Fostering a Culture of Encounter at Madonna University: Insights from Women Leaders

Attendees of the Lead, Learn, Love luncheon gather together for a photo. There are about 30 attendees.

LIVONIA, MICH. – The Fall Semester Lead, Learn, Love luncheon took place last week. The event provided a platform for women to discuss relevant issues, learn from professional women, and make connections. Guests included women students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. 

Moderated by Dr. Deborah Dunn, provost and interim dean of the College of Nursing and Health, the event featured table discussions over lunch, followed by a panel discussion about Madonna's mission theme, Reverencing the Other: Fostering a Culture of Encounter. 

The panelists from three other Felician Ministries, are all leaders in their respective fields; Jamie LaLonde, executive director at Angela Hospice Home Care; Carol Ann Fausone '95 nursing, brigadier general (ret.) and former Madonna University Trustee; and Karen Richter, president of St. Joseph Child Care Center. This diverse panel brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise, offering an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the importance of reverencing others and fostering a culture of encounter. 

LaLonde offered a powerful message. "There are no do-overs in life," she said. "The grass is greenest where you water it, and if I can water in my circle, then maybe those people can water in theirs, and at the end of the day, we can have a greater world."

"Build on employees' strengths," was the advice given by Fausone. She talked about helping people on your team find work that they like and they have the skills to succeed. 

Ritcher added a spiritual dimension to her comments. "We are to love God first and love our neighbors second. We, as people, come third. It is in our core values." 

Guests asked questions, shared ideas, and connected with other guests, fostering in-depth encounters, building unity, and revealing helpful strategies for stepping out of their comfort zone to encounter someone different from themselves. 

The discussions provided opportunities for growth and understanding, demonstrating the University's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.