CONNECT H.E.R. Week 1: Meet the ‘Balancing Act’ Panelists

Financial Services

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- MassMutual MidMichigan and WOTV 4 Women have teamed up to create an empowering virtual lunch and learn series “CONNECT H.E.R. (helping empower relationships)”. 

During the month of September, this virtual women’s weekly series will connect and empower West Michigan women on a variety of topics. Our first topic, the “Balancing Act” will take place on Sept. 9 from 12 p.m.- 1 p.m. In this discussion, four exceptional women will walk you through their secrets to success and share stories of perseverance. The panel will be moderated by Melissa Keating of MassMutual MidMichigan.


Sign up now by clicking the registration link and see below to learn all about our wonderful panelists!

*Zoom link will be emailed to all registered guests prior to the event.

Melissa Keating

CONNECT H.E.R. Moderator

Melissa Keating is the WOTV 4 Women ambassador focusing on Financial Services. Melissa is the Director of Marketing and Field Development at MassMutual MidMichigan where she works with financial advisors across Michigan helping individuals, families, and businesses connect values and vision to financial assets through awareness and education, local resources, and community engagement.

“For most, the heart of the American Dream is financial security.  We work within our local communities, listening to a client’s specific needs, goals and aspirations, then designing customized solutions, together. Life has a way of handing you little surprises along the way – we are there to help you though them.”

As a mom to five kids (and one chunky French Bulldog), Melissa identifies closely with families seeking balance in saving for children’s college educations, planning for retirement and caring for loved ones.  Together, they live in Grand Rapids with her husband, Mark, a local business owner.

“When you start any journey, you need to map out how you will get from where you are now to where you want to be. Planning isn’t about crunching numbers – it’s about those moments when it all pays off. The more you can plan for life’s greatest moments, the more you can relax and enjoy them.”

Active in industry and community associations, she is a member of Women in Financial Services (WIFS), National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), MassMutual Women’s Pro-Growth Advisory Board, and American Marketing Association.

Local firms are sales offices of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), and are not subsidiaries of MassMutual or its affiliated companies. Securities and investment advisory services offered through registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC.

Cara Jones

Public Education Advocate, Connector/fundraiser

Born and raised in West Michigan, Cara Jones is a passionate and collaborative leader
with more than 15 years of fundraising experience.

Most recently Jones served as the Director of the Great Sports, Great Kids Program, a program of the Grand Rapids Public Schools Foundation (GRPSF), where she was responsible for raising more than $500,000 annually to support K-8 athletics for the
Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS). During her five and a half years with Great Sports, Great Kids, Jones championed the formation of the GR8 Girls Committee and the Battle of the Brackets Competition, thereby creating sustainable revenue streams
for the program.

In addition to her work with Great Sports, Great Kids, Jones has also served as Interim Executive Director of the GRPSF and volunteered as the track and field coach at Mulick Park Elementary. As a product of and an advocate for public education, Jones believes that it is imperative for West Michigan to create strong public schools for the future
the health of our children and our community.

Jones earned her MBA from Western Michigan University and her BSE from the
University of Michigan. In 2017, Jones was awarded the Young Nonprofit Professionals
Good to Great Award for her work at Great Sports, Great Kids. Jones is also a
graduate of the Leadership Grand Rapids 2008 Class.

Christy Buck

Christy Buck is an Executive Director for the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan.

Dr. Marguerite Atkin

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon specializing in Aesthetic Surgery

Dr. Marguerite Aitken was the first female partner at Plastic Surgery Associates and has been there since 2004. She brings her talents from the art world, completing two degrees in art from the University of Michigan and working as a medical illustrator in Chicago for 10 years.

She completed medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago and residency in the Grand Rapids/Michigan State University Plastic Surgery program.  Her warmth, compassion and dedication to the female spirit is a true asset.

The focus of her practice is cosmetic surgery, including facial aesthetics, body contouring and both
reconstructive and cosmetic procedures of the breast. She has been the recipient of awards for her
clinical research in the field of body contouring and has spoken internationally on the topics of facial aesthetic surgery and breast reconstruction. Her talents and her passion for this field have enabled her to both author and illustrate multiple textbooks and journals. Dr. Aitken is an eager and
celebrated teacher working closely with the medical students and residents in training as an
Assistant Clinical Professor at Michigan State University.

Despite the everyday balance of home life and work, Dr. Aitken takes the time to get to know her
patients and understand their goals.  Her experience and knowledge in combination with her artistic gifts guide her personalized care for each and every patient through all stages of life.

Latesha Lipscomb

WOTV Crew Member “Empowerment”, Engagement & Relationships Manager at Amplify GR

Latesha Lipscomb is a Grand Rapids native who has a passion for working hard to better the lives of the underprivileged in a city’s urban core. Currently, she is serving the community as the Engagement & Relationships Manager for Amplify GR. She is also WOTV 4 Women’s expert in “Empowerment”. Prior to these roles, Latesha served as a Community Engagement Project Manager facilitating the Heartside Quality of Life Study for the City of Grand Rapids Planning Department.

Her goals in this work are derived out of the desire to lift-up resident voice, build leadership capacity in the neighborhood and to empower the community to recognize that they are the change they have been waiting for.

In her work with such organizations such as the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and the Inner City Christian Federation, Latesha has become an advocate for those with quieter or muted voices in the city’s most vulnerable communities.  

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