Thank you to all who came celebrate our 2015 DTE Energy EWI ASIST Scholarship Award Recipient on September 9, 2015.

It was a great success and a very heartfelt evening

Virginia Alan (Sue Harmon)

Our Foundation Chairperson, Virginia Alan (Sue Harmon) said it best when she addressed the members and guests in attendance.

For those of you who don’t know, ASIST is the acronym for Adult Students in Scholastic Transition.  The program provides financial support to non-traditional adult students, both women and men, who are struggling through life changes, supporting family and going to college to provide a better life for their family.

To be eligible for ASIST scholarships, candidates must be able to define their career goals, and meet the program’s educational and financial requirements. They might be single parents, displaced workers, or adults forced to enter the workforce due to divorce or other tragedies.

The Detroit-Windsor Chapter of Executive Women International has distributed $50,000 in ASIST scholarships to deserving women over the past 7 years. We have been able to provide these scholarships through the diligent work of our members on our fundraising events and through the generous support of our members and of our member firms.

Tonight we recognize member firm, DTE Energy Company and the DTE Enegry Foundation, who have magnanimously contributed a full ASIST scholarship to a worthy student. DTE has been a long-term, substantial supporter of EWI and our scholarship program. I believe I can speak for all of us at EWI, to say we are extremely grateful to DTE for their generosity. 

JoAnn Chavez (left), Virginia Alan (Sue Harmon), Victoria Bankowski (right)

I’d like to announce our 2015 DTE EWI ASIST scholarship recipient, Victoria Bankowski, a student at Wayne County Community College District. Victoria has overcome many personal hardships and challenges to become the successful student she is today. She dropped out of school at 10th grade, became a single mother of two children, and struggled with mental and learning disabilities before deciding to take charge of her life.

In 2013, Victoria entered Wayne County Community College District, studied hard and gained experience from her many student activities. The list of her activities is as long as my arm. However, two events caught my eye: her participation and induction into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and her selection as a Rebuild Detroit student to participate in the National Institutes of Health program that encourages undergraduate students from under-represented and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue careers in biomedical research.

In June, Victoria graduated with an Associate in Science degree, and is enrolled in WCCCD’s fall semester working toward her long-term goal of becoming a biomedical engineer. She has set her goal high. Considering the personal challenges she has faced, I believe she will succeed.

Chavez Speaking

Ms. JoAnn Chavez speaking to us about how powerful and inspiring woman can be.

Our keynote speaker that evening was an outstanding woman, community leader and executive at DTE, JoAnn Chavez. Ms. Chavez was inspiring and connected with each of us in attendance. She not only spoke to the power of women, she also dug deep and got us to see how we can

Cindy’s Notes



“I was writing so fast but the notes are still so powerful even when reading them a 2nd or 3rd time.” said Cindy Nunnery.

Victoria Bankoswki, scholarship recipient (center); Virginia (left); Barb Duran chapter President (right)

Victoria Bankoswki, scholarship recipient (center); Virginia (left); Barb Duran chapter President (right)




And of course our scholarship recipient brought tears to our eyes with her lovely acceptance speech. Victoria has dealt with alot and has not stopped moving forward. All of us at EWI of Detroit-Windsor support you!!!





And let’s not forget to mention the delicious food catered by Byblos.

A mediterranean feast by Byblos.

A mediterranean feast by Byblos.


Here are some more pictures:

(left to right) Barb Duran, JoAnn Chavez, Victoria Bankowski, Yolanda Russell (Victoria’s education counselor at WCCCD)

We are all listening with intention.

A big hug from JoAnn Chavez, DTE and our EWI scholarship recipient Victoria

Great group of attendee’s.

Yolanda Russell, Kay Douglas, Suzanne Gabli, Renea Callery, Victoria Bankowski, Virginia Alan (Sue Harmon)

Janice (Auto Group); Barb (Send Out Cards), Brenda (PVS Chemical, Susan (Level One Bank)

Scholarship recipient Victoria and her WCCCD counselor Yolanda

Patti Conover and JoAnn Chavez (both from DTE), Virgina and Victoria

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