Member News

Event shines light on women in leadership roles
Michigan City, IN
10/16/2019 10:34 AM

Leeds Public House owner Denise Burns recently shared her perspective on the opportunities and challenges of owning a restaurant with the Women in Leadership La Porte County members.

“This has been a learning process for me and continues to be a collaborative effort with our team,” she said. “As new to the restaurant business myself, I am seeing first-hand how restaurants have to balance figuring out what people want, cutting back on food waste and making sure that staff members are happy and want to stay.”

Burns, who owns the restaurant with her husband, John, and sister Amy Laria, spotlighted how she is walking down a new path while her sister is a veteran in the industry with her place, Flo Café & Bar in Chicago.

Focusing on this spectrum of experience is one way the group makes an impact on the community.

“We have women of all leadership levels from those just starting out in their careers and making connections to much more seasoned women who are able to be mentors and provide an example and coaching,” said Rene Ray, Women in Leadership La Porte County vice president.

“We are here to help enhance both the professional and personal growth of our members and empower women,” said Women in Leadership La Porte County President Sherri Waddle-Cummings.

The group has a variety of events that help connect women in a social setting as well as provide education through featured speakers.

“At events such as this one at Leeds, we get to know each other. Since we are from all walks of life, we may have never met,” Waddle-Cummings said. “These connections are vitally important to developing stronger relationships.”

The group is also able to be an example for future generations. Members support and participate in the annual Nontraditional Employment Women event at the La Porte County Technical Career and Education Center.

“Girls from La Porte County schools come out to hear a dynamic speaker and see how they can do anything and don’t have to stick to gender-specific careers,” Ray said. “They are able to see welding and the construction and fire-fighting industries. They see women in all kinds of non-traditional roles, showing girls they can do anything beyond the horizons.”

Leeds Public House continues to be open to organizations, nonprofits and businesses that are seeking facilities for upcoming events.

“The Michigan City community has been so supportive and welcoming to us,” Burns said.

Women in Leadership La Porte County is open to women from anywhere seeking to strengthen their leadership skills as well as connect with development opportunities. All events are based in La Porte County. For more information, visit .

Leeds Public House, 401 Franklin St., brings an eclectic vibe to historic downtown Michigan City with a menu that features local ingredients crafted into seasonal dishes by Chicago-trained Chef Mark Sabbe. The gastropub has a heated outdoor patio with fire pit as well as indoor and outdoor bars. The spot is now open seven days a week and serves up specialty cocktails, local and regional brews and unique weekend brunch selections. For more information, visit

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