A grass-roots event that began in 2002 with 50 women who responded to a call to build a Habitat for Humanity house for a single mother has blossomed into an annual event: Women’s Service Day. The spirit of giving—time, talent, and donations—in the West Michigan community is alive and growing.

The planning crew focuses the day of service to women and children on these goals:

  • Making a difference in our community—and having a great time doing so
  • Increase awareness of issues for women and children in the West Michigan community
  • Promoting networking among women in our community

Crew Photo

The event is an opportunity for volunteers to offer their time, skills, and talent to several nonprofit organizations in the Holland/Zeeland area. We’ve cleaned and organized, painted and finished, landscaped and weeded, cooked and baked, washed windows, assembled lesson plans and materials, organized and led after-school activities for middle school girls, and made cards for families with loved ones who are terminally ill or living in nursing facilities. Over the years we’ve had the event, we’ve had as many as 150 women participate for some part of the day!

How does a group of women manage to pull off a community-wide day of service with so many volunteers each year and still remain friends? When all of them have a common goal—building community, building awareness, and networking—as well as common traits—compassion, respect, and commitment—it’s easy. Add to that some organizational and planning skills, and you can call it success. They rely tremendously on teamwork as well as the skills each planning team member brings to the group. Read about the strength of our members to see how each complements the others.



Nancy Corvers is supporting our fundraising raffle and auction, which means she’s also recruiting donors for this critical part of our lunchtime program. That makes good use of her experience merchandising her own sewn items at craft shows. Like a number of us on the planning crew, Nancy had a long career at Herman Miller. After retiring, she spent a few months in Hawaii as a volunteer, and continues in that spirit with the children’s ministry at her church–when she can be distracted, that is, from her love of sewing!



Marcia Davis writes for her day job in the marketing department at Haworth, Inc. A Planning Team member for over 20 years, she is also the team secretary at all our meetings. When she’s not out and about discovering new places in the world, she leads the Event Team, which ensures volunteers get fed and have a fulfilling experience during our networking lunch.


Cindy DeGraaf is a customer engagement lead at Herman Miller, Inc. In her job, she faces and solves new challenges daily while taking care of retail clients looking for guidance in furnishing their home offices. She’s using her master project management expertise as our agency liaison. She’s communicating with local agency representatives to help determine task assignments, keeping in constant touch with registration, and ensuring that our volunteers have meaningful and impactful tasks for the day of the event.

Harris Photo


Harris Hof recently retired after 35 years with Herman Miller. She has been a volunteer for Women’s Service Day for years, and recently joined the planning committee as part of the Event team. She’ll be working in the kitchen to ensure our incredible volunteers have a delicious and healthy meal during the mid-day break.



Alison Lechner is an Associate Marketing Content Specialist for MillerKnoll and owns her own social media marketing company, Thru – Line Consulting. She is the Communications liaison for the WSD Team and this will be her first year participating in the event.



Carolyn Maalouf is a researcher and long-time employee at Herman Miller. She is thrilled to join the Planning Team this year and will be helping make sure the crews enjoy a delicious meal and a fun, mid-day break!


Lois Maassen is our team leader and mistress of networking, which continues to surprise her, since she thinks of herself as an introvert. Her background in communications and management was good training for always keeping our objectives in sight. When she’s not asking, “How hard can it be?” she’s doing business consulting and communications through Hedgehog Arts & Letters, LLC—or knitting, baking, or rereading Jane Austen.

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Angie Martin is a proposal manager at MillerKnoll. On our team, she utilizes those organization and attention-to-detail skills as our event Registrar, making sure volunteers can seamlessly sign up to participate and know what to expect. Angie strives to be the Leslie Knope of whatever she does because it’s important that we make our communities better for everyone. Her favorite Knope quote? “One person’s annoying is another’s inspiring and heroic.”


Jill Ryan

Jill Ryan is a clinical research director for a pharmaceutical company where she manages clinical trial operations. She volunteered for Women’s Service Day after moving to west Michigan in order to give back to her community. Being a part of a team of volunteers engaged in making their community a better place is highly motivating and rewarding to her. After years as a volunteer, she stepped into the project manager role where she ensures the team is on-track and prepared for the big day.

Planning an annual event isn’t all about work. Although we kick off each year’s planning session in April, six months ahead of Women’s Service Day, many of our meetings are held over dinners that often include wine. During our years together, we’ve celebrated retirements, weddings, births, birthdays, divorces, promotions, and adventures. A few weeks after the event we always hold a “lessons learned” meeting and then come the holidays, so we celebrate our friendship and good work with good cheer and some gift giving. Usually by February we start going into withdrawal from not seeing each other so sometimes we even start our next year’s planning a little early.

What it comes down to is trust. We rely on each others’ strengths and the relationships we’ve built as a team to get things done.

Emeritus Organizers
There are other women who have served countless hours throughout the history of Women’s Service Day. We honor them with “emeritus” status and enjoy their ongoing friendship and participation during the event.

  • Waltraud Beckmann
  • Sue Gadbois
  • Cheryl Murdoch
  • Carrie Ypma
Cheryl and Sue in NYC

Cheryl and Sue

Carrie and Waltraud