To achieve balanced representation of all women on boards of directors to  maximize the performance of public and private companies.


Milwaukee Women inc is an organization of executives determined to change the quality and composition of corporate boards to enhance the performance of public and private companies, with a focus on women and women of color.

Over the past 19 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 26.3% in 2022.

2003 Pie Chart


2022 Pie Chart


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

Former Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Fortune 200 

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, led by Betty Quadracci met in reaction to the April 2022 Milwaukee Magazine article, “Women & Power, The 10 Most Influential Women in the City”. The discussion focused on promoting research, educating community leaders on the value of diversity in corporate governance and management, and eliminating barriers to the full inclusion of women in leadership positions.

Milwaukee Women inc (MWi) started as a loosely structured organization without formal governance that was adept at fundraising to support its research. In 2010, Milwaukee Women inc (“inc” stands for inclusive) was incorporated and granted 501(c)(3) status.

The group published its first annual research report in 2004. The percentage of women directors in Wisconsin’s Top 50 public companies has grown from 9.3% to 23.3% in 2021. MWi has evolved to include more than 130 steering committee members and over 30 sponsoring organizations that support our goals financially and through their active participation.

MWi Founding Members

Sharon Canter
Kris Martinsek
Maureen McGinnity
Maria Monreal Cameron
Deborah Patel
Joan Prince
Betty Quadracci
Kris Rappe
Christine Rodriquez
Carol Skornicka
Janet Slater
Mary Ellen Stanek

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