100 Women Strong Setting the Stage for Another Leaders of Distinction Luncheon

100 Women Strong, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency funds to Berrien County women, will host its  8th Annual Leaders of Distinction Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. October 24, 2019 at Shadowland on Silver Beach, 333 Broad St.

Tickets are $25 each, and you can reserve a table for 8 for $200. Tickets are available at the group’s website at http://www.100womenstrongberrien.com/events. Tickets can also be reserved by mail at P.O. Box 272, St. Joseph, MI 49085. Please make checks payable to 100 Women Strong. Tickets are limited and we expect to sell out this event.

We are pleased to announce this year’s recipient of our Leader of Distinction is Mary Jo Schnell, Executive Director of The OutCenter in Benton Harbor, MI. Mary Jo Schnell has more than 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector in local, regional and national organizations.  She began her career in the sector as the curator of a nationally known alternative arts organization in Chicago, Randolph Street Gallery, helping to organize the annual “In Through the Out Door,” one of the country’s first LGBTQ series featuring video, film and performances by artists whose work explored sexual identity, gender expression and more in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the latter part of the Reagan Culture Wars, and into George H. W. Bush’s presidency.

Since that time, “MJ” has continued to grow professionally within this sector, holding fundraising, program and executive director positions in local and national organizations. She has been praised by Boards, executives and peers for her leadership, interpersonal skills and sensibility, ability to secure support from a variety of sources, strategic mind, innovative and sustainable responses to challenges and opportunities, and her overall ability to nurture mission-based outcomes.

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She has been trained in leadership transition management and her consulting practice focuses on governance, planning, programs and partnerships—understanding that board effectiveness, thoughtful and strategic planning, a focus on mission-based impacts, and collaborative partnerships that broaden the reach and deepen the impact of organization are fundamental components to healthy nonprofit organizations.

She is a devotee to the health of the nonprofit sector and advocate for preserving the public’s trust in this sector’s ability to create positive change in society.  She prizes organizational integrity, diversity, commitment to high ethical standards, and understands and appreciates the need for a plurality of organizational cultures.

As executive director of the OutCenter in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Mary Jo leveraged more than 25 years of experience to guide the organization through a leadership transition during a critical time in the organization’s history. She helped to rebuild the organization’s Board, bringing in governance best practices and coaching members toward success, she rebuilt programs – positioning them in response to need, within the framework of sustainability, and always with a focus on mission-based outcomes. She helped to reposition the organization within the larger cultural and political context of Southwest Michigan, recalibrated fundraising efforts to diversity funding streams and based on the potential for income growth and helped to launch its first ever three-year plan.

Our keynote speaker is Todd Dockerty, Owner of Dockerty Health Care Services which owns and operates several assisted living communities across Michigan, including Woodland Terrace of Bridgman, Woodland Terrace at Longmeadow, and Woodland Terrace of Paw Paw Lake. Todd believes it’s important to give back to the communities that have been so kind to him. He has served on the board of directors for The Citadel Dance & Music Center and was Board Chair for The OutCenter. He also served for 10 years on the Michigan Center for Assisted Living board and continues as Chair of the Regulatory and Legislative Committee for MCAL.