Welcome, Michelle!
Members of the Rotary Club of West Chester are happy – and fortunate - to welcome Michelle Venema as our new club president for 2020-2021. Someone said Rotary started out headed by a man, so its high time we have a woman at the helm as Rotary celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021. In addition, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the Suffragette Movement, when women achieved the right to vote!
Given this dual commemoration of both important anniversaries, Michelle brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and dedication to our club. A graduate of East High School, Michelle worked as a summer intern bank teller at First National Bank of Chester County during her junior and senior years at Sweet Briar College in VA nearly 30 years ago. She majored in biochemistry in college, intending to become a doctor, but caught the banking bug and never left the financial world until joining Home of the Sparrow as its CEO in 2016.
At First National, she quickly rose from teller to Executive Vice President for Business Banking, with a banking degree from Stonier Graduate School of Banking, working in commercial lending, marketing and development, and as installment loan officer along the way. She also worked for a short time at Fulton Bank and Brumbaugh Wealth Management, leaving first National after over 23 years.
In addition to her successful professional career, Michelle has generously donated her time to many community organizations. In addition to Rotary, which she joined in 1994, she has volunteered with United Way, Chester County Bar Assn., PA Bankers Assn.., Chester County Community Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Chambers of Commerce and Business and Industry, the West Chester Borough Bicentennial Celebration, and numerous others. She was recognized with the March of Dimes Ellen Ann Roberts Excellence in Business Award in 2008, and the Women’s Yellow Pages Women of Accomplishment award in 2012.
The first born generation in her family, Michelle has spent many happy hours traveling throughout Europe with her German born parents. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about wine and food, puttering in her garden, or reading her favorite British murder mystery. She now shares her knowledge, financial acumen and leadership experience with Home of the Sparrow, where she helps to end homelessness for women and children in Chester County.