Julie Raye is Chief Marketing Officer for The Bartolotta Restaurants. She leads all strategic marketing and sales efforts for the company, the award-winning Milwaukee-based restaurant group that operates 16 restaurants and catering venues. Julie’s team covers a wide range of responsibilities, from launching new restaurant concepts and promoting events to building customer engagement through the Bartolotta Rewards program.
Raye recently joined the PD Board of Directors as the VP of Communications and she reported that she is enjoying getting to know the amazing leaders in this organization, and seeing the power of these women coming together to help each other and our community.
Two pieces of advice she received that have helped her both personally and professionally is to “trust your gut” and to “never sell yourself short.” She says it’s easy to listen to other voices, and to believe the naysayers around you, but if you believe you have what it takes and your instincts are good, you can accomplish anything.
The leadership trait that Julie admires most is empathy. “If you have empathy, you can truly appreciate people and what they care about. You can lead from a place that respects and truly inspires those around you.”
Julie is married to Chris Johnson, Co-owner/President of Tri-marq Communications. They recently moved downtown and are enjoying all that the city has to offer! They live with two cats, Zinny and Beau.
Guilty Pleasure activities: “I play ice hockey on a women’s league called the Brew City Blades. I picked up the sport in my mid-40’s and am completely addicted to it! Tennis is another sport I play a bit and follow the professionals. I also love to travel, especially international travel. I try to go somewhere new and far away every year. And, of course, given the industry I work in, I love good food – both dining out and cooking it myself.”
Favorite SE WI restaurant? “I love all of the Bartolotta Restaurants, but probably my favorite is Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993 in the Village of Wauwatosa. It is cozy and quaint, and the food is authentic Italian prepared by an exceptional chef.”
Her favorite travel destinations are places that have great natural beauty, history, culture and exceptional food and wine. For her, it’s hard to beat Italy. There are many countries in Europe she hasn’t visited yet, but would love to see Germany, Slovenia, Ireland, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries.
If she could meet someone living or dead that she admires, Julie said she would love to meet her great grandmother who came to America from England in the 1890’s by herself. She would love to know her full story – why she left, what it was like for her, and how she found her way.
Michelle L. Hinton, MBA, is Executive Director of United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM). As Executive Director, she leads UNCOM by promoting its mission and strategic vision while overseeing all aspects of fiscal management, administration, operations, programs and services.
The mission of the United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM) is to strengthen city neighborhoods by combining and enhancing the assets of its partner agencies to improve the quality of life for urban families. To achieve this mission, UNCOM proactively seeks opportunities to provide the resources that will improve the quality of neighborhood life across the city of Milwaukee. It provides an invaluable forum for discussion, education, and mutual support among the eight neighborhood centers’ leaders who comprise UNCOM's Board of Directors.
Within Professional Dimensions, Michelle enjoys participating in Conversation Circles as a facilitator. She enjoys the intimate conversations and getting to know the members on a personal level. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Charitable Fund.
When asked about the best professional advice Michelle has received, she feels it is important to keep your eye on the result. “People aren’t interested in why you didn’t get it done. They want to know you can get it done.” A leadership trait she relies on is to leverage the talents and contributions of every team member to accomplish a goal.
Hinton has a large, blended family of eight children (4 boys, 4 girls) who have given her and her spouse a total of (so far!) 14 beautiful grandchildren. They make for fun but exhausting holidays! Her personal time includes travel, reading and cooking. She gets her news from online news sources and USA Today. Favorite local restaurant? SURG’s Carnevor Restaurant and the Pfister’s lobby lounge.
If Michelle could meet someone important in history, it would be Diane Carroll. She describes her as the epitome of poise and class. She’s someone Michelle always looked up to as a girl identifying how to be a lady!
The last book Michelle read that she would advise others to read is “Evicted”, by Mathew Desmond. Her bucket list of places to visit includes Venice and Thailand.
Since 2003, Anne Curley’s consulting practice, Curley Communication, has specialized in brand clarification. She helps businesses and not-for-profits whose image is outdated, incomplete or just undifferentiated. To address this very common problem, she developed a cost-effective process for figuring out what an organization’s name realistically can stand for and what it ideally should stand for to attract the relationships – customers, donors, employees or members – that fit best. She has used this process to help reposition and strengthen the brand identities of scores of organizations including health care systems, manufacturers, social service agencies, financial service providers and others.
“Getting crystal-clear on the critical few differentiators you’re going to focus on is a powerful competitive advantage. It attracts talent, fosters great cultures, fuels growth and just generally breeds success. I enjoy this work so much it doesn’t even feel like work, because I’ve seen how transformational it can be for an organization.”
Ann follows this advice: “When someone asks you to take on an assignment you’re not sure you can handle, just say yes. It feels scary to get in over your head but, assuming you’ve got a smart one on your shoulders, stretch assignments are the best way to grow your capabilities and advance your career. I admire the ability to balance self-confidence and humility.”
Regarding PD membership, Ann loves the relaxed camaraderie of Third Thursdays. She noted that Patrice Nault has done a fantastic job of perpetuating this PD advantage. Leisure time activities for Curley include scuba diving in warm places, kayaking on rivers in Northern Wisconsin and playing sheepshead, “that outstanding card game known almost nowhere in the U.S. except in Wisconsin.”
When asked what media sources Ann likes to rely on, she replied “Having spent the first 11 years of my career as a newspaper journalist, I’m a huge believer in the importance of supporting quality journalism. I read the digital New York Times and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel every day. I also love The Week, a very well curated collection of brief and diverse perspectives on the past week’s news ranging from international conflicts to popular culture. It’s the most efficient way I know to stay reasonably current on what’s happening across a wide range of subject areas.”
Nina V. A. Johnson is the Senior Vice President of Community Affairs and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Officer for Associated Bank. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the bank’s CRA program, including the development and support of low-and-moderate income (LMI) relationships within Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota; leading the bank’s community engagement efforts; and strategic development of the lending, investment and service needs of under-served communities.
Nina has worked in the banking industry for more than 35 years and has held several leadership roles in her tenure. She has an M.B.A. in Global Business Management and Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management. She is also an author: her 2015 book was entitled “Recession…I’m Not Participating”. It was about the recession from a Christian perspective.
As a community-minded professional, she serves on more than a dozen nonprofit boards and councils, including ACTS Housing Advisory Council, Children’s Hospital Anti-Bullying Advisory Council, Dominion Bible College Trustee, Froedtert Hospital Board, SecureFutures Advisory Board, M.A.T.C. “Promise” Cabinet, The Salvation Army, UWM Graduate School Cabinet and the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin Board. Nina serves on a handful of national committees that support the growth and modernization of the CRA. Her latest work includes an American Bankers Association (ABA) collaborative white paper on the “Modernization of the CRA”, submitted to the United States Treasury on December 6, 2017. She is also a member of Milwaukee Women Inc.
Since joining PD in 2016, Nina’s favorite PD activities are the luncheons because “I get the chance to see my peers, while meeting new up-and-coming leaders. There is a positive energy when like minds come together and I enjoy being in that type of atmosphere.”
Regarding the best professional advice she has received, Nina states that she has been fortunate to have good people with wise advice in her sphere of influence. She gave a recent example of someone giving her good professional advice was when she was asked to let go of things that no longer served her. It was the beginning of a shift that moved her goals and aspirations from one level to the next! (“Thank you, Rhonda” she said.) She really admires servant leaders and those who lead by example. She also greatly respects when someone is able to share their experiences and mentor staff in their meaningful purpose.
Nina is a wife and mother of two sons, 18 and 11. She is the only child of a phenomenal woman whom she calls “Mom.” Her mother is the cornerstone of her family and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Marian University class of 2016. Nina’s favorite past-time is going to the movies, creating recipes and writing. Her guilty pleasure is eating a good slice of cake (cupcakes included). Her go-to media news sources are Wall Street Journal, Milwaukee Business Journal and CNN. The last book she read is "Prevail" by Dr. Cindy Trimm. She would love to travel to Hawaii.
Marcy Stanczyk serves as the Senior Vice President – Treasurer at Sargento Foods Inc. She has been at Sargento for 26 years in a variety of Finance & Accounting roles. Her responsibilities include banking relationships and overseeing cash management, as well as Credit & Collections functions. She plans to retire in the first quarter of 2018; she is starting to get things organized and ready for that event! Marcy joined Professional Dimensions in 2007 and really enjoys the dinner meetings, especially the progressive dinners. She praises the great networking opportunity and a chance to relax and have stimulating conversations with fellow members.
Marcy was asked to indicate what she believes to be a very important leadership trait. Her reply is humility: “The most effective leaders are humble, kind, and treat all with dignity and respect.” This seems to tie in with her favorite advice: “Accentuate the positive. Try to find the good in all people and situations.”
Stanczyk is married with two adult daughters – one works for PWC in Boston and one is in graduate school at the University of Minnesota. They are a tennis family. Marcy and her husband met through tennis and their daughters played high school tennis together. Their youngest daughter also played college tennis.
In addition to tennis, Marcy enjoys travel and biking. She has loved her travels in Europe, especially Spain and Italy. Australia is on her bucket list and hopes to attend the Australian Open Tennis Championships in the near future!
Another favorite is watching the TV show “House of Cards.” She had thought perhaps she would lose interest in the fictional politics, but with the current state of affairs in Washington, she still loves the show.
When headed out for a memorable meal, her favorite restaurant is Lake Park Bistro for Sunday brunch. “The view is beautiful and the food is incredible!”
As she needs to commute about 40 minutes to work to Plymouth each day, Marcy considers
WTMJ Radio her number one source of news. In addition, she enjoys reading the Wall Street Journal for business news.
When asked what famous person she would like to meet, Marcy said it would be Oprah. She finds her incredibly interesting & thinks she would be a lot of fun to spend time with!
The last book Marcy read was Nutshell, by Ian McEwan. The book is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from the perspective of a fetus!
Stephanie Anderson is the co-founder and Executive Vice. President of Creative Business Interiors, a 26-year-old. business interiors firm with showroom operations in. Milwaukee and Madison. They design, build and furnish. business interiors of all types using their own on-staff carpenters, painters, and furniture installers. They are an interior general contractor that designs and works inside existing structures, specializing in remodeling and furnishing business facilities. They have about 100 employees; many in design, project management, and business development.
What keeps Stephanie busy during the work day is mentoring and strategizing with the Account Executives and various project teams. Most of the projects have very aggressive timeframes and are quite complex. She attends a lot of client meetings in both the Milwaukee and Madison markets. She manages the Account Execs, working closely with the department managers. Anderson develop the messaging for their marketing and most of the training materials.
In her involvement with Professional Dimensions, Stephanie likes to attend meetings, especially Sacagawea. She is a member of the Small Business Owners Special Interest Group and wishes she had more time to participate in some of the other activities.
The leadership traits that Stephanie most admires is a person who is trust worthy. She describes that person as: “There’s so much that affects whether people can trust their leader. A trustworthy leader puts enough time in to prepare before speaking so they really know their topic. They think before responding and stay calm rather than reacting emotionally. You can tell a trustworthy leader something in confidence and they won’t use it against you or share it with others. Trustworthy leaders are inclusive, honorable, and are good at developing others.” The best advise Stephanie has received is to notice when people do things right. She also believes it is important to keep a gratitude journal so you don’t forget the things that you are thankful for.
Anderson has been married for 30 years to a wonderful and very caring man (Wayne) and they have one daughter (Lexi) who just turned 21. Stephanie loves to cook, read, do yoga three times a week. Other hobbies have been put on hold for quite some time, but she makes jewelry and sews and really wants to paint. She would also like to get back into music. She played the flute for years and wants to learn to play piano if she should ever find the time!
To keep up with news, Stephanie likes to follow Fox News. For personal reading, she takes in alternative health books and business books. The last book she read is “The Power Formula for Linked In Success” by Wayne Breitbarth. She is about to read “My Two Elaines” by Martin J. Schreiber which is about the journey of the caregiver of a wife with Alzheimer’s. Her father recommended it. The person she would most like to meet is Brene Brown, an author and speaker, whom she finds very interesting.
On the local dining scene, Stephanie loves Mason Street Grill. They have live music on the weekends. Someday, Stephanie hope to travel to Hawaii and Alaska.
Meet Victoria Walker: Victoria joined PD in 2015. Sheis Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager for U.S. Bank, Brown Deer Branch. She loves assisting customers with their financial needs. Her day consists of motivating, developing, supporting and coaching her team members to succeed in their roles.
Walker is new in becoming involved with Professional Dimensions and has enjoyed attending the Bon Appetit Special Interest Group, which tries new restaurants every six weeks or so. At the latest Bon Appetit dinner at Third Coast Provisions, she heard many suggestions from other members on ways to become more involved in PD.
Victoria’s leisure time is spent with her husband and walking their two dogs, Kolby, a Westie Terrier and Prince, a Cocker Spaniel. She reads the Milwaukee Business Journal and watches MSNBC to keep up with business and world news. Her favorite Milwaukee restaurant is Texas Roadhouse. When asked what is the best advice that she has been given, Victoria reports that it is to always treat people with respect and kindness.
Professional Dimensions focused on “A happy community” as its final theme for the 2016-2017 year. Walker said that a happy community is one that is vibrant with activities attractive to visitors and residents. Victoria is also happy when she is shopping!
Meet new member Hope Liu: education professional, political activist, mother and wife. Hope is the Dean of the newly created School of Continuing and Online Learning at Cardinal Stritch University. As Dean, she is the strategy leader for the university’s online programs and courses. She collaborates with the other four Colleges to ensure that their online programs are of high quality and that their faculty are prepared to teach online.
In her words, “I would say that my approach to higher education’s “business” is a little different. I don’t see boundaries for education. I like to experiment with curriculum design that works for any one of our diverse learners - our traditional Bachelor’s degree seeking students, our graduate students, regardless of whether they want to take their courses online or not. I like thinking about the forces of change acting on higher education and creating options that respond to those changes, anticipate the direction of higher ed, but also maintain a valuable experience for the learner. It’s tricky juggling all the variables and coming up with a solution, but I enjoy working with my team to generate new ideas and approaches that work for our learners.”
Hope joined PD in December after being recruited by Theresa Reagan (they worked together previously at Children’s Hospital of WI). Hope recently started the Stritch Community Online Partnership (SCoOP) which encourages civic and arts organizations, and other non-profits to work with the School to use its technology and expertise to put their courses online. Some of their current partners are the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee Zoo, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and, Make a Difference Wisconsin, led by PD’s Brenda Campbell.
After attending the Women’s March in Washington, DC, Hope became co-leader of the North Shore Huddle. Initially planned to be a group of 10-12, it now is a hub of activism for 175+ folks who live on the North Shore. Her commitment to keeping the members informed and engaged knows no bounds.
In reflecting on PD’s “Happiness in the community” series, Hope states “I think a happy community is one in which all members are healthy. And by healthy I mean they are safe. They are cared for. Their mental, emotional and spiritual needs are met and also challenged so they may grow. Healthy means that people are accepted as they are and can accept others for who they are. Everyone has the ability to become the best person possible through acceptance and support and working together. It’s a belief in the best of each other.”
Hope is married to CJ Wauters, an attorney at Godfrey and Kahn. They are parents to a daughter, Ellie, who is 6. Top news sources: CNN and JS Online. Favorite SE WI restaurant and/or bar: “I can’t believe I have to pick one...La Merenda because it’s lively, casual, and the food variety is amazing.”