.