Weighty Decisions


Meet the panel of judges behind the Inspiration and Influence Awards

By Christopher Nagy

The best and brightest will be celebrated Oct. 16 at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West as the second annual Inspiration and Influence Awards take place to honor four female leaders from the mid-Michigan area.

Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Aitch Foundation created the event to shine a light on local women in the area who are consistently impacting and influencing change in the community. Awards will be presented throughout the evening to women who have made strides and breakthroughs in the areas of community impact, women’s advancement and medical research in the region. In addition, the mid-Michigan Woman of the Year will be announced.

With a deep and wide pool of candidates nominated this year, narrowing the selection of this year’s award winners was not an easy or enviable task. Here’s a look at this year’s panel of judges who pored over the submissions to determine the 2019 winners.


Jill Green

Jill Green joined Martin Commercial Properties as a real estate manager in 2016. Prior to her role at Martin, Green managed over 40 commercial office buildings as well as several condominium associations as a lead property manager with TMN Commercial. Now with over nine years of commercial property management experience, she handles a portfolio of over 570,000 square feet of commercial retail and office space for Martin. The role includes overseeing leasing, management, maintenance, vendor services, and financial forecasting and analysis. She handles client and tenant relations as well as tenant improvement and capital improvement projects.

Green began her career in the advertising industry, working at D. Green Advertising as director of client services. Now that she and her husband are recent empty-nesters, Green is excited to take on a new volunteer role of treasurer for the University of Michigan Cheerleading Alumni board.


Whitney Anderson-Harrell

Whitney Anderson-Harrell serves as the chief community development officer at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. Anderson-Harrell began at MSUFCU in 2015, previously working for Kraft Foods for 13 years. She currently oversees the credit union’s community development and financial education departments as well as the Financial Innovation and Education Center.

Anderson-Harrell is extremely active in the Greater Lansing and Michigan State University communities. She currently serves on the Lansing Food Bank Committee, the CIS Advisory Council, Lansing Student Accounts Valuing Education board, Capital Area United Way board, Lansing Promise board and as board secretary for the MSU Multicultural Business Program.

Anderson-Harrell holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration marketing from MSU; a Master of Business Administration from Wake Forest University; and has had foreign business studies in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico.


Deborah Toby

Deborah Toby is the senior vice president of the human resources and administrative services division at Cinnaire, a Lansing-based full-service financial partner that supports community and economic development initiatives through creative loans, investments and best-in-class services. The company matches exceptional community investment opportunities with community-focused investors.

Toby worked for more than 10 years with a global career management and organizational consulting firm as an organizational development consultant. Just prior to joining Cinnaire in 2005, she served as a member of its sales and marketing team. 

Toby earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, and she has completed graduate coursework at Central Michigan University and Michigan State University.


Laurie Nash

Another Look Hair Institute opened in the 1960s, led by Laurie Nash’s grandfather and followed by her father. When Nash continued the family tradition in 1991, she noticed that the industry had transformed, and women were much more in need of hair growth and thinning options.

Nash developed Image Day Spa, a relaxation healing spa that offers hair systems, hair stimulation growth treatments, massage, reflexology, reiki, facials, and skin and hair care. Due to the continuous growth of Another Look Hair Institute, a second location was opened within the Sparrow Hospital Herbert Herman Cancer Center. The prosthetic boutique at the Herbert Herman Cancer Center has been greatly beneficial for men, women and children going through chemotherapy by providing cranial prosthetics, turbines, hats and decorative accents. The boutique helps people through their cancer journey from diagnosis to recovery.


Andrew Raines

Andrew Raines is the retail vice president and district manager for Comerica Bank. He oversees banking centers in the Jackson and Lansing markets. Raines is entering his 12th year with Comerica Bank.

Outside of work, he is the father of two college-age children, both attending Grand Valley State University, and a seventh grader. Raines has been married to wife Shelby for 22 years, and together they have raised their family in Parma.

After having attended the Inspiration and Influence Awards in 2018, Raines was convinced that he wanted to be more involved in this year’s event. He and his colleagues at Comerica Bank celebrate excellence and share the enthusiasm in highlighting female leadership in mid-Michigan. Raines said being a small part of the celebration is an honor, and his company looks forward to acknowledging the inspiration and influence that the nominees bring to the community.


Rachel Michaud

Rachel Michaud is vice president of Gillespie Group. An asset to the industry for more than 20 years, she joined the team at Gillespie Group in 1998. She brings with her vast experience in real estate, marketing, sales and management. Her responsibilities include oversight of all day-to-day business operations of Gillespie Group, all leases, overall asset management and equity services. Since the inception of her career at Gillespie Group, she has aided company growth of a staggering 750%, with a portfolio growth from 214 units to more than 1,500 and more than 400,000 square feet of commercial property in 15 years.

After attending Western Michigan University, Michaud pursued an interest in real estate in East Lansing and has remained an active participant in the community. Michaud taught the nonprofit youth organization Junior Achievement for five years and continues to support the program. Additionally, she has worked with multiple groups of community organizations and nonprofits.


Scott Norman

Scott Norman is vice president of business development for Physicians Health Plan, a division of Sparrow Health System. Physicians Health Plan provides insurance for thousands of employers and members across mid-Michigan. Norman is responsible for strategic planning, sales, marketing, and product and market development. He is helping expand Physicians Health Plan into the Medicare market with the introduction of Sparrow Advantage, a new Medicare Advantage product that will be introduced in 2020.

Norman has over 20 years’ experience in health care insurance as a health plan executive and agent. His most recent experience includes leading the operations and sales for a 4.5-star Medicare Advantage plan with over $1.2 billion in annual revenue and serves over 140,000 members across Michigan. In addition, Norman led the commercial sales team and agent distribution strategy for a health plan with over 7,000 employer clients and 400,000 enrolled members.  


Carrie Talbott

Carrie Talbott was born and raised in Lansing. After graduating from Sexton High School, she was accepted into the apprenticeship program of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 665 in 2001. In 2006, Talbott became a licensed journeyman electrician. She has been a foreman and job-site steward on many projects including the General Motors Grand River Assembly plant, the General Motors Delta Township plant and the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s powerhouse in Lansing’s REO Town, to name a few.

Talbott served as IBEW Local 665’s political outreach director during the 2018 election cycle and currently sits on her local’s apprenticeship interview subcommittee.

Talbott is married to her husband of 14 years, and together they have three children. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and going to her children’s football, baseball and soccer games.


Kevin Kaplan

Kevin Kaplan has over 20 years of insurance experience. The Kevin Kaplan Agency strives to inform and protect clients from unforeseen life happenings. He is an involved member of the Lansing community, events and other important issues. Kaplan cares about children, schools and ongoing issues people are challenged with on a daily basis. He establishes a lifelong relationship with clients and their families, and he helps save them money by protecting their assets, planning their future and building a wall of security. Kaplan has been married to Debra for 17 years and has a daughter, 12, and son, 10. He also has two dogs, Lucky and Gabby.

Previously he was vice president of sales and account management for Physicians Health Plan, a division of Sparrow Health System. Physicians Health Plan is an award-winning health plan that provides insurance for hundreds of employers across mid-Michigan. In that role, Kaplan was responsible for strategic planning, sales, marketing, and product and market development.


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