Catherine Rogg, vice president, corporate engagement, is a new person in a new role for Inforum, a professional organization focused on creating strategic connections and accelerating women's careers. It's a nice alignment: Catherine has a long-standing career in education and philanthropy, was director of development for comprehensive fundraising offices at two educational institutions, and was director of alumni relations at Davenport University. She was active in establishing scholarship programs advocating for nontraditional women students. And she's focused on making connections, building relationships, and engaging support for professional growth opportunities.
What brought you to Inforum?
I'd been an Inforum member for almost a year and saw there was a leadership opportunity in West Michigan. I love the community. The opportunity suited my background. I enjoyed the first several months as an Inforum member, and I believed my skill set and personal interests would transition well to the position. Women are still underrepresented in business, corporations and boards, and I'm proud to serve as a professional advocate for them.
What will your position entail?
With our programs through Inforum and Inforum Center for Leadership, corporate engagement is a vital part of our effectiveness and outreach. We can make great strides by working with corporate partners to educate their workforce, open up their networks across industries, and provide leadership training to women to prepare them for advancement at all levels.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope to continue the good work already established in West Michigan, as well as grow the program in presence and through collaborative initiatives in Southwest Michigan and in the capital region. Inforum is one of many organizations advocating for women in the workplace, but its mission is unique: It connects women through a network of thought leaders and best-in-class training and programing to help them optimize their personal and professional potential and achieve success.
What does Inforum have in store for 2014?
We've launched the Genuine Leadership Presence program in West Michigan, a newer ICL program that hadn't yet been hosted here. We'll introduce Secrets to Being a Dynamic Leader, a mentoring roundtable with sessions devoted to learning, studying, and practicing new leadership concepts—a joint venture with Suzann Foerster Leadership Coaching. We'll continue with programs such as our Inner Circle event, providing women an opportunity to meet and converse over a meal with women leaders, and signature events with featured speakers. We'll host Inforum Connections events at local businesses, introducing new and potential members to our programs and showcasing businesses and institutions in the community. We'll continue providing our NextUP and Executive Leadership programs—and with four hundred Executive Leadership graduates in West Michigan, we've already made a great impact on women in the workforce. We'll continue building membership and offering members Affinity Group opportunities; we'll work in our communities to build awareness of the role Inforum plays in advocating for the advancement and strategic connections of women in the workplace.
What is most exciting about working with Inforum?
There's so much ahead of us in terms of opportunity and growth. Inforum has been in existence for almost fifty-two years. It's here to stay, and it's laid an excellent foundation. I'm excited to be part of spreading the word, engaging membership, developing corporate relationships, and expanding our growing presence in West Michigan and beyond. Inforum is about creating opportunities for strategic connections, providing a professional alliance for women, and creating and implementing programs that advance women in their professions and give them the confidence they need to succeed. Advocating for these initiatives is exciting, and I'm proud to be a part of such a dynamic organization!
Written by Amy L Charles, the editorial director for West Michigan Woman Magazine.