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Women

in business
2016

Unique women

discovering success!

Associate Broker, Joni Holly, and Sales Associate, Jessica Holly, are business partners and best friends who also happen to be mother and daughter. After a decade of
building a successful career and professional reputation in Cadillac and Lake City as
an Associate Real Estate Broker, Joni was over the moon to mentor daughter, Jessica, in
the business! Jessica spent the previous decade working in the mortgage industry but
always had a passion for real estate and finally took the plunge to marry her passion
with her profession. A partner industry to real estate, the mortgage industry requires
exceptional customer service skills, a thorough understanding of regulatory issues and a
solution oriented approach to business and Jessica excels at every one of these areas.
Joni focuses on properties in Wexford County with a focus on Lakes Cadillac and
Mitchell and the surrounding communities while Jessica directs her efforts toward
Missaukee County including Sapphire Lake and Lake Missaukee and recreational
properties in that neck of the woods. They each do a tremendous
job servicing their individual clients but it’s their support
of each other’s businesses that really sets them
each apart. Jessica grew up with technology
and loves working online to promote
her and Joni’s listings. Joni’s
experience within real estate
and the business community
are invaluable resources
for Jessica to tap into
for the benefit of her
clients. Whether you
list or buy through
Joni or Jessica, you’ll
be getting a strong
business woman
dedicated to their
clients’ needs and the
bonus of a tremendous
supporting cast
member along the way.

Joni & Jessica Holly, Realtors
231-878-9780 or 231-878-8386

Our websites are www.homewaters.net/jonholly
& www.homewaters.net/jessicaholly

Women in business

July & August 2016

03

Recognizing

Women
the contributions of

working in our community.

This Women In Business feature
was made possible by the Cadillac
Area Chamber of Commerce; in an
attempt to provide members with
an opportunity to celebrate the
efforts of women in business in the
Greater Cadillac Area. This special
publication features 10 local business
women, focusing on their professional
achievements, dedication to building
community and overall personal
contributions to the organizations they
own or work on behalf of.

Unique women
discovering success!

Profiling those who made it happen!

04

July & August 2016

Women in business

Women
in business
2016

Joni
& Jessica Holly • Home Waters Recreational Real Estate
.................................................................2
Alli
Halladay • Wexford Habitat for Humanity
................................................................. 5

Terra
Eising • Fox Motors of Cadillac
................................................................. 6
Michelle
Dunaway • 9&10 News & Fox 32 News
................................................................. 7

Mardi
Suhs • Cadillac News & Hermann’s European Café
................................................................. 8

Jennifer
Brown • Cadillac Area Public Schools
.................................................................
9
Kathryn Bandfield-Keough, MSN, RN, ME-BC
• Munson Healthcare Cadillac
............................................................... 10

Katie
Frier • Cadilllac Title
................................................................ 11
Kari
Hankins • Piranha Hose Products, Inc.
............................................................... 12

Ashley
Osowski • Cadillac Tuxedo LLC
............................................................... 13

Shannen
Smith • Chemical Bank in McBain
...............................................................
14

Steffany
Straight, M.D. • Riemer Eye Center
...............................................................
16

Women in business

Alli Halladay

July & August 2016

05

Wexford Habitat for Humanity
Office Manager

Alli is balancing a college education with a rewarding job.
She’s working toward a bachelor’s degree in business
administration from Baker College in Cadillac and is expected
to graduate in summer 2017. Alli is a 2013 graduate of Cadillac
High School.
Also, she’s been the office manager for Wexford Habitat for
Humanity since November 2015. Alli is one of two in the office
who are responsible for organization’s everyday functions,
which means they complete a large variety of tasks daily.
“It is a unique juggling act each day, which keeps the job
interesting,” she says.
She’d been looking for a career change when the
opportunity to work for the nonprofit organization
arose.
“It perfectly aligned with the passion that I have to give
back to my community,” she says. “I was intrigued by the
ability to have a career that allowed me to work in a job
that had such a meaningful purpose.”
Alli’s goals are to obtain her bachelor’s degree, to
continue to serve others in a non-profit setting and to
increase the presence of Wexford Habitat for Humanity
in the community.
When she’s not working or attending classes, Alli
enjoys spending time with her family and spending
time outdoors, particularly during the warm weather.
Advice to young women: “As a young woman
myself, I would say be open minded and take chances.
You never know what opportunities are going to arise
and if you are too focused on a certain career path,
you may miss opportunities around you.”

Everyone BENEFITS and WINS from shopping and
donating to the Wexford Habitat for Humanity ReStore!
• 34 homes completed since 1987.
• Currently working on home 35.
• Habitat homeowners pay home mortgages, pay property
taxes and are productive citizens in our community.

231-775-7561

231-775-8661

Helping to eliminate poverty housing & homelessness
by constructing & building adequate basic housing.

7545 E. 34 Rd., Cadillac
www.WexfordHabitat.org

06

July & August 2016

Tierra Eising
Women in business

Fox Motors oF CadillaC
Warranty administrator

Tierra didn’t let nerves and fear keep her from taking a big step.
She initially was hired two years ago as a receptionist for Fox
Motors of Cadillac. The warranty administrator position opened at
the dealership nearly a year later. A few of her co-workers encouraged
her to apply.
At first, she was nervous about making the move. But she was glad
she did, because she accepted the position once it was offered to her.
The important lesson she’s learned since is slowing down and
paying attention to detail, she says.
Tierra’s philosophy for a happy life is to find the positive in
every situation.
“Make sure to always learn to love and appreciate yourself
first,” she adds. “Don’t let fear hold you back and always have
a little humor in life.”
Tierra’s professional goal is to first develop a smoothrunning and successful warranty claim processing department
before someday overseeing her own department. Personally,
her short-term goals are to work hard every day and being
the best person she possibly can be. Someday, she wants to
start a family and build a home on “a big chunk of property.”
Tierra spends most of her downtime with her boyfriend,
Ronnie. They spend a lot of time with family. Depending
on the season, they either are on their pontoon fishing and
sunning themselves or hunting with her brothers in the
woods. She also enjoys spending time with her friends.
Advice to young women: “Don’t be scared to take
chances; have confidence in yourself. Work hard to
understand your field of work, so if every asked a
question, you know the answer that comes your way.
Never be late for work, own up to your mistakes and
during the midst of your career, always remember to sit
back and enjoy the ride.”

Women in business

Michelle Dunaway
9&10 News aNd Fox 32 News
anchor

Sometimes you have to take a step away from your career in
order to realize that it’s what you’re supposed to be doing all
along.
Michelle learned that after she left 9&10 News for four months
several years ago. She was tired and burned out, thinking she
needed a “real job.”
But she returned, and in October she’ll mark 16 years at the
news station. She says she’s enjoying her work.
Michelle describes herself as passionate about her work as
well as her life.
“I like to help people and, at this point, I think I’ve become
a good teacher,” she says. “For many of my co-workers,
this is their first broadcasting job.”
What sets her employer apart from other news
stations is that it’s not owned by a large company, she
says. Owner Mario Iacobelli treats his employees like
family, giving them the resources necessary to put
together a quality product, she adds.
Michelle’s philosophy is: “Give thanks, try not to
sweat the small stuff and prioritize.”
Her goals include getting out of the office and
reporting more.
“Personally, I would like to be the best wife and
mother I can be – and also improve my fitness,”
Michelle adds.
In her spare time, Michelle enjoys working out,
cooking, shopping, traveling and riding horses.
Advice to young women: “Job shadow, intern, call
people doing what you want to do. Learn from them and
get a feel for the business. Understand what you’re getting
into. It may not be what you expect.”

July & August 2016

07

08

Women in business

Mardi Suhs

July & August 2016

Staff Writer, CadillaC NeWS
Co-Owner, HermaNN’S eurOpeaN Café
You may this know this Cadillac native from the scores of
heartwarming and inspirational articles she’s written for the Cadillac
News during the last 12 years.
You also may know Mardi as one half of the duo that has owned and
run one of Cadillac’s best-known restaurants for more than 30 years.
Through it all, Mardi’s goal has been to count her blessings and be
thankful.
Mardi got her start in journalism during a summer break from Western
Michigan University. She’d gotten a job at small, weekly paper and fell
in love with newspaper reporting.
Hermann Suhs was a corporate executive chef when they wed.
He wanted to open to his own restaurant and asked Mardi to
help him.
For the first 18 years, she worked at the family business
while raising their two children. Today, Hermann helms the
daily operations, while Mardi is behind the scenes. Writing
remains her first love.
Although she’s of retirement age, Mardi loves the
purpose and challenge of work. Her personal goals
have shifted over the years. She once wanted to have
her poetry or book published, but now she wants to
see her children flourish and be blessed in life.
When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time
with her puppy, gardening, walking with girlfriends,
traveling, maintaining relationships with Austrian friends,
reading, writing, hosting small dinner parties, lunching by the
lake and boating.
Advice to young women: “When you are young, it is hard
to envision just how long you have, most likely, to develop your
career and to grow and change. Set your goals and work hard.
Always go the extra mile. Don’t stay in a job you hate and have the
courage to do what you want.”

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Women in business

Jennifer Brown

July & August 2016

09

CadillaC area PubliC SChoolS
Superintendent

Jennifer has enjoyed a lifelong love of learning.
Her parents were both educators, and she was inspired by their
commitment to kids and their belief in each student’s potential.
Today, Jennifer shares that love of learning daily with the
youngest members of the Cadillac community. She has been
an educator for 18 years for Cadillac Area Public Schools and
became its superintendent in May 2015.
Her professional goal is to lead CAPS to become the best
K-12 district in Michigan. What’s special about K-12
education is the ability to inspire kids, she says.
“We go to work every day to meet high-energy,
eager children and prepare them to change the world.
It doesn’t get better than that,” Jennifer adds.
Her philosophy for a happy life is to continue to
grow and be the best person she can be.
“I find happiness in family and being a part
of a team that makes a difference in the lives of
children,” she says. “A successful school system
hinges on people. We have a team of educators that
work tirelessly to take care of the academic, social,
emotional and physical needs of kids.”
When she’s not working, Jennifer enjoys
spending time with family and friends, traveling
and camping.
Advice to young women: “You can do it all. Do
not let others define your happiness. It is easy to find
people who believe your focus, energy and passion
should be defined in tradition. You cannot be
everything to all people, so balancing what matters
most is very important.”

Cadillac Area Public Schools

Educate. Collaborate. Innovate.
CAPS Digital Newsletter is a great way to stay informed about 21st Century Education.
Sign up for the Digital Newsletter at http://news.vikingnet.org/subscribe/.

10

Women in business

Kathryn Bandfield-Keough,
MSN, RN, NE-BE

July & August 2016

MuNSoN HEaltHcaRE cadillac
Vice President of Patient care Services

Kathryn has been at her current post for the last five months.
As for how she got to where she is today, her answer is succinct:
“Dreaming followed by hard work, sacrifice and luck.”
The most important lesson she’s learned in her career is that
nurses are good at fixing what’s wrong.
“Some days we need to recognize what works well so we can
replicate it and celebrate it,” Kathryn adds.
Her professional philosophy is to focus on quality and
safety, to celebrate success and to enjoy her work and have
fun at it. Personally, “I don’t expect people or possessions
to make me happy,” Kathryn says. “I try to find joy in
something each day and be grateful.”
Kathryn’s professional goals are to become the best
Vice President of Patient Care Services that she can and
one day to maybe earn a doctorate degree and to teach.
She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Northern
Michigan University and a master’s degree in nursing
administration from Madonna University.
Her personal goal is to learn to play the claw
hammer banjo. Kathryn loves old-time fiddle
music, as well as Irish music. She also can play the
bodhran, a traditional Irish drum.
In addition to music, Kathryn’s interests include
spending time with her family, entertaining, cooking,
knitting, biking and hiking.
Advice to young women: “Find a mentor, read
professional journals, reflect to build on your strengths,
protect your health and keep your friends and family close.”

Where Healing Happens Every Day

MUNSON HEALTHCARE
Cadillac Hospital

munsonhealthcare.org/cadillachospital

Women in business

Katie Frier

July & August 2016

11

CadillaC TiTle
Title and escrow agent

Katie Frier sought a new challenge when she moved back to
Cadillac.
She found one when she was hired at Cadillac Title a little more
than two years ago. Her previous work in corporate real estate
helped make the transition seamless.
Title insurance is a highly regulated industry, she says.
“There is an extreme amount of research as part of every
transaction,” Katie says. “It is a critical part of real estate that many
buyers and sellers know very little about.”
The most important lesson she has learned on the job is to keep learning.
“In an ever-evolving industry, my goal is to stay current
on my education and training so that I am able to
continue helping people to achieve their dream of
home ownership,” Katie says.
When she’s not working, she’s busy with her
family, whom she describes as her inspiration.
“They challenge me on a daily basis and
remind me that patience and simplicity are an
important part of our lives,” she adds.
Between sporting events, band concerts,
house and yard work, Katie enjoys
relaxing, an occasional round of golf and
walking the White Pine Trail.
Advice to young women: “Be engaged at
work. Take advantage of the interactions
you will have with employees of all
levels. Someone just starting their career
is likely to change jobs multiple times
over the years. Take something with you
each time and bring something new to
your next employer.”

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LLC

CADILLAC
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dedicated to continuously meeting and exceeding our clients’ expectations in a
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As a full service Title Company we offer:
• Title Insurance • Title Searches • Convenient Closing Times and Locations
• Fast Turn-Around • On-Site Attorneys • Assistance with Clearing Title
• Convenient Delivery of Closing Documents

231-779-8000 • www.cadillactitle.com
140 Paluster Street • Cadillac, MI 49601

12

July & August 2016

Women in business

Karie Hankins

Piranha hose Products, inc.
human resource and Marketing coordinator

“Just keep learning.”
That’s one of the lessons Karie has gleaned from 10 years
on the job at Piranha Hose Products.
“Anyone that I have worked under has shown me
something that I still use today in my career,” she says.
Karie’s responsibilities are varied, including sales and
human resources. Duties at Piranha Hose Products go beyond
initial job descriptions. Our employees wear many different
hats, she says.
“At any time, any one of us can cover for another
person or talk about our process,” Karie adds. “I’ve met a
lot of people who don’t know their company’s process.”
Her personal and professional philosophy is to
“always be honest.”
“It may not make you popular, but it is better to
be honest,” she says. “And don’t take everything so
seriously – enjoy life.”
Karie’s goal is to help take Piranha to the next
level.
“We are continuing to grow, and I want to do
what I can to help the company grow and help our
employees to grow themselves,” she says.
When she’s not working, Karie enjoys
spending time with her husband and two small
children, traveling, reality TV and remodeling
an old farmhouse.
Advice to young women: “Keep learning,
listen; don’t get caught up in petty situations
and drama.”

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1-800-250-5132
www.piranhahose.com

Women in business

July & August 2016

Ashley Osowski
CadillaC Tuxedo
owner

“Listen to your mother.”
We’ve heard that countless times in our lives. Ashley Osowski
certainly did.
Thanks to her mother’s advice, Ashley has been the owner
of Cadillac Tuxedo for the last two years.
Ashley had just graduated from Ferris State University,
receiving a bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology and
a minor in criminal justice. She’d been working at Toy
Town (where she’d been working the last five years)
and was having difficulty finding a job in her field.
Her mother, whom Ashley described as the
most inspirational person she knows, told her that
she thought Ashley should buy Cadillac Tuxedo.
Blindsided by the request, but excited and up for
something new, Ashley met with the then-owner
and reached a deal.
What sets her shop apart from others is her
approach to customer service.
“I will go above and beyond in order to help make
my customers’ special day perfect,” Ashley says.
She also brings her Chihuahua, whom she
playfully describes as her chief operational officer
and official customer greeter, to the shop daily.
When she gets some spare time, Ashley enjoys
relaxing and being outside with her boyfriend and
her dogs. The couple has a RZR they love taking to
the trails and Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
Personal philosophy: “You can’t keep thinking
about bad things that have happened to you; you have to
let it go and focus on the things that make you happy!”

Cadillac Tuxedo llc
Cadillac Winery
Tasting Room

Tuxes & Tastings
209 N. Mitchell St., Downtown Cadillac

231-775-2856 • www.cadillactux.com

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14

July & August 2016

Women in business

Shannen Smith

ChemiCal Bank in mCBain
Branch manager

Shannen gets to do something that some wish
they could only do – work at a job she enjoys in her
hometown and knowing that she’s helping her friends
and family.
This product of McBain Rural Agricultural School
has worked for Chemical Bank in McBain since 1998.
“I’ve always enjoyed working in the town that I
grew up in,” she says. “Staying with Chemical Bank
has allowed me to do that while also helping people in
a professional atmosphere.”
The most important lesson she’s learned on the
job is that “things change every day,” Shannen says.
“Be open to change and enjoy.”
Shannen’s professional philosophy is to
truly want to help others and give 100 percent
no matter what the job is. Personally, her
philosophy is that family and friends come
first. It’s also “taking time to enjoy the little
things (and) don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Her professional goals are to continue her
career with Chemical Bank and to see what she
can achieve as a manager.
When she’s not working, Shannen enjoys
spending time with her family – camping,
boating, ATV riding and walking.
Advice to young women: “Always be
willing to learn something new. Take your role
at your job seriously.”

CELEBRATING
LOCAL BUSINESS
WOMEN.
Chemical Bank is proud to recognize the
achievements of women in business in the
Cadillac, McBain and Lake City communities.

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