JACQUELINE WOODS, '97
Jacqueline Woods, known best as Jacci, earned her Marygrove degree in business administration, summa cum laude, as a mature student while balancing professional, volunteer and family responsibilities.
She has taken the Marygrove values of compassion, competence and commitment to the workplace as well as applied them in her personal life. Among her responsibilities as director of public relations and community affairs for the MotorCity Casino, she plans and implements outreach programs. She developed "MotorCity Helping Hands," an umbrella under which employees participate in Habitat for Humanity, Gleaners Community Food Banks, Don Bosco Home, Mariners Inn, Alternatives for Girls, Children's Hospital and others. She personally has volunteered at several of these agencies as well as others.
"Jacci finds particular gratification in that MotorCity Casino was the first to sponsor the American Cancer Society's 'Relay for Life,' an event on casino property," says Veronica Woods '86, mother of Jacci Woods. Previously these events were held in public areas such as parks. However, after much persuasion, she was able to convince the Society to use the casino property for the relay. Due to its success, the Cancer Society now uses the casino's event criteria as a model for events on other corporate properties."
Concerned that African American children were not exposed to experiences and cultures outside of their own neighborhoods, Jacci Woods and two other women established the Young Minority Golfers Association (YMGA) in l997, a nonprofit organization with the goal of introducing young people to the game of golf with its social and professional benefits. A number of YMGA students were awarded scholarships or financial assistance for college. Woods' daughter Sommer was among them, receiving a scholarship to Talladega College in Alabama.
Jacci Woods' advice to students is, "No matter what your
circumstances, no matter the limitations imposed by others, no matter what your past has been, you can never compromise your dreams. You can never allow others to dictate what your life experiences will be ...Good or bad, you have the power to change your life. Be relentless in your pursuit of an education because there is power in knowledge."
According to Woods, "Marygrove provided a very nurturing and self-empowering environment. The faculty and administration were constantly reaffirming all that was possible, despite my circumstances. They offered a quality education and helped identify resources to ensure my educational, personal and professional development."
Noting that ,"Corporate marketing can really challenge an individual's value system," Marygrove Associate Professor Jane Hammang-Buhl '68 says, "Jacci's personal integrity, combined with the excellence of her competencies, establishes her as a community leader who makes a difference in the Metropolitan Detroit area."
Woods is the force behind the excellent participation of MotorCity employees in recent projects such as community clean-up when more than 100 volunteers partnered with business and civic groups to tackle 25 sites throughout the city that were contributing to blight.
Although she enjoys her professional and academic success, Woods believes her greatest accomplishment is the daughter she raised as a single parent. "Sommer is a virtuous woman. She is a spiritual, community oriented, creative and compassionate individual. I am very proud of her personal and professional accomplishments. I would be friends with her even if she were not my daughter."
Leadership Detroit, a prestigious year-long program of the Detroit Regional Chamber, selected Woods to be a member of the class that graduated in 2005. Those chosen are groomed to be leaders and board members of nonprofit agencies.
She was also the recipient of the Dale Carnegie Course Highest Award for Achievement.
Except for reading, her leisure pursuits are of the high-energy variety and include golf, biking, roller blading, walking, running, weight training and travel.
Woods sums up her personal philosophy: "Have no fear and have no regrets, because all things are in Divine order."