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Stephanie Bradley Wilson wins ATHENA Award

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Bradley Wilson also has been involved in Madison area schools. Through the Foundation for Madison Public Schools, she was selected for a program called A Principal Experience 2018, which provides community leaders with hands-on opportunities to experience the rewards and challenges that MMSD principals, teachers, and students have on a daily basis. She also helps other women reach their management potential with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, where she has served in roles centered on leadership and mentorship.

Bradley Wilson grew up in Beloit after her parents moved to Wisconsin from Mississippi and they worked blue-collar factory jobs. Even though her parents did not go to high school, they wanted Stephanie and her brother to value and pursue an education. “They helped other family members, they supported my brother and me, and they believed in education,” she noted during her acceptance speech. “I believe it is critical to support public education. It is important to make college and other types of education accessible. It is critical to have healthy housing for all. It is critical to ensure we have access to clean water and inexpensive, quality food for all. So, I’m not running for public office, but I’m just putting that out there.

“As we look around the room, we need to hold our elected officials and ourselves responsible to make sure our children have a decent future. I encourage each of you to do your best each day to be a blessing to someone, be kind and compassionate, and again, thank you for this honor.”

ATHENA nominees

Raising the bar for Stephanie Bradley Wilson were five other 2019 ATHENA Award nominees, including the following Madison-area professional women:

  • Jocelyn Harmon, executive vice president-community engagement, strategy, and marketing, United Way of Dane County;
  • Susan Lipp, owner/co-founder, Full Compass;
  • Kim Sponem, CEO and president, Summit Credit Union;
  • Maggie Utterback, partner, Quarles & Brady LLP;
  • Tiffany Walker, vice president of operations, ATTIC Correctional Services Inc.

During the ATHENA Award program, Dr. Jasmine Zapata received the ATHENA Young Professional honor. Zapata, a Milwaukee native who went to medical school at UW–Madison, spoke to the audience about overcoming personal heartaches such as the loss of her younger brother, who she was very close to, when he was only 16, and difficult times such as the premature birth of her daughter — she was only 1-1/2 pounds — which required several months of hospitalization.

“When things get hard, dig down deep,” Dr. Zapata advised, “and remember your ‘why.’”

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