WEI Leadership

Martha Smith, B.S.

WEI Project Director

Martha is the Project Director of Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and is directly responsible for all community based WEI activities. This includes overseeing the SPARK and Renaissance Executive Forum programs as well as planning and implementing events and training events for women business owners.

Martha graduated from Ferris State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Prior to joining Saint Mary’s, she owned and operated two small businesses. One is a local mini-storage facility, and the other one is a business to business textile company. Martha and her husband started their textile business from the basement of their Michigan home and developed it into a nation-wide textile distribution enterprise. She has previous work experience with banking and manufacturing. She held jobs with First National City Bank (Citibank) in Nicaragua; Owens-Corning Fiberglas, Toledo, Ohio; and AM General in South Bend. She served on the Small Business Division Advisory Board for 1st Source Bank. Martha has served as community volunteer with the Niles YMCA and the Senior Citizens Center, as well as Hospice of Saint Joseph County. Hobbies and interests include: reading, traveling around the United States and Latin America, and power walking with her Golden Retriever, Fred.

WEI Advisory Board


  • Deb Childs, State Farm Insurance
  • Mary Chmiel, Senior Vice President, 1st Source Bank
  • Janet Horvath, Jones Obenchain, LLP
  • Carrie Lytle, Assistant Vice President, Key@Work Relationship Manager, KeyBank
  • Rita Miller, CPA, Kruggel, Lawton & Company, LLC
  • Angela Nelson, NIPSCO
  • Michael Plenzler, V.P. Business Banking, PNC Bank
  • Katherine Schneider, Executive Director, Saint Margaret's House
  • Karen Sommers, Vice President, Community Investment, United Way of St. Joseph County, Inc.

SPARK Action Group


  • Karen Barnett, Valley Screen Process Company
  • Elaine Kendell, Raymond James & Associates, Inc.
  • Carrie Kosac, 1st Source Bank
  • Sheryl Kosovski, Artful Work
  • Ed Lockman, Detex Corporation & SCORE
  • Carrie Lytle, SPARK Class Coordinator
  • Idalia Maldonado, University of Notre Dame
  • Rita Miller, Kruggel, Lawton & Company, LLC
  • Jack Ruhe, SCORE
  • Santiago Rodriguez, PNC Bank
  • Paula Sours, SPARK Class Coordinator
  • Carol Thompson, Healthy Trex
  • Diane Winn, Through Eagles Eyes

SCORE Business Plan Advisors


  • Ed Lockman
  • Gerald Marchetti
  • Norm Riley
  • Jack Ruhe
  • Bob Sones