At the Bavarian Inn, International Women’s Day holds a place of profound honor and reflection. As we reflect on the accomplishments of women globally throughout Women’s History Month, our Bavarian Inn family also warmly remembers the leader whose influence left a lasting legacy on the Bavarian Inn, Matriarch Dorothy Zehnder. Under her guiding hand, the Bavarian Inn has become an influential establishment for aspiring female and male entrepreneurs, illustrating the boundless possibilities that arise from passion, hard work, and familial unity. Along with being a successful business owner and community leader, she was blessed to take on the role of a wife, mother, and grandmother. She was married into the family of William Jr Zehnder who was known by many as “Tiny”. The couple were blessed with two children who then went on to carry the family business, Judy Zehnder Keller and William A. (Bill) Zehnder. Recognizing International Women’s Day transcends mere acknowledgment of our mentors at the Bavarian Inn; it is a commemoration of the ones who came before us and a celebration of the ones who lead us today. In honoring International Women’s Day, we pay homage not just to Dorothy Zehnder, but to all women whose contributions, both big and small, shape our legacy and future.

In commemorating Dorothy’s remarkable lifetime achievements and dedication, we also pay tribute to her daughter, Judy Zehnder Keller, whose vision and leadership were instrumental in the creation of the Bavarian Inn Lodge. Judy is celebrated as an exceptional business leader who transformed her vision into reality, establishing Michigan’s premier hospitality resort, the Bavarian Inn Lodge. The resort includes 360 elegant guest rooms, an indoor waterpark, a family fun center, restaurants, and versatile conference spaces. Judy’s enduring mission was to create enjoyable experiences for every guest, a legacy that continues to guide our endeavors today.

After Judy’s passing, Michael Zehnder took the role of the Bavarian Inn Lodge President serving as another honorable and distinguished leader of the Bavarian Inn. Pictured above Michael stands his sister Martha Zehnder Kaszynski, who represents the Bavarian Inn Lodge as Vice President. Together, Michael and Martha have continued to exemplify remarkable leadership qualities, earning the admiration and respect of both employees and guests alike. Their commitment and innovative approaches have been instrumental in crafting a welcoming environment at the Bavarian Inn.

“I have been blessed to have two amazing female mentors in my life. My grandmother Dorothy and my mother Judy. Dorothy was my first boss in the Bavarian Inn Restaurant Kitchen. I am further blessed to work with my cousins Amy and Katie, both dynamite female leaders.”- Martha Zehnder Kaszynski

Amy Grossi Zehnder (bottom right) and Katie Zehnder Weiss (top right), an influential duo running the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and its multiple entities have created a lasting impact on Frankenmuth’s history. As President of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, Amy brings a blend of leadership and vision to one of the town’s cornerstone establishments. Simultaneously, Katie in her role as President of the Frankenmuth Gift Shops Inc., complements this leadership by driving innovation and growth in one of the area’s most cherished retail experiences. Together, their partnership not only preserves but also elevates Frankenmuth’s rich heritage, making them influential figures in shaping the town’s future.

Prior to Amy and Katie’s inauguration, their parents, Bill and Karen Zehnder served as leaders of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Today Karen is partially retired, serving as a part-time leader on the Directors of Boards alongside her husband Bill who serves full-time as a chairman on the Director of Boards. Their collaboration and efforts as influential leaders at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant have created countless memories for families visiting Frankenmuth and a lasting impact on the Bavarian Inn’s operation.


Furthermore; in executive leadership positions at the Bavarian Inn are women who set a benchmark for excellence in leading their departments. Joanna Nelson joined the team in 1997 and is serving as a general manager at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. Tammy Rodda exemplifies unwavering dedication to Bavarian Inn Corp as an employee for over 40 years and now serves as General Manager of Frankenmuth Gift Shops, Inc. Additionally, as General Manager of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, Kim Ramirez strives to enhance guests’ experiences. Through their daily efforts, they embody the spirit of leadership, inspiring their teams and ensuring that every detail is a testament to the Bavarian Inn’s commitment to quality and fun.

The Bavarian Inn has been truly blessed with numerous influential female and male leaders in its history, allowing the Bavarian Inn to consistently create enjoyable experiences for all guests. Their invaluable efforts have truly crafted a unique and lasting legacy.

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