From educators to community leaders, Ypsi is full of women who have deeply influenced the community in various ways. Wonder Women of Ypsi highlights these amazing women, their achievements and their powerful stories.
Gillian Ream Gainsley's superpower is helping public institutions serve and engage with the community. She is the Communications and Development Coordinator at the Ypsilanti District Library, represents the City of Ypsilanti on the board of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, and always has her hand in a local project or two. She lives in downtown Ypsilanti with her husband and is a supermom to a toddler, a baby, a dog, and two cats.
Dr. Heather Neff earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature with High Honors at the University of Michigan before studying French language and culture at the Sorbonne in Paris. She earned her Master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. A Professor of English Literature, Dr. Neff is also the author of seven novels, including Wisdom ⎯ designated an Honor Book by the American Library Association. Neff currently serves as Director of the Eastern Michigan University McNair Scholars Program, a federal TRiO program which prepares low-income, first-generation students for doctoral studies.
Lynn Malinoff is the director of Eastern Michigan University’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Bright Futures out-of-school-time programs. Lynn has worked with challenged youth and their families, teaching, counseling, and leading for over 40 years in K-12 education. She has a husband, two grown sons, one married and one engaged, and two Shetland Sheepdogs. In her spare time she can be found combing interesting landscape with a camera around her neck!
Yen Azzaro is co-owner of Chin-Azzaro, an art, design and photography consulting firm. Her work focuses on creative image solutions for clients, much of it informed by her years as an art dealer of American impressionism and modern works (namely from 1890-1950). In her free time she likes to dream up ways to bring people together to examine and celebrate commonalities.
VicToria Harper is a mother, wife, very active community member including Chairman of the Parents Committee at granddaughters school, Parent Group Leader of the Art Program at Ypsilanti High School, Committee Member and Chaperone of a Girls Mentoring Ministry, Program Manager Assistant for Forgotten Harvest Food Ministry and various other activities. She is an awesome woman of a blended family and mother all the children those she gave birth to and those that became hers through marriage. She is very involved in the lives of all her children (no matter what age) at home and in school.