MWi CEO Networking Event

March 1, 2016

The MWi program committee has secured participation in an MWi networking event by Todd Adams, (Rexnord), Rich Meeusen (Badger Meter), Ajita Rajendra (AO Smith), Todd Teske (Briggs & Stratton), Gale Klappa (WEC Energy Group), and Tom Kissinger (The Marcus Corporation). The committee's plans are to have rotating roundtable discussions with a pre-meeting and post-meeting networking social.

The expected outcome of the event is twofold: 1) to create an informal networking forum for both local CEOs and the Milwaukee Women inc membership and 2) to foster further bonds between Milwaukee-area CEOs such as yourself community and Milwaukee Women inc. organization. The event is expected to be 2 hours, starting with and ending with networking and social time. All MWi members encouraged to attend.




Join us on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at the University Club as MWi welcomes three female board members to share their personal journey to securing a seat at the boardroom table. Guests are welcome. 

  • Ellen Bartel, CEO, Divine Savior Holy Angels, Waterstone Financial Inc.board
  • Deborah Beck, retired executive, Northwestern Mutual, Atwood Oceanics board
  • Kris Rappé, retired SVP, WEC Energy Group, Waterstone Financial Inc. board


              Ellen Bartel                                  Deborah Beck                                   Kris Rappé

    Waterstone Financial (WI)                 Atwood Oceanics (TX)                  Waterstone Financial (WI)
     Board member since 2014              Board member since 2003               Board member since 2014

Our panelists will share how they secured their first corporate board seat, what obstacles they faced, what is it like to be the only or one of a small minority of female members on the board, and how their respective boards view diversity.

Place:  University Club of Milwaukee, 924 E. Wells Street

Time:  4:00 pm  Welcome, Board Retreat Overview

           4:30 pm  Program, Q & A

           5:15 pm Networking Reception

Guests are welcome. There is no charge to attend.

Please RSVP to Jackie Mortenson at


Partnering with other organizations, Milwaukee Women inc sponsors events each year to educate and position women to serve on corporate boards.

Mark your calendar: Thursday, November 19, 2015

Women's Leadership Forum- "Futurism: Innovation, Immersion, Inclusion"

Partnership between Milwaukee Women inc | Professional Dimensions | TEMPO Milwaukee | Momentum

In the spirit of advancing women leaders and collaboration, Professional Dimensions, TEMPO Milwaukee, Milwaukee Women inc and Momentum are teaming up for a joint program event. The theme of the event is Futurism & Innovation.

Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Ryan, futurist, economist, author

Tentative Schedule of Events

Networking & Registration | 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Lunch | 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Keynote Address | 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

BREAK | 1:30 pm - 1:45 pm

Breakout Sessions l 1:45 pm -3:45 pm

Closing Remarks & Raffle l 3:45 pm - 4:00 pm

Open Bar & Appetizers | 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

 Look for more information in the near future.


MWi Annual Meeting, April 2015

Roundy’s explains process of searching for and placing a woman on its board

An outreach effort to Roundy’s, Inc. came full circle on April 15, when company executives Jim Hyland and Jess Terry paid a visit to the annual meeting of Milwaukee Women inc to discuss Roundy’s corporate diversity efforts and the announcement last month of new board member, Kim Feil. Jim Hyland is the firm’s VP of Investor Relations and Jess Terry is Chief Human Resources Officer. Last  year, MWi Chair Phyllis King and Steering Committee member Jilaine Bauer met with Jim and Terry to gain an understanding of their philosophy on board diversity and encourage consideration of  a female candidate with their desired skills to serve on the company’s board of directors. The board had previously been all-male.

According to the company’s official announcement, Feil, the CEO of bizHive, joined the board with "proven retail marketing experience and a keen understanding of consumer insights, marketing strategy and change management." Indeed, Terry stressed the search for this board position was driven by finding a leader who had skills and experience the board had been lacking.

Diversity program supports company goals

In addition, the search was also driven by Roundy’s overall diversity goals to place more women and people of color into leadership positions – both in the company and on its board. To date, the company has exceeded its initial goals, filling 60% of recent internal openings with diverse candidates.

“We started (talking about) this diversity strategy in 2012. As board seats opened up, we started to prepare the kind of slate of candidates we wanted to work with,” explained Terry. “We developed the key attributes and competencies we needed and we’ve been able to build somewhat of a succession plan.” Roundy’s ultimately developed a potential slate of six candidates; four were women.

Both Terry and Hyland emphasized the importance of the company reflecting its diverse and largely female customer base in its leadership ranks. Internally, they have launched a women’s affinity group and are seeking mentoring opportunities for its female leaders.

“Diversity prohibits ‘group think,’” added Hyland. “With boards it’s all about perspective, perspective, perspective.”

Frequently, companies say that perspective must come from a CEO level and with previous board experience. That trend is changing according to Hyland and Terry. Hyland said that according to Spencer Stuart -- one of the world's leading global executive search and leadership consulting firms -- 39% of board appointments in 2014 had no previous board experience. For the Roundy’s appointment, previous board experience was not a requirement.

Advice to companies, women

Hyland and Terry agreed that the best ambassadors for mentoring future board candidates are women who currently serve on boards – those who are “living in this role every day.” Likewise, they advised connecting companies that have been successful (in placing women on their boards) to talk peer-to-peer about the experience. Lastly, they suggested that women be as prepared as possible for potential board opportunities. “Read your board books. Come with an understanding of a company’s culture and government regulatory issues,” said Hyland.

So, why did it take so long for Roundy’s to add a female to its board? “Sometimes, you can’t always see from the inside what’s NOT changing.”

MWinc remains committed to helping companies see the need for that change.

October 2014 Events

New research on women and diversity on boards to be released at joint MWinc and GMC event on October 13

Milwaukee Women inc (MWi) is teaming up with the Greater Milwaukee Committee to release survey results that benchmark and examine the current state of racial/ethnic and gender diversity on boards of directors. At the GMC meeting on Monday, October 13, speakers will put those results into context with a panel discussion surrounding the topic of corporate board diversity. MWi has tracked the number of women on the boards of Wisconsin’s top 50 publicly traded companies since 2004.


The panel, which will be moderated by Keith Burns, managing partner of Ernst & Young, includes:

  • Phyllis King - Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, UW-Milwaukee, MWi chair
  • Cory Nettles - Managing Director, Generation Growth Capital, Inc.
  • Patrick Prout - President & CEO, The Prout Group
  • Mary Ellen Stanek - Managing Director & Chief Investment Officer, R.W. Baird & Co. and MWi member emeritus
  • Barry Williams - General Partner, Williams Pacific Ventures

For information, contact the GMC’s Danya Strait:, (414) 905-0111

According to the GMC, “Research suggests that a variety of backgrounds in leadership and governance can make companies more adaptable to an ever-changing environment. With a diverse board, companies are positioned to respond and compete in the marketplace. Reported benefits of a diverse board include varied perspectives, maximized talent pool, fewer high-risk financial transactions and better returns.

The GMC, in partnership with MWi, surveyed Wisconsin’s largest public companies to benchmark the current state of both racial/ethnic and gender diversity on their boards of directors.

Read about past events

  • MWi Board Perspectives: Jay Williams offers insights on board service

    MWinc Steering Committee members heard from Jay Williams, chair of the Milwaukee Public Museum Board and long-time banking executive, at the group’s meeting on June 26. A conversation between Jay and MWi board member Jessie Lochmann Allen, Partner, Foley & Lardner, began with a basic, but fundamental question: What is your motivation to serve on a board? Williams, who has served on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, said his motivation stems from a desire to interact with smart people and broaden his knowledge base.

    Where should you begin? “It’s no different than paying your dues anywhere. You tend to start small and local, and most often with non-profit board service.” But, warns Williams, “don’t think you’re being asked to serve on a non-profit board because of your intelligence. “It’s all about the fund-raising.”

    Williams went on to discuss particular skill sets that are most advantageous to serving on boards, especially public corporate boards. The list includes financial intelligence, regulatory knowledge, IT and operations. He cautioned that individuals serving on public boards face personal liability, and can be a huge time commitment. “There’s a lot of opportunity on private business boards. These tend to be good experiences for the business owner and the board member,” added Williams. Williams encouraged MWi members to seek out board mentors and to position the organization as one that recognizes board diversity is a challenge – and is here to help.

  • 2014 Women of Influence Luncheon: Friday, June 20th, Wisconsin Center. Near-record crowd honors W omen of Influence winners which include two MWi members, Liz Orelup and Lynn Sprangers. About 900 Milwaukee-area business executives were at the Wisconsin Center Friday to honor the Milwaukee Business Journal's 2014 Women of Influence winners. To read about the winners click here.

  • 2014 Women in Business Event: Wednesday, May 21st, 7:30-9:30am, Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Panelists include MWi chair Phyllis King and MWi member Julia Taylor.  MWi member Kimberly Kane will serve as the Event Emcee. Panelists will discuss key aspects of their exemplary leadership styles and provide insights into their successful business strategies. They will also discuss the obstacles they have overcome in their careers. Topics to be discussed include development and growth, leadership, lifelong learning, community engagement and the importance of mentoring and fostering professional relationships.

  • MWi Annual Meeting: Monday, April 21st, University Club, 4:30pm (business), 5:00pm (speaker/Q&A), 6:00-6:30pm (social)  Guest Speaker: Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, author of "The Board Game-How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors".

  • Rotary Luncheon: Tuesday, April 22nd, War Memorial Center, 11:45am-1:15pm, Keynote Speaker Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, author of "The Board Game-How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors".  Partners: MWi & Tempo

For additional information contact Jackie Mortenson at