Marci Boucher, President and CEO of IndependenceFirst, recently moved here from California. Why, you ask? She loves that “last call” is at 1:30am! Marci appreciates the monthly Professional Dimensions programs as well as the Bon Appetit get togethers. She sees it as a great opportunity to try new restaurants while getting to know people on a personal level.
Marci feels that the best advice she’s been given lately has been, “don’t ever say you’re a Bears fan!” When asked about leadership traits that she admires, Marci quoted Chae Richarson, “courage is not living without fear. Courage is being scared to death and doing it anyway.” She feels that advice applies to so many situations.
Her guilty pleasure activity since coming to Milwaukee involves enjoying fresh cheese curds or Kopp’s Custard and then going for a nice hike or bike ride to burn it off. Milwaukee has so many good restaurants to choose from but when she is looking to feed the whole family dinner and have a cocktail in one, she goes to Sobelman’s for a gigantic Bloody Mary with a whole chicken in it. Only in Wisconsin!
If Marci could meeting any person, living or dead, she replied that she would like to meet the original Bernie Brewer Mascot so she could slide down into a vat of beer. The book she last read was “How to Survive a Wisconsin Winter.” When asked if she could go someplace she has never been, she said she would go to the Wisconsin State Fair to enjoy some infamous Cream Puffs. It is apparent that Marci has jumped into Wisconsin living with both feet and we are delighted to welcome her! Please introduce yourself to Marci when you see her at a Professional Dimensions activity.
Constance Palmer is the President and CEO of Outreach Community Health Centers, one of five federally qualified health centers in Milwaukee that are set up to make sure that everyone, regardless of income, insurance status or ability to pay has access to high-quality healthcare. The organization started as Healthcare for the Homeless, and still provides homeless services and other community-based programs that extend beyond primary care and behavioral health services. Outreach is a large organization with many moving parts. Most of Constance's day gets spent in meetings and on phone calls with the leadership team, outside collaborators, board members and other supporters.
Constance says that one of her favorite Professional Dimensions activities is the Race Relations Conversation Circles, because they create space where people can candidly talk about race, and this has given her the opportunity to build relationships with people who don't look like her.
She has always followed this piece of advise given to her regarding professional career: don't chase money, find a mission that is important to you and will make you happy. "When I was in banking, I felt I wasn't making a difference in the community," Constance says, "now I feel like Im making a difference in the world." An important leadership trait she admires is the ability to build relationships. Her mother had that trait as well as other great leaders Constance admires.
Constance is a proud mother of two sons and a proud grandmother of four grandchildren. They live in Florida, but she can FaceTime with them frequently. She also has two dogs: Miles and Neko.
When asked who she would most like to meet, dead or alive, she responded Jesus. She would have so many questions! Most importantly, she wold ask him "How did you make people love the way you did?"
She recommends the book, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable," by Patrick Lencioni. She thought it was a very good read and is looking at ways to apply with current leadership here at outreach community health center involving training.
It is has been a lifelong dream of hers to go to Africa and spend 1-3 years doing mission work with young girls and young women teaching empowerment skills.
Constance Clark is the Program Development Specialist of Arts@Large. As a career professional with 30 years of experience in theater, her role helps to provide financial opportunities for artists and develop visual, performing and culinary programming for schools that have lost arts funding. The existence of Arts@Large is very important to the Greater Milwaukee community. With a 16-year history, the organization pays much needed stipends to artists in specific communities and delivers program development that is central to the continued success of the fine arts.
As a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Constance's immersion into theater was derived from family tragedy which highlighted the overwhelming need in her community for adult-directed nurturing, creative arts for youth. What began as a families' attempt to cope with their tragic loss grew into the African American Children's Theater (AACT), an organization funded on grants, donations and sponsorships that epitomized successful youth programing in urban space. For decades, under Constance's leadership, the AACT was the source of escapism and survival for Milwaukee youth.
As an artistic woman, Constance partakes in live productions whenever possible and spends a great deal of time exploring literature. Recent titles include Isabel Wilkerson's The Great Migration and Terarai Trent's The Awakened Women. Through these avenues, she is able to remain engaged with the prevailing themes that connect artists with the long tradition of theater in the United Sates.
Storytelling in theater has allowed her to evolve into a person who uses theater to render vulnerable and unintelligible voices in disparate communities relevant. She describes herself as a proud member of the village vanguard. Constance enjoys several Professional Dimensions special interest groups including the West Side Lunch group and member meetings. She also travels throughout different parts of the United States and is currently interested in visiting New Orleans to conduct family research. Someday she would like to visit Africa.
Please make sure to introduce yourself to Constance when you see her at one of our upcoming events or pick up the phone and give her a call!
After spending 35 years in consumer publishing, Catherine Cassidy hung up her corporate spikes to join her husband Steve Boylan at BEACON Business Group, a business brokerage that specializes in helping owners of family-owned and privately held companies get the greatest financial benefit when they're ready to sell. She describes her work as interesting and rewarding. "We're helping people to make an important transition in their lives, a transition that is filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. And like our clients, we are a family business. I love working with my husband and stepdaughter!"
Catherine’s favorite PD activity so far has been the Mentor/Mentee event last year, where she paired with Laura Piotrowski of Cavendish Consulting. Although she was the designated “mentor,” their time together gave her great advice and insights for her company as well. She also loved participating in two SIGS: Bon Appetit and the Founders’ Alliance.
The best advice she ever received was when she worked for Runner’s World magazine, her first job out of college. A tenured editor told her she had to learn to “ski the conditions.” She took that expression to heart and it has been her motto ever since. The other great piece of advice she received was from her mother, “don’t let other people make up your mind for you, Catherine. Use your own judgement”
Catherine admires people who require accountability but lead with kindness. These are people who set goals, expect results and actively provide feedback in a respectful way. She has always strived to be this kind of leader.
Catherine and Steve each have two kids for a total of three girls and a boy, all in their mid-to-late 20s. After 14 years together, they have become an amazingly close-knit family. They have acquired three more “kids,” a son-in-law, a soon-to-be-son-in-law, and an 8-year-old step-granddaughter. She has also gained a loving bunch in Steve’s brothers and sisters. Their very best times are when they’re with their family.
They enjoy seeing live music, especially the blues, and watching Wisconsin sports. Dining out in Milwaukee is almost a sport for them, their favorite spots being Sanford and County Claire. For sports watching and great wings, she recommends Points East Pub.
She reads the Journal Sentinel every day and watches Fox 6 (local, not national) most days. She also reads the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Biz Times, and the Shepherd Express when she sees it.
She would have most liked to meet her maternal grandfather, John Kerr. He died when her mom was two years old. Over the years, she has learned that he was always the life of the party, a good business man and a very nice individual. He was the love of her grandmother’s life, and when he died, she never found a true love again.
The last book Catherine read was The Oz Principle. She’s in a women’s business book club and it was the choice book for last month. Although all that was written was true, it still wasn’t her favorite. Her most recent personal choice: Bear Townby Fredrik Backman.
While she was running on the corporate hamster wheel, the only thing she wanted to do on vacation was sit on a beach, read books and drink ridiculously sweet drinks. Aruba, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Rico, Myrtle Beach, Jupiter, Florida, Carlsbad, California. Now that she’s in the entrepreneurial world, her leisure sights have turned to Europe. Her family is celebrating her mother’s 85th birthday with a cruise through the Greek isles, and her and Steve have a tripped planned to Ireland in November. She’d also one day like to canoe down the Snake River in search of raptors.
The best advice that she has received is to Accept and Expect mistakes, which was learned from Mr. Rogers. Additionally, she has also learned that when she begins and ends her day in prayer, the unsurmountable seems non-existent. Lastly, when facing a challenge, she simply says… “This too shall pass.”
There is not one specific leadership trait that she admires… but she would certainly say that Accountability, Integrity, Humility, Inspiration, and Failure are in her top 5.
“My family is my EVERYTHING and we are very close knit! I have been blessed with an amazing husband who is extremely supportive, two beautiful daughters (one University of Connecticut graduate currently pursuing a career in multi-media journalism and one sophomore in college- Howard University- Administration of Justice/Entertainment law major) who inspire me to do better. My parents continue to push me daily. They instilled a spirit of excellence, servant leadership and service. I strive to make them proud daily”.
Jenkins loves high school and college sports- specifically basketball and track. Both her brother, husband and eldest daughter were Division 1 athletes at the college level so it’s always fun to watch. When she is not spending extra time in the gym or in the stands, she likes to “veg out” on Netflix & Hulu or spending time with family and friends.
CNN and the Washington Post are Shaneé’s go-to news media sources. Her daughter interns with Angela Rye so she tries to stay as connected as possible.
Her new favorite restaurant is Bellis Bistro & Spirits in Bay View. She is also a fan of BrownStone Social Lounge on Water Street.
Someday Shaneé would love to meet Ava Duvernay, Rachel Maddow, Shonda Rhimes, Colin Kaepernick, and Chris Cuomo.
She is currently reading Becoming by Michelle Obama.
Aruba is her favorite travel destination. She would also like to visit Africa and Greece one day.
Jennifer Allen has been a Professional Dimensions member since 2015 and serves as an at-large Director of the Board. In her professional life, she is the Credit Policy Analyst from MGIC (Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation). She spends the majority of her day reviewing lender loan programs to determine if their programs are an acceptable risk for the company. Her group also supports the underwriting organization with complex loan scenarios.
As a PD member, Jennifer says “I love everything about PD!” She is especially enamored with the Conversation Circles and has participated three times, once as a participant and the last two as a co-facilitator. She has met women through this program who will become lifelong friends.
When asked about the best advice she has received either personally or professionally, she replied it is to “be your authentic self”. The leadership traits that she most admires are honesty and compassion. This is not surprising when you hear Jennifer describe her family. “I come from a hard driven, determined, working class family. My father was a strong man who instilled good work ethics in all of us. My father would not tolerate a lazy person and my mother had no patience for quitters”.
Regarding her leisure time activities, Jennifer enjoys golf. She says she is not a good golfer, but does enjoy playing. Her favorite guilty pleasure is “really good tequila”! Allen tracks news on media sources NPR and Politico. Her favorite local restaurant is Mason Street Grill Happy Hour with a live band (where she probably drinks really good tequila). The book she feels that should be on everyone’s reading list is Michele Obama’s Becoming. Jennifer loves to travel to anywhere warm near a beach which sounds like a good idea during a Wisconsin winter. Thinking about which people Jennifer would love to meet, she said it would be a tie between Langston Hughes and JRR Tolkien. They both had great imaginations and a breath-taking command of the English language.
Jennifer Allen is welcomed into Professional Dimension and her example of getting involved in activities and leadership is to be admired. Take the time to introduce yourself to her and get to know her.
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.