Meet the final Connect HER panelists ahead of Week 4 event on ‘Collaboration’

Financial Services

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- We’re gearing up for WOTV 4 Women and MassMutual MidMichigan’s last Connect H.E.R. (helping. empower. relationships) event taking place Wednesday, September 30, at noon! Every week throughout the month, this free virtual lunch and learn series brings dozens of West Michigan women together to have conversations on relatable topics. 

Previous topics include The Balancing ActNavigating Change and Finding Opportunity

The last panel discussion of this series will focus on “Collaboration”. If you haven’t had the chance to participate in Connect H.E.R. just yet, then you’ll want to join in on the fun by signing up today!


Meet the upcoming panelists below!

Dawn Baker

Dawn Baker enjoys being able to manage three (3) Grand Rapids consumer shows (the Grand Rapids Intl. Wine, Beer & Food Festival, the Michigan International Auto Show, and the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show – Grand Rapids) as well as the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show – Detroit. Her background includes a journey with community organizations and non-profits, even some time in the desert.

All roads have led right back to Michigan, specifically, Grand Rapids where Dawn is now pursuing her passion in building relationships to help local businesses, the community she loves, and a state that is HOME!


Maranda is the WOTV 4 Women kids and family expert. She hosts a daily segment, “Where You Live” which features a combination of information, inspiration and insights for West Michigan parents. It’s taped around West Michigan and is about real family life.

“I love the new challenges everyday and connecting people with services they want and need,” said Maranda.

Maranda joined WOOD TV8, WOTV4 and WXSP-TV in January of 2001 as Children and Family Services Manager, but has served the community as an advocate for kids and families for more than 25 years. Maranda oversees the development of station projects on-air, online and in our community that target kids and families.

Besides finding Maranda on-air and online, she is on the radio too. She is the co-author of Maranda’s Guide to Family Fun in West Michigan, a book for parents and children. Maranda also offers weekly family fun updates on STAR 105.7 and Daybreak on WOOD TV8.

Maranda serves on several community advisory boards. These include the John Ball Zoological Society Board of Directors, Cornerstone University Board of Trustees, Wedgewood Christian Services Board of Directors, Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding Board of Directors, Careforce International Advisory Board and is the spokesperson for CampFire Boys and Girls Club Incredible Kid Day.

Maranda is the recipient of three Gracie Allen Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Women in Radio and Television West Michigan Chapter, an Emmy nomination, the Hope College Distinguished Alumni Award, a 2011 YWCA Tribute! Award, the 2014 Van Andel Institute Angel of Excellence Award, and 2019 Education Advocacy Award from Kent Intermediate Association of School Boards.

Judy Hoberman

Judy Hoberman is President of Judy Hoberman and Associates, a company focused on empowering professional women.  She is an international speaker, trainer, executive coach, author, radio show host and mentor. Her 30 years in business has given her both knowledge and a sense of humor about how men and women lead, sell, manage and recruit differently.  She will enlighten you and help you learn how both genders can support each other’s successes in a more productive way. Her experience in sales and leadership has helped her clients realize the importance of building relationships, standing out and being the authority in their market.

Her experience includes over 2 decades in life and health insurance beginning as an agent with no experience and progressing to leading 3 agencies across 3 states with over 100 agents.  She still holds her license and co-facilitates Medicare educational seminars.  Judy also works with companies supporting their diversity and women’s initiatives in the areas of leadership, recruiting, training, coaching, mentoring and retention. In her role as an executive coach and trainer, she is often described as “transformational.”  

She engages her audiences, from 10 to 10,000, with memorable stories and ideas that are easily implemented that same day. In 2016 she was a TEDx speaker talking about pre-judging people.  She is the author of two books, “Selling in a Skirt” and “Walking on the Glass Floor.” She offers a training program that concentrates on women in leadership and the men who champion them, with emphasis on redefining culture. 

Judy has completed certifications from Cornell University’s College of Business in Women in Leadership and Women in Entrepreneurship, adding that to her previous degree from Queens College, New York. She was named as a “Woman to Watch” for International Women’s Day 2019 from Thrive Global.  She was awarded the Character and Integrity Award for her distinct and significant contribution to sales producers’ success. Judy was a finalist for the “Women of Visionary Influence Mentor of the Year” and was named one of the “Top 10 Women of Influence in Dallas” for her involvement in the community and entrepreneurship.  She is Executive Director of the Walking on the Glass Floor Foundation.

Judy is the host of a weekly radio show on The C-Suite Network called “Selling in a Skirt” and has been “The Gender Expert” on Fox News Radio. She has appeared on CNN Headlines, ABC, CBS, CW33 and Good Morning Texas, contributes articles to multiple publications and journals, and appeared on the cover of Exceptional People Magazine

Judy’s mission…to help one woman a day by following an important philosophy- “Women Want To Be Treated Equally…Not Identically”™ 

Elizza LeJeune 

Elizza LeJeune is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Michigan. Elizza earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Central Michigan University and continued on to receive a Master’s degree in Social Work with a Certificate in Disaster Mental Health from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.

She currently works at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, as an outpatient therapist at their North West Clinic. Her areas of interest include working with adolescents and adults with depression, anxiety, spiritual concerns, family and women’s issues. Elizza’s focus is to assist clients in meeting their desired goals for their lives through individual, family and couple’s counseling.

Recently, she has begun the process to launch her LLC. Her goals for this work are to act as a wellness gardener nurturing women and families to bloom into their best selves. She plans to cultivate others through public speaking and the creation of various self-help tools. One way in which she gave back during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, was by creating an Instagram page dedicated to low-cost time-saving recipes for families. Elizza believes in furthering oneself through a holistic lens of care. She’s also an avid gardener.

Connie Thacker

Connie Thacker, a shareholder at Thacker Sleight, is a tenacious litigator and an accomplished mediator. Having gained much of her 25 years of legal experience at large firms, Connie, along with her law partner Allison Sleight, started her firm to provide better service and results, without the bureaucracy and cost inherent in large firms.

Connie is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Only 1,600 Attorneys across the entire country are members of this prestigious organization. To become a member, Ms. Thacker completed the intensive interview, anonymous peer review both by judges and other attorneys. She completed a four-hour exam, related entirely to family law. She has received formal training and certification from the AAML Matrimonial Arbitration Training Institute and is only one of few Attorneys in Western Michigan certified by the AALM as an arbitrator.

Ms. Thacker is the only Attorney in Western Michigan who is designated as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA). To obtain the designation, Ms. Thacker was required to complete a series of exams testing her understand and proficiency in complex financial, tax, and business valuation issues related to Divorce. The IDFA is the most established and recognized organization in the country associated with the financial aspects of the divorce process.

Connie was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyer in Grand Rapids for Family Law in 2011, 2015, and 2017.  She was named Collaborative Divorce Practice “Lawyer of the Year” in 2016 and named “The Best Lawyers in America” for family law, collaborative practice, and family law mediation in Grand Rapids.

What is Connect H.E.R?

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