A graduate of Marquette University, Mary has had the pleasure of working for some of Milwaukee’s great institutions including Marquette University, Summerfest, The Milwaukee Public Museum and now Professional Dimensions. In addition, for 18 years she had her own marketing and communications agency, The Bridges Group. During those years she had the privilege of serving clients such as Miller Brewing Company, Midwest Express Airlines, Summerfest, Aurora Health Care and the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services, to name a few.
Mary served as Chairperson for the International Festival and Events Association that includes 2500 members from 12 different countries. She has presented at numerous international conferences. IFEA include members such as The Kentucky Derby, The Fiesta Bowl, The Royal Tournament in London and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.
I've been the leader of Make A Difference – Wisconsin since its inception, from a handful of schools and students in 2006 to an organization that now empowers thousands of students statewide every year. We are approaching our 10th year, with programs that have engaged more than 50,000 students and plans to unveil exciting new programs, technology and geographic reach. The unique aspect of our program stems from the connection we provide between business community volunteers and teenagers on the real-life topics of financial literacy. This connection occurs during interactive lessons on crucial financial topics like budgeting, saving, and credit, and provides students with a trusted resource as they establish their own financial future.
At Make A Difference - Wisconsin, I’m responsible for the oversight of day-to-day operations and program expansion to meet our growing teen literacy and capability mission. As the lead in fund development, I lead all fundraising efforts, including the oversight of our sole fundraising event, an annual Investment Conference, which has become the Midwest’s go-to event for investment ideas presented to a sell-out audience of investors and investment professionals. I also serve as the organization’s spokesperson, and regularly contribute to news and national thought leadership opportunities on issues related to financial literacy and empowerment.
Managing Director Senior Portfolio Manager, Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.
Sharon has over 24 years of investment experience managing various types of fixed income portfolios.
She is currently is a Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager for Baird Advisors, Robert W. Baird & Co’s institutional fixed income management group. Sharon has been a named portfolio manager on all of the Baird Bond Fund offerings since their inception dates. She plays a lead role for the team on portfolio construction and focuses on managing short and intermediate taxable portfolios and tax-exempt portfolios.
Prior to joining Baird Advisors, Sharon was an Assistant Vice President and Portfolio Manager with Firstar Investment Research and Management Company (FIRMCO) where she did quantitative fixed income analysis and portfolio management.
Sharon is currently a member of The CFA Institute and is a member of the CFA Society of Milwaukee. She serves on the boards of the American Lung Association of Wisconsin, the Wauwatosa Public Library Foundation, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School and TEMPO Milwaukee. Sharon is a member of Milwaukee Women Inc. and Professional Dimensions. She received the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award – Mentor category in 2015. Sharon is a former member of the Finance Committee and the former Assistant Treasury for United Way of Greater Milwaukee. She is the past co-chair of Baird’s Women Associate Resource Group. Sharon is also an active volunteer at Christ King Parish and School (Co-Chairs the Stewardship committee) and Milwaukee Sting Volleyball Club.
Sharon and her husband Jim have five children: Nicole, Mara, Luke, William and Olivia.
EVE HALL, Ph.D.
President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Eve M. Hall, a leader and advocate, experienced in education, non-profit, and government sectors, has established her imprint locally and nationally. She has earned a reputation as a “builder’ and one who inspires and demonstrates the power of strong programs and partnerships to create change and opportunities that positively impact the lives of others. Since 2012, Hall has served as the President/CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, where she is leading the renewal of the organization.
Hall is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with work experiences in Wisconsin, Florida, and Washington DC. Prior to the chamber, she served as the Chief Innovation Officer for Thurgood Marshall College Fund, where she spent 10 years in various national leadership roles impacting students and university/school district/business partnerships in several states. Dr. Hall’s professional career has consisted of high-level leadership roles and responsibilities in K-16 education, government, and non-profit, with a short stint in for-profit. Roles have included Vice President of Public Affairs and lobbyist for Family Service of Milwaukee, School to Work Director reporting to the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, and Director of Governor Tommy Thompson’s Milwaukee Office.
In spring 2014, Hall was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to serve on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. She also serves on the Governor’s Task Force on Minority Unemployment. Hall serves on variety of local boards and committees; Near West Side Partners, Junior Achievement, Make a Difference Wisconsin Advisory Council, Cardinal Stritch Business Advisory Board, Milwaukee Succeeds, WAM DC, MKE Fellows Advisory Committee, Regional Transit Leadership Council, and MKE United Steering Committee. Hall was recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as a “Woman of Influence in 2013 and one of “16 Business Executives to Watch in 2016.” In 2015, she was recognized as “Woman Executive of the Year,” by Biz Times for her work in reviving the chamber.
Regarding community volunteerism and leaving a legacy, Hall is the Co-Founder of the African American Women’s Project Fund, created in 1999 and designed to provide support to organizations supporting the well-being of women and girls. The over $200,000 fund is held in the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee. She is a member of the Downtown Milwaukee Rotary Club, TEMPO, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and The Girlfriends Inc.
Hall received a B.S. degree in educational psychology and teaching certification in Learning Disabilities from Florida A&M University, a M.S. in administrative leadership from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Ph.D. in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.
Executive Director, Ernst & Young
Private Client Services – Milwaukee
Sarah is a Tax Executive Director in Ernst & Young’s Private Client Services and Tax Consulting practice. She has more than 19 years of experience in public accounting serving high-net-worth entrepreneurs, their businesses and their families. Her primary focus is on providing holistic tax, financial and wealth planning, including strategic planning for hedge fund owners, businesses, succession planning, risk management, philanthropic planning, wealth transfer planning and income tax planning. Her work includes tax consulting, reporting and compliance for a variety of entities, with an emphasis on hedge funds, S corporations, partnerships, foundations, individuals and trusts.
Sarah received her BA in accounting in 1996 from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and her Masters of Science in Taxation in 2001 from DePaul University. She has been a Certified Public Accountant since November, 1996 and is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. She is a Certified Financial Planner® and an AICPA Personal Financial Specialist. She also has her Series 65 designation.
Sarah is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant and formerly served on the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee. She is a member of the WICPA and is on the Milwaukee Women, Inc Steering Committee.
Kathy Hust is an executive leader with extensive experience in business operations, strategic planning, technology, sales, marketing, finance, and engineering. Her corporate experience includes progressive leadership roles coupled with substantial accomplishments and responsibilities at wireless industry leader U.S. Cellular (retired 2016). Kathy is a member of four leading not-for-profit Boards. She is a corporate Board member of Energybank Inc. and serves in an active advisory capacity for CC&N Inc. as well as, Seiva Technologies and Scanalytics Inc., which are startup technology entities. She is
highly regarded and sought after for her expertise in technology and her understanding of community and political dynamics.
As a graduate of Mount Mary College in Milwaukee and completing her degree in business administration, Kathy began her professional career with Bell South Cellular where she led a regional organization
Kathy serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Mount Mary University, Zoological Society of Milwaukee and the Waukesha County Business Alliance. She also serves as an executive mentor for gener8tor Startup Companies and Launch Pad at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Her leadership in the community is complemented with extensive political and business relationships. In 1998, she and several colleagues formed Calistoga Partners, a Napa Valley winery, which produces and distributes Triumph Cellars wines.
Kathy has two daughters and between their activities and her own leads an active lifestyle. Her interests include entrepreneurial start-ups, fitness, sports, cycling, culinary arts, reading and serving as a professional Grand Marshal for NASCAR races.
CEO, Mertz Associates, Inc.
Linda Mertz, CPA, CEO of Mertz, offers a rare combination of years of experience, sound advice and extensive industry connections to help clients identify and pursue their best path in times of transition.
Clients turn to Linda for advice informed by over 25 years of M&A experience in selling and buying manufacturing, distribution and business service companies. Throughout her career, she has built an extensive network of due diligence partners, investment bankers and other strategic allies who can help clients facilitate important transactions. She also offers operational experience to her clients, having held various executive positions in the equipment-leasing field.
In addition to providing counsel to business owners, Linda brings her experienced insights to her service on several corporate and nonprofit boards including Skyline Technologies, Owner’s Edge, Services Plus, Association for Corporate Growth and TEMPO Milwaukee. She previously served on the boards of Cheney Company, Moore Oil and Cardiac Advancements.
A longtime leader in the M&A community, Linda is a founding member of AICA - Alliance of International Corporate Advisors, as well as past president and chairperson of the International Network of M&A Partners, a global network of highly respected merger and acquisition specialists. She is a frequent public speaker, presenter and panel participant on M&A topics, and has earned honors including the Woman of Influence Award and ACG Meritorious Service Award.
Linda earned a B.A. in accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma. She earned an executive MBA with honors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Vice President Treasurer, MGIC
Lisa Pendergast is currently the VP Treasurer of MGIC. Her responsibilities include debt and capital market activities, investment of $5 billion investment portfolio, investment of benefit plan portfolios, daily cash management and payroll. Prior to joining MGIC 18 years ago she was International Finance Manager at Harnischfeger Industries and Treasury Manager at Universal Foods Corporation.
She holds a BS degree in Education from University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and an MS Degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She is a member of Professional Dimensions and TEMPO Milwaukee, and a Steering Committee Member of the TEMPO Milwaukee Women’s Affinity Alliance. Lisa is also a board member on Messmer Catholic Schools Board, sitting on the Finance Committee and the Human Resources Committee. In her spare time she enjoys golf, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and biking.
Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP
Nancy K. Peterson is a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP where she leads teams to solve legal and business problems. With a focus on environmental law, she helps manufacturers, family businesses and trusts set strategy, successfully close transactions and resolve disputes through mediation and litigation. As an elected Executive Committee member, she also helps lead her 500 lawyer firm and oversees legal personnel functions across 10 offices in the US.
Her efforts have led to national and local recognition of the firm's successful diversity and mentoring programs. Most notably, Quarles & Brady was nationally named "Best BigLaw Firm For Female Attorneys" by Law360 in early 2016, recognizing that 38% of firm attorneys are women, and 31% of firm partners are women.
Nancy herself has been named a "Women of Influence" by the Milwaukee Business Journal (2008) and recognized as Best Lawyers Milwaukee Environmental Law "Lawyer of the Year" (2017) and Environmental Litigator "Lawyer of the Year" (2015). She is the incoming Chair of the Women's Fund of Greater Milwaukee board, past Chair of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts Governance Council, and board member of Early Music Now. Nancy lives on the east side with her husband, Jason Jentzsch, two sons, Morgan and Evan, and their labradoodle, Sydney.
President & General Manager, WISN-TV
Jan Wade, a television broadcaster whose experience includes senior positions within leading TV stations in six different markets, joined Hearst Television as President and General Manager of WISN-TV, the ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, in March of 2007.
Prior to her arrival in Milwaukee, she had served since 1994 as President and General Manager of WATE-TV, the Young Broadcasting-owned ABC affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee. Milwaukee is the nation’s 35th largest TV market; Knoxville is the 60th.
Before joining WATE, Jan served with WKRN-TV, Young Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate in Nashville, first as Marketing & Programming Director. After serving for two years as Marketing Director for WFLA-TV, the Media General NBC affiliate in Tampa, she returned to WRKN as Operations Manager and Programming Director. Before WKRN, she served in senior marketing roles at WLNE-TV, the Freedom Communications CBS affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island; and at WCCO-TV, the CBS owned station in Minneapolis and one of the country’s most honored stations. She began her career as an assistant promotions manager at Louisville CBS affiliate WLKY-TV, at the time owned by Gannett Television and now a Hearst station.
Jan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude as a Journalism and Broadcast double major. She is the current board chairman of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts and also serves on the boards of the Pabst Mansion, Professional Dimensions and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and is an active member of TEMPO Waukesha. Jan is also a former member of the ABC Television Affiliates Association Board of Governors as well as numerous other Milwaukee area non-profit organizations.
Jan has a dog-named Remy and is a huge animal lover, an avid golfer and tennis player, and loves to travel.
Kim Wengler is a Tax Partner in Deloitte’s Global Employer Services (GES). She is responsible for ensuring outstanding services and driving innovation for the clients she serves. She leads a team of more than 40 professionals.
Kim has over 25 years of experience in the mobility, human resource, talent and rewards. She has expertise in global mobility tax, individual tax compliance, global tax compliance in employment and payroll taxes, and international human resources.
Kim started her career in New York and Germany, working for another professional services firm. Kim returned to her home of Wisconsin in 1996, where she established a GES practice for Arthur Andersen. She joined Deloitte in 2002 and over her 17 years in Wisconsin, she has built the GES practice to a 12M global business.
Kim is currently the Talent Acquisition Leader for GES, responsible for all campus and experienced hire recruiting. She also served as the Talent Partner for the GES central region. In this role, Kim was responsible for developing strategies around performance management, recruiting, leadership development and learning. She is currently driving an innovative performance management pilot, which is shifting the culture of developing people. She is actively involved in Diversity and WIN initiatives.
Kim is has a BBA in accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a member of the AICPA, SHRM, and served as chair of the Outreach Committee for MM SHRM. Kim also serves on the board of directors for Hmong American Peace Academy, and is a former board member of the Saint Francis Children’s Center and the Alzheimer Association. She is a licensed certified public accountant in the states of Virginia and Wisconsin.
Kim resides in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and three children.