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 17 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 21.2% in 2020.





In 2020, nine women were added to Wisconsin public company boards resulting in 21.1% representation, surpassing 20.8% 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

Patricia Ackerman


SVP, Investor Relations, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability and Treasurer, A.O. Smith Corporation

Kim Stoll

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

Vice President Sales & Marketing,
Badger Meter, Inc.

Nicole Pienkos

Nicole Pienkos


Senior Vice President of Finance, Global Banking & Wealth Management

Sandra Cunningham


Versiti, Inc.

Lindsey Hammerer

Lindsay Hammerer

Immediate Past Chair


Lisa Cieslak

External Engagement Co-Chair

Chief Financial Officer, GMR Marketing

Kristin Dufek

Member Engagement Co-Chair

Vice President,
Eppstein Uhen Architects Inc.

Peggy Williams-Smith

Chair, Research Committee

President & CEO, VISIT Milwaukee

Karen Hung

Karen Hung

Member Engagement Co-Chair

CEO and Founder, Silver Rock Consulting

Marilyn Vollrath

Chair, Communications & Marketing

Senior Consultant,
Reputation Partners

Mara Swan

Mara Swan

External Engagement Co-Chair

Board member and EVP, Global Strategy and Talent, ManpowerGroup, retired

Lisa Pendergast


Vice President & Treasurer, MGIC

Cecelia Gore

Cecelia Gore


Executive Director, Brewers Community Foundation


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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