Michigan Women Forward Honors Meg Goebel and India Manns

By Allison Arnold | Photography by Two Eagles Marcus

A motivational celebration of women and achievement will take place at Woman Up & Celebrate, held on April 18. Hosted by Michigan Women Forward (MWF), the luncheon is MWF’s largest fundraiser of the year and will honor two instrumental women in the community, Meg Goebel and India Manns, with the Women of Achievement and Courage Awards. According to Judy Welch, Executive Director of MWF, the organization has honored more than 140 women across the state.

There is no question when it comes to the two honorees and their commitment to making positive change. The words “achievement” and “courage” epitomize their attitude and life’s work.

Meg Goebel has exemplified strong leadership skills as president of the Paul Goebel Group since 1994 when she bought the insurance agency, which was built by her father in the 1930s. She is involved with a number of boards and organizations, including Planned Parenthood and Broadway Grand Rapids. 

Find something that rocks your world, that makes you passionate.”

—Meg Goebel

“Meg Goebel has been a long time supporter of the Michigan Women’s Foundation and also Power of 100 Women”” Welch said. “Meg has done so much for the community.”

India Manns has been an active member of the Grand Rapids community since she moved here in 2013. She currently serves on 19 boards and committees statewide.

“We love that she is all about being an advocate for diversity and inclusion,” Welch expressed. “When she came here that was her mission and passion.”

We spoke with both honorees to learn what drives them  in their profound efforts to better our community.

“Equality and fairness are important to me. Everything that I do…it’s always about equity and fairness because it should be a level playing field and everybody should be given a shot.

— India Manns

Q&A

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine: Why is MWF important to you?

Meg Goebel: Well, one of the major things that makes it important is it’s the only foundation in Michigan where the funding goes only to women and girls. I think that in our day and time that’s kind of a nice thing because they’re the only one out there in Michigan that does specifically that.

India Manns: The first year I went they were trying to raise money to get all of those rape kits processed. I was so moved just by that and years later you hear about the success.

WLM: What advice would you give to young women?

MG: Find something that rocks your world, that makes you passionate.

IM: I would definitely tell them to follow their heart, to be brave. A lot of times we try to go for the safe road and not necessarily the easy road, but the safe road. 

WLM: What are you most passionate about?

MG: I’ve had a long term relationship with Planned Parenthood. I’ve always been a big advocate of reproductive freedom…I’m passionate about art, I’ve collected art since the mid-80s…and education.

IM: Equality and fairness are important to me. Everything that I do…it’s always about equity and fairness because it should be a level playing field and everybody should be given a shot.

WLM: Are there any women who give you inspiration?

MG: All the time. Not just national figures…Cecile Richards was somebody who I looked up to as the CEO of Planned Parenthood. I thought what a brave thing for anyone to do, but locally we have some amazing women.

IM: [Christina Arnold, founding director of The Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion], is quite the inspiration…I admire people who tend to forge on in very difficult situations and the fact that she’s born and raised here — we know what the climate is like now, and I can only image 15, 20, 30 years ago or so and what the challenges would have been. [I admire] all that she’s done and achieved and how she constantly pushes forward regardless of the obstacles. 

WLM: What is your favorite book?

MG: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

IM: It’s called Who Moved My Cheese.

Visit miwf.org/events1/womanupandcelebrate for ticket information for Woman Up & Celebrate.

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