Theresa Orlaske-Rich, PhD
WONF Director and
Attorney and Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University
Following a 30 year corporate career in the automotive industry, Theresa Orlaske-Rich formed RichLaw, PLLC, a boutique law firm in Farmington Hills along with her husband, Attorney Brian Rich. With a specialty in estate planning, probate law, and guardianships, she is a council member in the State Bar of Michigan ELDRS (Elder Law and Disability Rights Section). Rich is also an elected official who currently serves on the Board of Education for Oakland County Intermediate School District and was previously on the Farmington Hills City Council. Dr. Rich is an adjunct professor of management at Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business Administration and on the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan Advisory Council. She is an author and motivational speaker who has worked in 12 countries. Her work focuses on providing a voice for people who are frequently not heard: children, seniors at risk of exploitation, victims of domestic violence, and survivors of human trafficking. Born in Benton Harbor, Dr. Rich is a graduate of Lake Michigan College. She then transferred to Grand Valley State, earning two business degrees and then went on to Wayne State University Law School for two law degrees. When her now-adult children were young, she earned a PhD in Organization and Management from Capella University. Dr. Rich is a 2021 fellow in the Michigan State University-sponsored Michigan Political Leadership Program. In the summer of 2022, she will be attending the State and Local Executives in Government Program at Harvard University as a SEMCOG Taubman Fellow.
Profession: Attorney: Estate Planning, Probate Law, Guardianships
Current Elected Position: Oakland Schools Board of Education
Former Elected Position(s): Farmington Hills City Council
Current Appointed Position(s): Girl Scouts Advisory Council, SEMCOG Executive Committee/Education Bloc Chair, Michigan Democratic Party Women's Caucus Secretary
Former Appointed Position(s): Numerous Farmington Hills Boards & Commissions, several committees for Farmington Public Schools, Michigan Municipal League Women's Council VP
Award(s) / Recognition(s): St. Joseph High School Distinguished Alumni, Lake Michigan College Distinguished Alumni, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan One Tough Cookie Nominee
Elected Clerk for the Village of Franklin, August 1999 to December 31, 2020, Served on the Oakland County Legislative Committee, and assisted Southfield Township with many elections.
Nancy Philippart, PhD
WONF President and
General Partner, BELLE
Nancy Philippart is General Partner & co-founder of BELLE Michigan, an early stage venture fund that invests in women led start-ups. She serves as Co-Director of the Global Executive Track Doctorate Program at Wayne State University and is adjunct faculty in the College of Engineering and Ilitch School of Business. She consults with new business ventures and is currently on the boards of several technology start-ups, mentors in International Women in Leadership, Menttium and Women Up & Pitch Programs and is an Automotive News PACE Innovation Award Judge. Nancy has been an engineer and global business executive for 30 years in the automobile industry. Most recently, she was Executive Director, GM Accessories, a $1 billion plus General Motors Corporation new venture that helps sell vehicles and grow corporate profits by enabling vehicle personalization at point of sale. She has extensive experience in international management and operations, product development, strategic planning and new venture start-ups. Nancy has a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering, MA in Economics and BS in Industrial Engineering from Wayne State University and MS in biomedical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University. She is passionate about education and female leadership development. Nancy is the current President of the Women Officials Network, former board chair of Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, currently serving on its advisory board and is an elected trustee on the Troy Board of Education. She is also a member of the Hospice of Michigan Foundation Board. She and her husband are proud parents to three adult children and guardian of a college student.
Dr. Nancy Quarles
Oakland County Road Commissioner
Phone: 248-569-4130 (c)
Nancy Quarles is an Oakland County Road Commissioner and has served as State Representative and Oakland County Commissioner.
She is an active member in the National Congress of Black Women, Women Impacting Public Policy, and the National Foundation for Women Legislators. Nancy was the founding chairman of the Michigan House Women’s Leadership Caucus. Nancy has served as President of the Southern Oakland County NAACP Branch, held the position of First Vice Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, and served on the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Nancy Quarles has received numerous awards and commendations, including the Michigan Legislature Black Caucus, Pioneer Trail blazer Award; Michigan Democratic Party, Martin Luther King, Jr. Award; Omega Psi Phi Public Citizen of the Year; Oakland County’s Business Advocate Award as well as Associate of the Year in the Association of American Businesswomen’s Business Associate. She has been inducted into the Pi Sigma Alpha, Inc. National Political Science Honor Society as an honorary member. As a keynote speaker, she has delivered speeches at several commencements and to a variety of political associations.
Nancy grew up in Detroit. Nancy’s parents taught her the importance of living a life based on grounded principles and values. She has carried these teachings throughout her life whether as an account executive with IBM, co-owner of a 7/Eleven convenience store, small business owner of Yogurt and Salads Deli or serving as an advisor fellow at the Center of Progressive Leadership (CPL).
After graduating from Central High School, Nancy pursued a Bachelor of Science degree at University of Detroit and Master of Science at George Washington University, and she received a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University where she was also a Thurgood Marshall fellow.
She is currently on staff at Central Michigan University. Nancy teaches political science and public administration courses. She is active in the community, civic organizations, Democratic Party, host of other organizations, and her church. She attends Triumph Church, where she serves on the Political Information Ministry.
Jennifer Lynne Rass
Secretary, Birmingham Public Schools Board of Trustees, Chief of Staff for AaDya Security
Seasoned communications professional, Jennifer Rass brings more than 25 years of experience to her role as Chief of Staff of AaDya Security. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. Rass previously held leadership roles at Quicken Loans, Federal-Mogul, FireEye, Duo Security and Cisco. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University and also serves as Secretary of the Birmingham Public School’s Board of Trustees, Birmingham Education Foundation trustee, Board member and Walk Chair for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). She lives in Beverly Hills with her husband, Eric and two children.
WONF Vice President
Phone: 248-225-5591 (c)
Vice President - WON Foundation and
Vice President for Programs / Community Engagement for the League of Women Voters Oakland Area
Geri Rinschler served in a number of positions as a Birmingham Board of Education Trustee from 1996—2017.
Geri has been a lifelong advocate for public education and served as President and founder of the Birmingham Community Coalition for the prevention of substance abuse. Geri is also an Oakland County School Board Association, past president. She is a long-time member of the League Women Voters, Oakland County and is past president and current vice-president for Program/ Community Engagement.
She is a founding board member of the Women Officials’ Network and has mentored numerous candidates seeking public office in Michigan.
Geri is married and a mother of two daughters.
Graduate Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC, Graduate Modern Gourmet Culinary School, Newton Center, MA, Graduate Luberon College Summer Culinary Program, Avignon, France.
Retired Clerk Bloomfield Township
Jan Roncelli was elected to the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees in 1996 as Trustee and in 2004 as Clerk. Her accreditations include Master Municipal Clerk (MMC), and Certified Michigan Municipal Clerk (CMMC). In 2012, the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks honored Jan as the Township Clerk of the Year.
In April 2016, the Women Officials Network Foundation presented Jan with the Wonder Woman Award, a tribute to her illustrious public service career and outstanding community service. Her education includes a B.A. from Marygrove College and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Wayne State University.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson appointed Jan in 2011 and 2015 to represent the State of Michigan as the local election official on the Standards Board for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
Prior to becoming involved in local government, Jan was a professor of communication. Her leave of absence from academia transformed her career from educator to entrepreneur, overseeing a family-owned injection molding company. The business is celebrating its 49th year in 2018.
Her professional affiliations include the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks the Oakland County Clerks Association, the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Preservation Bloomfield, and the Small Business Association of Michigan. She is the Bloomfield Township liaison to the Bloomfield Historical Society and a member of the Women Officials Network.
Jan resides in Bloomfield Township, Michigan with her husband, Dan Gorney. They have one son, Brian Gorney, who lives in New York, with his wife, Danielle, and their son, Grant.