Michigan Women’s Commission appointments announced

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced several appointments and reappointments to the Michigan Women’s Commission. He also named current members Anne “Brook” Thompson and Christine Etienne chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively.

The 15-member board works to improve the quality of life for Michigan women, including providing support for female veterans, fighting human trafficking and assisting women business owners.

“These individuals are outstanding, involved and committed Michiganders,” said Snyder. “I am confident their years of unique experiences will effectively support the commission’s work.”


Bobbie Gaunt, of Saugatuck, was the first woman to participate in Ford Motor Co.’s sales and marketing management program in 1972. Nearly 30 years later, she retired as corporate vice president, president and chief executive officer of the company’s global affiliate, Ford of Canada. Gaunt owns and operates The Capitol Group Family of Companies, which includes Maxton Motors of Butler, Capitol Auto Parts in Indiana and Maxton Motors of Montpelier in Ohio. She is chair emeritus of the Board of Directors for Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Gaunt holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh and attended Stanford University Senior Executive Program. Gaunt will replace Barbara Gattorn, who passed away earlier this year.

Renee Haley, of Harrison, serves as director of veterans services for Clare County, where she oversees veteran benefits and emergency assistance, the Soldiers Relief Committee budget and the local Michigan Trust Fund. Previously, she served as deputy clerk for the 80th District Court in Clare County, as deputy clerk for the Clare County Clerk’s Office and as a paraprofessional for Harrison Community Schools. Haley replaces Estelle Smith.

Janice Nearon, of St. Clair Shores, is owner and president of Nearon Consulting LLC. She is former owner and president of Chene Machine Repair & Scraping Inc. and former owner and treasurer of Master Rebuilding & Scraping Inc. Nearon is a member of the Women’s Civic League and Project Aware – Lake St. Clair Waterfront Clean Up. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Detroit. Nearon replaces Judith Rosenberg.

Carol Zimmer, of Dimondale, is co-founder and president of ZimmerFish, an East Lansing-based strategic marketing, branding and advertising firm. Previously, she served as corporate marketing director for Forbes/Cohen Properties in Southfield and was owner and president of Zimmer Marketing Group, which provided marketing and advertising services for shopping centers nationwide. Zimmer has been involved in more than 65 American Advertising Federation’s (Addy) Award-winning projects and recently received two national marketing awards for higher education and health care. She received a bachelor’s degree in retail management from Michigan State University. Zimmer replaces Mary Alice Williams.


Kathleen Knauf, of St. Joseph, retired from service as a special education coordinator for Bridgman Public Schools. Previously, she worked as a special education teacher for St. Joseph Public Schools and as a pre-primary special education teacher for severely emotionally impaired students at Berrien County Intermediate School District. Knauf is a founding member of the Lakeshore Excellence Foundation Committee and serves as a member for the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in group social studies and psychology from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in special education from Western Michigan University.

Deidre Lambert-Bounds, of Southfield, is the chief operating officer of Ignite Social Media as well as a managing partner of Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing. She also serves as board chair for the Sphinx Organization, on the executive committee for the Detroit Regional Chamber and on the campaign steering committee for Orchard’s Children Services. Lambert-Bounds attended Oakland Community College and Wayne State University.

Chairperson and vice chairperson:

Thompson, of Haslett, is an administrative supervisor and program manager for the Michigan State University College of Education’s counseling, educational psychology and special education programs. Previously, she served in the navy for 20 years. Thompson is a member of the Military Officers Association of America and Disabled American Veterans and serves as commander of the American Legion NUWARINE Post, the only all-female post in Michigan. She attended the U.S. Navy’s Organizational Effectiveness and Human Resource Management Specialist Schools, received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Hamline University in Minnesota, and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Providence College in Rhode Island.

Etienne, of Petoskey, serves as director of community relations for the Bay Harbor Co. and as an associate broker for Harbor Sotheby’s International Realty. Previously, she worked as assistant sales director and sales director for Bay Harbor Properties and as vice president of National City Bank. Etienne serves on the Bay Harbor Foundation board and is a member of the Northwest Michigan Industrial Association and Petoskey Chamber of Commerce. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in business administration from Lake Superior State University.

Appointees will serve three-year terms that expire July 15, 2015. Gaunt will serve the remainder of Barbara Gattorn’s term, which expires July 15, 2013. All appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate

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