“We’ve entered the era of lifelong learning,” Barbara told the graduates. “Fortunately, Marian has given you a good foundation for lifelong learning. You are thorough readers and critical thinkers. You’ve studied a broad array of subjects. But let me suggest three additional skills that are essential today, what I call the ACEs of lifelong learning,” she said.
Using her own life experiences as examples, Barbara stated that “Asking questions, considering criticism, and embracing learning for the joy of it: are all the skills of lifelong learners. They will help you earn more, be more interesting, maintain a healthy brain and body, be more resilient, and feel more fulfilled in your personal and professional life.”
In her introduction of the 2017 Distinguished Alumna, Sr. Lenore Pochelski, IHM, Head of School told the audience that Barbara was a strong student at Marian, involved in many activities. She was a member of the National Honor Society, the French Honor Society, and Model United Nations. She was also in Sodality and the Drama Club – and she began a lifelong path of volunteering – as a candy striper at St. Joseph Hospital in Pontiac.
After Marian, Barbara attended Albion College where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and political science. Later she earned a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan -- and a certificate of long-term care administration from Madonna University
“Throughout a diverse career in business, education, entrepreneurism, and non-profit management, Barbara has had one consistent goal – to support a positive quality of life for individuals and communities,” Sr. Lenore said.
As an urban planner for General Motors, Barbara played a major role in the siting and development of three $500 million industrial plants, saving more than 3,000 manufacturing jobs. She later worked as an educator with other adjunct faculty at Madonna University to train care manager professionals who support older adults who want to continue living at home.
“Barbara has developed and delivered education programs, training, conferences, and handbooks to enable family members and professionals to serve older individuals,” Sr. Lenore continued, “and she also worked as a nonprofit executive in the aging services and public health fields, working at local, regional, state and national levels to advocate on behalf of the Area Agency on Aging 1-B and the Michigan chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.”
Barbara is currently retired from her paid career. However, she maintains her interest in leadership, advocacy, education, and learning as a volunteer. She has shared or still shares her time and talents with diverse groups such as SOAR, a life-long learning program affiliated with Wayne State University; Northville Meals on Wheels; AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons Michigan Chapter; the American Society on Aging, and Food Gatherers.
Currently concluding nine years of volunteerism at Marian, Barbara has been a member of the Board of Directors where she worked with the PR/Marketing Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee. She has chaired both the Advancement and the Funds Development Committees. In these roles, she has raised funds for the Marian Commons project, reenergized the discussion on endowment, and completed a new alumnae engagement plan.
“Barbara’s leadership, her positive attitude, and her diplomacy skills have enabled her to successfully promote projects that will help Marian achieve its mission and secure its future as a strong and vibrant educational institution,” Sr. Lenore said.