The Troy Chamber Fall event Top of Troy: Women of Influence returns September 26th.
Meet the Panel:
Lara Dixon, Ed.D.
Principal, Troy Athens High School
Dr. Lara Dixon is Principal of Troy Athens High School and has been an adjunct instructor for Saginaw Valley State University and a guest lecturer for the University of Michigan. Her bachelor’s degrees are from Bowling Green State University. Lara has a master’s in Administration and Educational Leadership and an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Toledo. Her doctoral degree is from Eastern Michigan University, and her dissertation was: A Comparison of Priorities and Effectiveness of Female and Male Superintendents in K-12 Public School Districts. Lara is a Gerstacker Fellow and has studied how government, industry, and educational leaders in Poland, Finland, and the United States have worked together to advance their communities’ educational achievement and economic prospects. Having a range of diverse K-12 and collegiate experiences (which include inner city to suburban to rural, impoverished to affluent, small-sized schools to large institutions, and homogeneous populations to diverse communities), Lara has found joy in helping students and staff come together and grow.
Lara is proud to be a part of the Troy School District and Oakland County, where there are high expectations and a steadfast dedication to helping all students think critically and creatively, communicate clearly, work collaboratively, and have a positive impact on the world. Recent highlights while at Athens include receiving: Bridge Magazine’s 2019 Michigan Academic State Champ award; Great Schools 2019 College Success Award; Newsweek’s 2019 Top High School award; the 2017 Governor’s Educational Service Leadership Award; Niche’s 2017 Best Schools award; the Center for Michigan’s 2017 Academic State Champion award; the Mackinac Center 2016 Outstanding Achievement award; Washington Post’s 6th Most Challenging High School in Michigan award; Michigan Department of Education’s High Performing Reward School recognition; a Troy Kiwanis, Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence, and Troy Community Outdoor Classroom grant; a Youth Service America Innovative School grants; and a Makerspace grant. Lara has been an invited presenter for the Michigan Department of Education, Oakland County Innovative Practices conferences, Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators, and the Macomb Intermediate School District.
Lara comes from a family of educators and is married to Dr. Greg Dixon, Director of Secondary Education for L’anse Creuse Public Schools. Together they have five children: Carl, Charlton, Elizabeth, Grason, and Alison. Carl earned his undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Michigan and is a teacher in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Charlton, a graduate of Michigan State University, is finishing his MBA at Wayne State University. Elizabeth, a graduate of the University of Michigan, is pursuing a doctoral degree. Grason is in his third year at Eastern Michigan University for business and marketing. Alison is starting third grade.
Lenora Hardy-Foster, M.B.A.
President/CEO, Judson Center
Lenora Hardy-Foster, M.B.A., is the President/CEO of Judson Center a non-profit organization that was founded in 1924. Judson Center provides foster care/adoption, behavioral and primary health care, autism and disabilities services that impact the lives of nearly 10,000 children and families each year, with locations in five counties throughout the state of Michigan. Lenora is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of Judson Center and its three wholly-owned subsidiaries by creating new partnerships, working diligently with the Board of Trustees and Executive Leadership Team and building upon the 95 year legacy of improving lives, all while creating a strong, productive community throughout Southeastern Michigan. Prior to joining Judson Center, she was previously employed by Southwest Solutions as the Executive Director/CFO for 36 years. Lenora earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy and has extensive experience in clinical program development, financial management, strategic planning, low and historic tax credits, asset management, managed care capitation and case rate funding, third-party reimbursements, union contract negotiations, electronic health record systems implementation, corporate compliance and risk management, human resources administration and property management.
Lenora’s commitment to the community at a local level and beyond continues through a variety of leadership roles that include serving on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families, Chair of the Finance Committee of the Hannan Center, Board Member of MARO for the Disabled, and Past-President of Financial Executives International Detroit-Chapter. In addition, she serves on the Advisory Boards of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, University of Detroit Mercy College of Business Administration and Lawrence Technological University College of Management. Lenora has received numerous accolades some of which includes being recognized as Crain’s “2008 CFO of the Year” in the nonprofit category, The International Association of Jesuit Business Schools Global award for leadership and community service, 2018 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence and is a 2018 graduate of the “Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management” from Harvard University. She also received the 2018 Business Leadership Award “Lifetime Achievement” from the University of Detroit Mercy College of Business Administration. Lenora is a graduate of Leadership Detroit XXIII, a program of the Detroit Regional Chamber.
Angelique Strong Marks
Director, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Compliance Officer for MAHLE Industries Inc
Angelique Strong Marks serves as Director, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Compliance Officer for MAHLE Industries Inc. a $4 billion dollar Tier One Automotive Supplier with more than 30 locations and over 15,000 employees throughout North America. Ms. Strong Marks has also held several senior legal roles in Fortune 500 and private multi-national companies including serving as the first African-American General Counsel of a publicly-traded company in her position at Handleman Company.
In 2015, the American Corporate Counsel Association featured her in its Docket magazine as an Influential Female General Counsel. In 2016, she also completed the Mt. Kilimanjaro Triathlon, climbing to the highest peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Uhuru Peak), completing a 25 km bike ride and running a marathon. In November 2016, Western Michigan University College of Law honored Ms. Strong Marks with its prestigious Integrity Award. In December 2017, Crain Detroit’s Business named Ms. Strong Marks as one of Michigan’s Notable Women Lawyers. Most recently, in 2014 and 2018, Savoy magazine honored Ms. Strong Marks as one of the country’s most influential 100 Black lawyers.
She is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Law, and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Akron and her Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and Management from Miami University. She is the loving mother of Amari Ajene and Jalia Iman.
Group VP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Plex Systems
Cheryl Yuran is group vice president of human resources and brings extensive experience developing talent and guiding people throughchange. Cheryl joined Plex from her position as executive vice president of human resources at Dialog Direct, a marketing and customer engagement solution provider, where she led the human resources function and strategy. Cheryl also led the HR function for a division of Cigna Healthcare and held operational and HR roles in the retail and restaurant industries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University with majors in employee relations and psychology.