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 18 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 23.3% in 2021.





In 2021, fifteen women were added to Wisconsin public company boards resulting in 23.3% representation, surpassing 21.2% last year and the largest percentage since we began measuring. While this is encouraging, there is still much work to do.

MWi strives to achieve our mission through three pillars:





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

Kim Stoll


Vice President Sales & Marketing,
Badger Meter, Inc.

Kristin Dufek

Kristin Dufek

Vice-Chair / Chair-Elect

President, Eppstein Uhen Architects Inc.

Nicole Pienkos

Nicole Pienkos


Senior Vice President, Group Executive, Regional Banking, FIS Corporation

Sandra Cunningham


Versiti, Inc.

Patricia Ackerman

Immediate Past Chair

A.O. Smith Corporation, retired

Lisa Cieslak

External Engagement Co-Chair

Chief Financial & Business Operations Officer, GMR Marketing

April Dunn

April Dunn

External Engagement Co-Chair

Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, ManpowerGroup

Julie Glynn

Julie Glynn

Member Engagement Co-Chair

Executive Vice President, Chief Retail Officer, WaterStone Bank

Cecelia Gore

Cecelia Gore


Executive Director, Brewers Community Foundation

Karen Hung

Karen Hung

Member Engagement Co-Chair

CEO & Founder, Silver Rock Consulting

Lisa Pendergast


MGIC, retired

Marilyn Vollrath

Communications & Marketing Chair

Senior Consultant,
Reputation Partners

Peggy Williams-Smith

Research Chair

President & CEO, VISIT Milwaukee


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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