To achieve balanced representation of women on boards of directors to  maximize the performance of Wisconsin businesses.


Milwaukee Women inc is an organization of professional women determined to change the face and quality of leadership in the Wisconsin business community by increasing the number of women corporate directors.

Over the past 15 years, our annual research has shown a steady, but slow, upward trend in women on Wisconsin boards and a decline in companies with no female board members.

For example, the percentage of women on the boards of the top 50 Wisconsin public companies has increased from 9.3% in 2003 to 18.9% in 2018.





In 2018, 12 of the top 50 Wisconsin public companies had three or more women directors on their boards, an increase of 33% from 2017. While this is encouraging, there is still much work to do.

MWi strives to achieve our mission through:









Mary Ellen Stanek Award for Diversity in Corporate Governance

Each November the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) and MWi solicit individuals to nominate a person or organization for the Mary Ellen Stanek Award for Diversity in Corporate Governance. Learn more about the current and past winners.

Women’s Leadership Collaborative (WLC)

On National Equal Pay Day, April 2, 2019 Milwaukee Women inc, TEMPO Milwaukee, and Professional Dimensions, announced the formation of the Women’s Leadership Collaborative. As a unified voice to advocate for issues related to equity for all professional women, the collaborative has identified pay equity as a top priority.

Board of Directors

Lindsay Hammerer



Patricia Ackerman

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

Senior Vice President, Investor Relations, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability and Treasurer

Nicole Pienkos

Nicole Pienkos


Senior Vice President of Finance, Global Banking & Wealth Management

Sandra Cunningham



Sandy Wysocki

Immediate Past Chair

VP, Business Development,
Mueller QAAS

Lisa Cieslak

Chair, Fund Development

Chief Financial Officer, GMR Marketing

Kristin Dufek

Chair, Programs

Vice President,
Eppstein Uhen Architects Inc.

Kira Lafond

Chair, Corporate Outreach

Market President & Publisher,
Milwaukee Business Journal

Peggy Williams-Smith

Chair, Research Committee

Safe House – Senior Vice President, 
Marcus Hotels & Resorts

Kim Stoll

Chair, Governance & Membership

Vice President Sales & Marketing,
Badger Meter, Inc.

Marilyn Vollrath

Chair, Communications & Marketing

Senior Consultant,
Reputation Partners

Susan Martin


Executive Vice President – General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, WEC Energy Group, retired

Lisa Pendergast


Vice President & Treasurer, MGIC


In 2002, a group of Milwaukee women leaders got together to discuss how to promote research and education concerning the value of diversity in corporate governance and management, and eliminating barriers to full inclusion of women in leadership positions. The group published its first research report in 2003. In 2010, Milwaukee Women inc (the “inc” stands for inclusive) was incorporated and was granted a 501(c)(3) exemption from the IRS. Since then, MWi has evolved to include more than 85 steering committee members and over 30 sponsoring organizations that support our goals, both financially and through their active participation.

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