New LMC Student Club Hosts Panel Discussion Featuring Area Women Business Leaders

Apr 04, 2018
Thursday, April 12 in the Blue Lecture Hall on LMC's Benton Harbor Campus

The Lake Michigan College Women in Business Club is hosting “Beyond All Limits,” a professional networking panel event featuring accomplished community women with diverse experiences.  

The event will be held from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 12 in the Blue Lecture Hall, D-116, at the Benton Harbor campus. The event is free and open to LMC students, staff and the public, however, donations are appreciated.

The panel discussion will include a question and answer session from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Refreshments will be provided from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. by the LMC Culinary Management program during the networking portion of the event.

Panelists include Margaret Adams, manager of the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance, Melanie Owen, co-owner of Lazy Ballerina Winery, Simone Silva, director of field operations at Whirlpool Corporation and LMC part-time faculty member, and Karol Behrle, branch manager at Honor Credit Union.

Margaret Adams leads one of only three women’s business centers in Michigan, where she and her team work with entrepreneurs to launch startup businesses and advance the growth of existing businesses. Adams joined Cornerstone Alliance in 1999 and has headed the Women’s Business Center since 2004. Adams earned her Small Business Counselor certification from the Academy of Small Business Consultants at Grand Valley State University. Her awards include the 2012 Small Business Administration’s Michigan Women Business Champion of the Year and the 2017 100 Women Strong Leader of Distinction award for her work with female entrepreneurs.

Melanie Owen developed and co-owns Lazy Ballerina Winery with cousin Lauren Kniebes. Lazy Ballerina is the only women-owned winery in southwest Michigan. The winery operates tasting rooms in St. Joseph and Bridgman, MI. Owen holds a certificate in hospitality management and an associate degree in general studies from Lake Michigan College. She earned her bachelor of business administration degree from Siena Heights University. Owen and Kniebes were exposed to winemaking by their grandmother, Juanita Kniebes, and the pair named two wines in her honor. Owen is active in numerous business and wine-related organizations, including Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, and the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, among others. In 2015, Owen and Lazy Ballerina were presented with the regional award in the Delta Sigma Theta Women-Owned Business Plan Competition, and in 2017, Owen received the LMC Alumni Achievement Award.

As Director of Field Service Operations for Whirlpool’s North America Region, Simone Silva is responsible for defining and executing strategy for its Authorized Service Network. Silva leads a team of approximately 180 people working with 3,000 independent service providers across the region. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from FEI in Brazil, a master of business administration degree in finance from FGV and the University of California, Irvine, and a Master of Science degree in technology leadership from Purdue University. Silva has over twenty-one years of experience in quality and service, including eleven years in the automotive industry and ten years at Whirlpool Corporation, where she has worked on international assignments with increasing responsibility in the U.S., Brazil, China, Germany and Mexico.

Karol Behrle served in numerous roles during her eight years in the banking industry, including teller, loan officer, assistant branch manager, and her current branch manager position. She graduated from Michigan Lutheran High School and earned her degree in travel and tourism from Southeastern Academy in Kissimmee, Florida. She spent 25 years as a travel agent and travelled the world extensively. She was also an independent consultant and team manager for Tastefully Simple for ten years. Karol has been involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lakeland Auxiliary Board, Junior Achievement, St. Joe Kickers Sport Club and the Executive Professional Women’s Association. Karol is currently the Vice President of the Buchanan Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Berrien Springs – Eau Claire Rotary Club.

The Lake Michigan College Women in Business Club was established in January, 2018 and is open to all students who are interested in business, regardless of their course of study. Those interested in the club or the business program at Lake Michigan College are encouraged to contact Department Chair Joe Zwiller at (269) 927-8100, extension 5003 or