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Women of Industry 2018: Servant leadership on display

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From the pages of In Business magazine.

Register for the 2018 Women of Industry award program here.

With an impressive number of candidates to choose from, it’s no small feat to be selected as a Women of Industry winner. That’s especially true when those selected have demonstrated the kind of servant leadership, both to their organizations and their communities, as the 2018 winners.

When we launched this awards program four years ago, we did it to honor executive women who’ve made significant impacts in their respective industries, whether that industry is in the private sector or the nonprofit sector.

In this year’s program, we honor women who have excelled in senior social services, biotechnology, Boys and Girls Club and children’s museum programming, and information technology. One of them even doubles as a clown, and proudly so.

They join a list of prominent, accomplished people from our past Women of Industry programs. As you read the stories of this year’s selections, you’ll understand why they are so highly regarded by our Women of Industry judges.

On a recent rainy day, they took part in a photo shoot on the “floating” steps in the atrium area of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. It might have been pouring outside, but their examples shine a light on the many contributions women have made to Madison and Wisconsin business and nonprofits.

Legacy Winner

Christine Beatty

Redefining senior living

Photographs by Shawn Harper  

Christine Beatty was surprised to learn of her Woman of Industry honor. Her sneaky staff definitely has something to do with it, but they told a story that needed to be told about how Beatty, senior center and senior services director for the Madison Senior Center, has impacted senior social services here and elsewhere.

For her nearly 40 years of helping elderly Americans live more fulfilling lives, Beatty was selected as the legacy winner in this year’s Women of Industry awards program, joining past winners such as branding pioneer Marsha Lindsay and financial services trailblazer Betty Harris Custer.

The mission statement of the Madison Senior Center really captures her legacy of involving older adults as leaders, teachers, and learners, and providing balanced, diverse programs that act as an ideal model for aging. Thanks to Beatty, it’s a national model that has its roots in Madison.

“That’s actually in the mission statement of the Madison Senior Center, and it very well articulates what senior centers around the country are trying to do in terms of supporting older adults in the latter years of life,” Beatty notes. “Before we get to the fragile era in anyone’s life, we want older adults to be engaged in our community and active, and indeed they are.”

Of all the groundbreaking initiatives she’s had a hand in — changing mindsets, getting seniors more involved in the community, and improving services for LGBT seniors — Beatty is most proud of national senior center accreditation. Like the seniors they serve, senior centers have gone about the task of re-inventing themselves, but when Beatty set out in this professional direction 40 years ago, the perception of older adults and their quality of life was much different. Before she could change minds in the general public, she had to convince the elderly themselves that they had more to offer.

Despite a host of elderly stereotypes that seniors themselves once bought into, it’s now rare to see a retired person who is idling away, glued to a rocking chair. “If you ask them about what they intend to do in retirement, it’s very clear that they have certain roles and that they have a plan to contribute to their community as a volunteer or with their faith group,” Beatty says. “I love to see that.”

Beatty also loves the fact that nonprofit organizations receive due consideration in the Women of Industry awards program. She’s also appreciative of winning the legacy award, given the impressive number of Greater Madison women who have excelled in leadership positions. “I was so pleased that In Business magazine considers nonprofits and people in the social services field to be a part of the industry, so the idea that I could be chosen in this capacity was a surprise but also quite an honor because I know that here in Madison, we have so many remarkable leaders who are women. I’m delighted.”

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