Inforum, a statewide women’s networking nonprofit, has elected its first chairperson from the West Michigan region.
Patti Griswold, SVP of retail banking at Comerica Bank, took over the role of board chair in July. She will serve a one-year term.
Griswold has been involved with Detroit-based Inforum for nearly a decade, starting out with the organization in 2005 when it expanded its scope from southeast Michigan to also include West Michigan, becoming a statewide organization.
Before 2005, Inforum had operated exclusively in southeast Michigan, since its founding in 1962.
Griswold served on the regional council beginning in 2005 and held the role of chair from 2007-2009. She joined the statewide Inforum board in 2007 and has been a member of the executive committee for the past four years.
“I think it really underscores Inforum’s commitment as a statewide organization,” said Griswold of being elected chair.
Griswold said she will spend the upcoming year working to ensure Inforum follows through on its newly adopted three-year strategic plan and continues to provide value to its members and corporate investors.
She also wants to continue to expand the statewide perspective of the organization.
“One of my goals this year is to continue to move each board member forward in thinking about the organization as a whole and its impact throughout the state,” she said.
In the coming year, Griswold said Inforum will roll out its first program focused on female veterans.
“We are going to be launching a program next year designed for females transitioning from active duty and going into the private work sector,” she said. “It will be a leadership development program geared toward helping those women successfully transition from military assignment to the workplace.”
Griswold said the Next 4 Vets program is particularly important, because female veterans are the fastest-growing group within the veteran population.
Inforum is also conducting an extensive survey of its membership that will inform its decision making.
“This fall, we are going to be undertaking the most comprehensive survey we’ve done in the organization’s history,” she said. “It’s a member survey that is going to help us understand what our members’ needs are and help us discover new ways to deliver value and improve members’ experiences.”
The survey results will be released in January 2015.
In 2015, Inforum will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Inforum West Michigan.
Griswold said Inforum is planning a year-long celebration to commemorate the anniversary.
She noted that in the past decade, Inforum has provided valuable leadership programming to its members and robust networking experiences.
“Inforum is the only professional organization in Michigan that focuses on accelerating careers for women and boosting talent initiatives for companies,” she said.
“When we launched in Nov. 2005, we had 800 people attend the first event, nearly capacity. That underscored there was an unmet need out there for professional women to come together across industries, regardless of where they were in the stage of their career, and be able to form important connections and expand their network.”