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Week of February 21, 2011

Women of Color Task Force conference set for March 4

Rather than sacrifice their own well-being, women sometimes must put themselves first as they find a balance for work, family and life, presenters for the Women of Color Task Force’s annual conference say.

The conference is from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 4 at the Michigan League, Rackham Auditorium and the Modern Languages Building. It is open to U-M staff, faculty and students, as well as the public.

The keynote speaker is state Rep. Shanelle Jackson, D-Detroit, who co-founded the Youth Empowerment Coalition, an organization that works with young girls.

This year’s theme is “YOU First: Balancing Work, Family & Life,” and attendees can chose from more than 30 workshops involving personal and professional development. Some workshop presenters say health, career or financial problems can occur when women do not take an active role in doing what’s best for them.

For example, taking preventive measures now to live a healthier lifestyle (eating the proper amount of nutritious foods and exercising regularly) can reduce the risks of medical problems later in life, says presenter Pete Thomas, a former contestant on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” who lost more than 180 pounds in nine months.

Thomas will teach participants about the basics of weight loss and weight maintenance in his workshop “Lose it fast, Lose it forever.”

“You can be more productive by exercising, thus you’re able to spend more years with your family and have a higher quality of life,” says Thomas, who offers motivation and tips on his website,

But whether it’s education, relationships or fitness, people often fail in these endeavors because they do not commit fully to them. “If you want that balance, you have to commit to a certain amount of time and stay dedicated to it,” he says.

Finances is another area that women should put themselves first. Barbara Tucker, a financial planner at Insight Financial Group in Ann Arbor, says that women naturally are generous, and often do not put themselves first regarding money, even to the detriment of their own financial security.

 “Women should know what their plan is for needs such as budgeting and retirement, so they are not hurting themselves while helping others,” says Tucker, who has been a WCTF presenter since 2001.

“They should make it a goal to understand and manage their own finances before a time of stress, such as a divorce, a death or disability.”

For additional information about the annual conference, contact Janice Reuben, WCTF program coordinator, at

The deadline for early registration for all attendees is today (Feb. 21), and the cost — which includes lunch — is $80. After that date, the cost is $100.

For more information go to



Amanda Krugliak, arts curator, Institute for the Humanities, on returning to Ann Arbor: “I love where I’ve landed. Perhaps I don’t know what’s coming next, and I never expected to find myself back here, but I have a sense of what matters.”


The School of Art & Design Emeritus Faculty Exhibition is presented from noon-7 p.m. through Feb. 25 at Work • Ann Arbor, 306 S. State St.

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