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Professional Fellowship and Support: A Q&A with Sara Frank-Hepfer of The Lansing Women’s Forum

What is the Lansing Women’s Forum?
The Lansing Women’s Forum is a monthly meeting where women gather to support each other in business. There are no dues or protected categories. There are no attendance requirements either.

When did it begin and what is its mission/purpose?
I believe the group started downtown more than 20 years ago. Tracey Maroney was working at the Capitol and wanted to gather other professional women for fellowship. Tracey had already stepped back from the group when I started attending.

How and why did you get involved with the group?
I got involved with the group 17 years ago, when it met at the Lansing Country Club. It has been moving around ever since. Since we don’t want cost to be a barrier, we look for facilities that will host us without incurring a room fee.

How has the group evolved from when it first began?
For several years, leadership was passed from one person to another. Probably four or five years ago, I wanted to share the workload and give other women the opportunity to lead, so we moved to a steering committee format. Now I get help from Kim Barber (of Globetrotter Travel in Grand Ledge), Justine Bell (of BeneGuides in Okemos), Bilky Joda-Miller (founder of All Body Kneads in Lansing) and, occasionally, other volunteers.

What do attendees get from the forum?
Women attending get to meet other professional women in the area. They are given the opportunity to talk about their business and upcoming events. They are also offered the opportunity to practice public speaking in a very supportive environment.

How can people get involved?
People can request to join the Lansing Women’s Forum group page on Facebook. There, they can find our next lunch event. Those are regularly scheduled for the third Wednesday of the month at noon. The best way to verify location is to check the Facebook event.

Sara Frank-Hepfer serves as a member of the steering committee for the monthly Lansing Women’s Forum. She also is vice president and shareholder of Financial Technology in East Lansing.