By Joe DiBenedetto, Managing Director, Education & Social Impact

The path to public service differs for many. For Michigan State Senator Winnie Brinks, it included serving as executive director for One Way House, a non-profit serving non-violent female offenders in a residential setting as an alternative to incarceration, as well as working with a number of public schools in the Grand Rapids area. It was her work assisting individuals and families in overcoming barriers to success that inspired her to run for office in Michigan’s House of Representatives in the early 2000s.

After more than seven years in the House, Brinks became the first woman to represent Grand Rapids in the Michigan Senate since Eva McCall Hamilton was elected in 1920. While certainly proud of this distinction and acknowledging that we should celebrate such firsts, Senator Brinks shares during this episode of Purposeful Pitch that she would prefer that women in public office in West Michigan and across the state become the norm, not the exception.

Of course, we can’t discuss any topic at present without including the impact of COVID-19. As the global pandemic continues to turn our world upside down, Senator Brinks remains confident that Grand Rapids—which has experienced remarkable growth over the past decade—will be able to recover given the city’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit. Still, she admits, there will be many challenges due to funding uncertainties at the state and federal level. Learn more about the road ahead in this episode.

To continue the conversation or learn more about Lambert’s Education & Social Impact practice, contact Joe DiBenedetto.