Milwaukee, Wis. (February 26, 2021)—Professional Dimensions, a leading women’s professional association in Milwaukee, has intentionally updated its long-term strategy, and brand, to reflect its belief in the value and power of women leadership. In this process of evolution and re-invention it has renamed and reimagined its signature event.
With that, Professional Dimensions is proud to announce its annual leadership award, formerly the Sacagawea Awards, is now The Professional Dimensions Imprint Award. The association shares this exciting change as it prepares to launch a new award nomination process and grow its incredible community of honorees. Nominations will be open March 1, 2021 at www.professionaldimensions.org.
“As an organization committed to developing and networking leaders in a time of unprecedented controversy and division, Professional Dimensions was called to evaluate our ‘status quo’ and follow our values of continuous learning and intentional inclusion,” said Lauren Feaster, CEO of Professional Dimensions. “To further this mission, we were also called to make tough choices about how our historical decisions and proud traditions that have defined our work conflicted with our values. Therefore, we took on the renaming and reimagining of our signature event formerly known as the Sacagawea Awards.”
In addition to the Professional Dimensions Imprint Award, Professional Dimensions has added the Ideation Summit as an annual event focused on inclusion and diversity. The association has also revamped its Racial Equity Initiative (Conversation Circles) and diversified its board and membership. In tandem, it has taken bold steps in programming, doubled its commitment to its Charitable Fund and continuously refreshed and renewed its membership offerings.
The Sacagawea Award
Professional Dimensions’ Sacagawea award was created in 1982 to recognize two trailblazing women who exhibit the spirit of Sacagawea. This prestigious honor acknowledged exceptional leadership by “Women Who Inspire,” and celebrated their career achievements. Through this award Professional Dimensions has honored 78 inspirational women from the Milwaukee community, and raised more than $1.7 million for causes that benefit women and girls.
“While standing firmly in our beliefs about the importance and intention of the award, we knew there was a need to elevate and prioritize the voices and experiences of our indigenous leaders and members,” said Feaster. “We determined that while maintaining the bold, courageous energy with which this award was created, we would no longer continue to present an award whose name would appropriate a culture. We are committed to finding a way to tell a more complete story about the complexity of Sacagawea’s life, continue to honor her in the way her descendants desire, and still celebrate the achievements of trailblazing women in our community.”
The reality of events in 2020/21 has opened new ideas for the future. They have also placed renewed emphasis on virtual programming/networking and redefining “normal”. As an organization, Professional Dimensions has never shied away from bold change in pursuit of better, and these concerns gave the association an opportunity to turn its words into meaningful action.
“After months of conversation with members, sponsors and award recipients— along with an incredible partnership with BVK—an independent, full-service national advertising and branding agency headquartered in Milwaukee, we have committed not just to a new name, but to thinking differently about how we recognize and celebrate leadership,” said Feaster.
To “imprint” is to make a lasting mark. It also describes when one person comes to recognize another as a source of trust and support. An “imprint” is defined as a mark or depression made by pressure and an indelible distinguishing effect or influence.
Award recipients not only make a mark in their professional lives and community, but also create meaningful, empowering connections with other women. Like the definitions of “imprint,” they are both successful and supportive. They truly embody the well-rounded character trait, and Professional Dimensions is honored to celebrate their lasting impacts.
Nominations for Professional Dimensions Imprint Award will be open March 1st. Visit professionaldimensions.org for more information about the awards, Professional Dimensions’ mission and membership opportunities.
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (June 30, 2020) - Professional Dimensions (PD) announces a reimagined event for their 39th Annual Sacagawea Awards, traditionally held in March. To ensure the health and safety of its 600+ guests due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual event is now virtual and will be held on July 16, 2020. The new format is a combination of virtual networking, a live-streamed awards ceremony, and professionally produced video. There will be live social media feeds, special guests, sponsored elements, and a surprise gift delivered to registered guests so they can celebrate safely at home with honorees Cecelia Gore and Jacqueline Herd-Barber.
“I’m excited to bring a new vision for the way virtual events are done,” said Wendy Terwelp, the 2020 Sacagawea Awards Chair. “This will be a highly interactive virtual event to celebrate and honor our awardees, Cecelia and Jackie, and wow our members, guests, and sponsors. This event also raises funds to benefit the Professional Dimensions Charitable Fund (PDCF) joint project with the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin (YWCA SEW), The Ripple Effect,” she said.
“The Ripple Effect supports systemic change at the intersection of racism and sexism. The inequities that women and people of color are facing because of the COVID-19 crisis point out to all of us the criticality of this work,” said PDCF Board of Directors Chair, Janet Slater. “PDCF is grateful for the support of our sponsors, PD members, and those in the community giving us the opportunity to grant $50,000 to the YWCA SEW for this joint project. Thank you for being a part of creating systemic change!” she said.
The Sacagawea Awards was created to recognize trailblazing women leaders in our community. This year, honorees Jackie Herd-Barber and Cecilia Gore, have both created a legacy of leadership, philanthropy, and community throughout Milwaukee.
“This year’s honorees represent the best of PD and of Milwaukee: they are fearless, inclusive leaders who have committed themselves to positive action on behalf of our community,” said Judith Mouton, PD Board President. “During this moment of unprecedented change in our city and world, Jacki and Cecelia are the kind of leaders we need. PD is proud to honor them,” she said.
Cecelia Gore is a collaborative leader and change agent with a passion for community excellence and impact. She is a senior level executive with extensive experience leading community and external affairs, foundations/sports philanthropy, and nonprofit management. Currently, Gore leads the Brewers Community Foundation, the charitable arm of Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club (MLB).
Jackie Herd-Barber is an active community volunteer, serving on several community and civic boards in Milwaukee. She is immediate past chair and current board director of the Marcus Performing Arts Center Board, and past chair of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee urban League, Rotary Club of Milwaukee and MSOE Alumni boards. Herd-Barber serves on various boards throughout the Greater Milwaukee Area, including serving as co-chair Milwaukee Succeeds, an initiative to improve the quality of education to every child in the city of Milwaukee.
Each honoree will receive a custom work of art created by Anne Raskopf, the 2020 celebrated Sacagawea Award Artist. Anne also created a painting for the permanent Professional Dimensions art collection at Alverno College. Raskopf is an Oconomowoc-based artist, known for residential and commercial murals adorning homes and establishments throughout the Lake Country Area.
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (June 25, 2020) - Professional Dimensions has named executive and community leader, Lauren Feaster, as its new CEO. She will begin her work in August 2020. In her role, she will partner with the Professional Dimensions Board to drive strategic programming and community impact. She is currently the Chief of Staff for Teach for America Milwaukee and has been with the organization for the past five years. During her tenure, she has been involved in community partnerships, fundraising, staff oversight, and business operations. Earlier in her career, Lauren was the Chief of Staff for City Year Milwaukee and worked in program management, training and evaluation, and community outreach.
Lauren is well known in the Milwaukee community as a forward thinking leader and change agent. The Professional Dimensions selection committee proudly selected Lauren based on her leadership experience, vision, and plan to integrate system leadership which combines collaborative leadership, coalition-building and systems insight to mobilize innovation and action across an organization as a whole.
In community roles, Lauren serves with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation K12 Civic Response Team as co-lead, the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals, AALAM, City Year Milwaukee, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Global Shapers and on the board of LIT (Leaders Igniting Transformation). She has also served on the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum Education Committee. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently pursuing her Masters in Character Education.
Lauren’s appointment as the new CEO is a tangible example of Professional Dimensions commitment to cultivate meaningful action, shine a light on exemplary leaders and; continue to be one of the most diverse professional organizations in Milwaukee with an emphasis on inclusion and racial equity.
Covid-19 Pandemic Accelerates Charitable Fund Grant Award
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (April 22, 2020) – Women’s professional association Professional Dimensions expedited a $50,000 grant from its Charitable Fund to the YWCA of Southeastern Wisconsin (SEW) to support its response to the local challenges of COVID-19. The organization made the decision to award these funds, knowing that the pandemic has devastated women and communities of color here and across the nation.
Professional Dimensions Charitable Fund Board Chair Janet Slater said, “We deliberately make this grant to address racial and gender inequity at a time when women of color face unprecedented challenges. YWCA Southeast Wisconsin has demonstrated its resiliency through innovation during the pandemic. Professional Dimensions members understand that our financial support will advance the cause of equity in Milwaukee now.”
In June 2019, Professional Dimensions selected YWCA SEW’s The Ripple Effect as its signature Charitable Fund project, pledging to raise $100,000 over two years. The Ripple Effect tackles economic disparities where racism and sexism intersect. The project leverages the networks and financial contributions of Professional Dimensions members for YWCA SEW’s economic empowerment programs and social justice advocacy work.
The project takes on new relevance in the era of COVID-19. Social determinants of health, including racism, segregation, poverty and economic disadvantage, place women and people of color in Milwaukee at a much higher risk to contract, and perish from, the virus. As YWCA SEW strives to address this injustice through their services and large-scale systemic change, Professional Dimensions leaders felt it was critically important to act now.
Ginny Finn, President and CEO of YWCA of Southeastern Wisconsin said, “YWCA SEW has pivoted over the past month to maintain essential service continuity for our program participants and partners. We deeply appreciate the generosity and flexibility of Professional Dimensions to help us navigate this health emergency. Their confidence empowers us to continue to address community challenges, while striving toward the just and inclusive Milwaukee we envision.”
Organization continues to lead by example in the area of diversity and inclusion
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Jun 27, 2019) – Professional Dimensions continues to lead by example in the area of diversity and inclusion by once again electing its most racially diverse board of directors in the organization’s history at its 2019 Annual Meeting Wednesday night. Women of color will hold 35% of board positions for its 2019-20 term, which begins September 1.
“As a leading women’s organization for over 40 years, we think it’s important to set an example for how to live out the values of inclusion,” said newly-elected Board President-elect, Judith Mouton. “We want to use our collective power to help build a culture in our community that embraces women of all backgrounds and benefits from wide-ranging leadership perspectives.”
In addition to being racially diverse, Professional Dimensions’ incoming leaders represent three generations, 11 industries and career levels ranging from young professionals to seasoned executives.
2019-2020 Board of Directors
President: Judith Mouton, Johnson Controls
Immediate Past President: Emily Phillips, BairdPresident-Elect: Jamie Pratt, Spano Pratt Executive Search
Secretary: Laura Arbuckle, Gruber Law Offices
Treasurer: Veronica Aria Maestro, Baird
VP Administration: Jennifer Walther, Mawicke & Goisman
VP Communications: Julie Raye, The Bartolotta Restaurants
VP Race Relations: Jennifer Allen, MGIC
VP Membership: Brenda Campbell, SecureFutures
VP Programs: Kate Dillow, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin
VP Nominations: Lauryn Deck, M3 Insurance Solutions
Recruitment Chair: Kate Venne, Brady Corp.
Charitable Fund Chair: Janet Slater, Greenleaf Partners
Tricia Geraghty, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Shaneé Jenkins, YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee
Renee Kirnberger, Pathfinders
Andréa Michel, Andréa Michel Consulting
Katie Podmokly, Baird
Peggy Williams Smith, Marcus Corp.
Liz Johnson, Godfrey & Kahn S.C.
Generous contributions from individual members and corporate partners empower Professional Dimensions’ Charitable Fund to double two-year donation goal to local non-profit.
MILWAUKEE — April 24, 2019 —Milwaukee-based Professional Dimensions, a network of more than 400 local women leaders, announced a second $50,000 donation to Pathfinders’ New Paths program on Denim Day, an international day designated to encourage supporters of sexual assault survivors to raise awareness by wearing jeans.
This second major donation to Pathfinders’ New Paths program matches the amount given by Professional Dimensions in 2018, bringing the total grant amount to $100,000 and doubling the original two-year donation goal.
Pathfinders’ is a local non-profit organization serving traumatized youth facing homelessness, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, mental health issues and crisis. In 2017, Pathfinders launched New Paths, its program to support youth who have been victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
The program was selected in June 2017, as the beneficiary of Professional Dimensions’ Charitable Fund, to receive a minimum of $25,000 annually over a two-year partnership. Donations from individual members and corporate sponsors enabled Professional Dimensions to double the annual goal in the first and second years of the partnership.
"We are extremely grateful for all of the resources that Professional Dimensions and its members have brought to Pathfinders; most importantly for shining a spotlight on an issue and a population of marginalized youth that are often invisible,” said Tim Baack, Pathfinders’ President & CEO. “This two-year partnership has helped raise awareness about the sexual exploitation and trafficking of Milwaukee's youth, increased their safety and supports, and enhanced the independence and self-sufficiency for youth survivors of sex trafficking."
The two-year partnership with Pathfinders continues through June 2019. To date, Professional Dimensions has donated more than $1.6 million to local projects and initiatives that advance the self-sufficiency of women and girls.
About Professional DimensionsFounded in 1978, Professional Dimensions is a membership organization of more than 400 inclusive women leaders who use their collective power to help each other and advance the community. Guided by four tenets, Leadership, Diversity, Community and Networking, Professional Dimensions cultivates relationships between women of all backgrounds, ages, industries and experience levels.
Pathfinders brings safety, hope and healing to Milwaukee-area youth facing homelessness, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, mental health issues and crisis through innovative and transformational services. Empowering Youth - Changing Lives.
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Jan. 31, 2019) – The membership of Professional Dimensions recently approved the elevation of the organization’s staff leadership position from Director of Operations to Chief Executive Officer, and named Johannah Karstedt St. John as its first CEO.
Karstedt St. John has served as the organization’s Director of Operations since 2017, and has played a key role in professionalizing the office, growing and strengthening its membership, and providing a consistent leadership presence. Emily Phillips, President of the Board of Professional Dimensions stated “this move is not only a recognition of Johannah’s contributions, but an important step in setting a foundation from which we can grow and realize our potential as an organization of inclusive women leaders, using our power to help each other and advance our community.”
Professional Dimensions is celebrating its 40th year, and is looking to position itself as being vibrant, vital and visible for the next 40 years. “Elevating this role to a CEO is an important signal to the community that Professional Dimensions is strengthening its presence as a thought leader in the business and philanthropic community,” says Phillips. The organization is looking to raise awareness and advance efforts in the area of inclusion and diversity, in particular. Professional Dimensions recently elected its most diverse Board of Directors in its 40-year history and hosted a summit on inclusive leadership on January 23rd, raising awareness and educating the community on inclusive work cultures in which diversity can thrive.
The CEO position creates more depth and continuity in the partnership between the Board of Directors and the office. Karstedt St. John commented that “Board terms are two years and our presidency term is one year. As we’re transitioning from leader to leader, achieving our strategic objectives requires the consistent presence of an executive level staff person.” In addition, “with a growing membership body that is connected 24/7 and an ambitious vision for the future, we could no longer rely only on a volunteer board and an administrative staff role.”
About Professional Dimensions
Founded in 1978 and celebrating its 40th anniversary, Professional Dimensions is a membership organization of more than 400 inclusive women leaders who use their collective power to help each other and advance the community. Guided by the four tenets of Leadership, Diversity, Community and Networking, Professional Dimensions cultivates relationships between women of all backgrounds, ages, industries and experience levels. More information can be found at www.professionaldimensions.org.
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Jan. 24, 2019) – Professional Dimensions hosted its first-ever Ideation Summit at the Pfister Hotel on January 23, 2019. The half-day event brought together more than 300 leaders in our community to focus on the topic of inclusive leadership in an already diverse world.
The CEO of Professional Dimensions, Johannah Karstedt St. John, kicked off the event by sharing the organizations’ own journey, the progress made to-date, and the desire to be an organization that models inclusive leadership. She noted “In June last year, we elected a Board of Directors that encompassed women from three generations, that included both seasoned and new members from a multitude of companies and industries. And, 33% of our board seats are currently held by women of color.”
The program keynote speaker was Arwa Mahdawi, a London-born, New York-based writer, brand strategist and diversity consultant. In her presentation she challenged the audience to re-frame how they think about diversity and inclusion efforts in order to evolve from simply creating a diverse workforce to truly embracing a culture change that allows for diversity to thrive.
Following the keynote address, corporate partners shared their thought leadership in a variety of breakout sessions, representing a range of topics designed to encourage deeper conversations. Headlining sponsor Baird led a discussion entitled Aha! Moments: How New Perspectives Lead to Action. Keynote sponsor Manpower Group led Inclusion as a Measurable Business Imperative. Other breakout sessions included AdvocateAuroraHealth’s Multi-Dimensional Challenges (Intersectionality), Brewers Community Foundation Inc.’s A Day in the Life, Goodwill’s Stop Doing Diversity, Start Living It, and Northwestern Mutual’s Middle Management: Where Diversity Goes to Die.
Professional Dimensions chose this year’s theme as one near and dear to the organization. Emily Phillips, President of the Board of Professional Dimensions shared that “just over a decade ago, we began having deep conversations as an organization about racial inequity and institutionalized practices that prevent the advancement of all. This process was sometimes uncomfortable and necessary to advance our understanding of our often sluggish progress as a country and as a city.” The Ideation Summit was created as a way to spark the conversation with thought leaders in Milwaukee. Phillips stated that “we saw an opportunity this year to use our collective power to elevate a topic of importance in our community,” and added that this annual summit provides an ongoing platform for a variety of topics.
By Sari Lesk – Reporter, Milwaukee Business Journal
Jeanette Mitchell and May yer Thao were named the 2019 Sacagawea Award recipients by women’s organization Professional Dimensions.
Mitchell is the chief creative officer of Leadership by Dr. Jeanette, and Thao is executive director of the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. Both are “pioneering leaders” who were chosen based on their career accomplishments, commitment to the community and support for women’s advancement, according to a news release.
Johannah Karstedt St. John, the chief executive officer of Professional Dimensions, praised the award recipients, saying they've “blazed trails” for women to follow.
“Shining a light on women leaders who have contributed in this way is core to who we are as an organization, and we are proud to shine that light on Dr. Mitchell and Ms. Thao this year,” she said.
The awards were created in 1982 to recognize women who exhibit the spirt of Sacagawea, best known for joining Louis and Clark on their expedition westward from the Mississippi to the Pacific Coast. The awards will be presented during a March 7 dinner at The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser benefit local organizations that work to advance self-sufficiency for women and girls.
Mitchell works through her consulting business in partnerships that direct, design and manage leadership development programs throughout the region. Projects include the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, the African American Leadership Alliance-Milwaukee and the African American Leadership program, the release says.
Before starting her business, Mitchell was the program director at Cardinal Stritch University’s Leadership Center. Mitchell also previously served as president of the Milwaukee School Board.
Thao was recruited to the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce in 2014 to work in grants administration. After a year, she was named its executive director. She deployed the most business loans in the organization’s history during her tenure, according to the release.
Professional Dimensions credited Thao for growing the chamber’s profile and community outreach. She also developed relationships with organizations such as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp.
Artist Ian Baker Johnson will create three pieces for the awards. One will be created for each winner; the third will reside at the Sacagawea collection at Alverno College.
By Melanie Lawder – Milwaukee Business Journal
Milwaukee women's leadership group Professional Dimensions on Wednesday elected its board of directors for the 2018-'19 year, ushering in the most racially diverse board in the organization’s history.
Overall, 33 percent of the group's board positions will be held by women of color, according to a news release. Founded in 1978, Professional Dimensions' membership comprises 350 women throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
“Diversity has always been one of our core tenets," said newly elected president Emily Phillips in a statement. "We believe it is our duty to use our power, as a leading women’s organization, to further advance our community by shining a light on women of color and ensuring our leadership is representative."
From the restaurant industry to health care and utilities, Professional Dimensions' directors also hail from 12 different industries. The following is the full list of Professional Dimensions' board of directors for the 2018-19 year:
President: Emily Phillips, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.
Immediate past president: Karen Vernal, Vernal Management Consultants, LLC
President-elect: Judith Mouton, Johnson Controls
Secretary: Christine Baranoucky, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Treasurer: Natasha King, Next Door Foundation
Karen Hunt, P.A.V.E.
Shaneé Jenkins, YMCA Metro Milwaukee
Renee Kirnberger, Pathfinders
Melinda Krueger, Salesforce
Rebeca Lopez, Godfrey & Kahn SC
Laura Lutter Cole, Visit Milwaukee
Andréa Michel, Hoffman York
Jennifer Allen, MGIC
Katie Podmokly, Baird
Danielle Bly, We Energies
Julie Raye, Bartolotta Restaurants
Brenda Campbell, SecureFutures
Joyce Rubenstein, Capstone National Partners
Tricia Geraghty, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Janet Slater, Greenleaf Partners
Kate Venne, Brady Corp.
Erica Gumieny, Advocate Aurora Health Care
Michelle Hinton, Uncom Milwaukee
Jennifer Walther, Mawicke & Goisman
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