Women’s Leadership Series focused on C-suite skill sets

Feature Women Leadership Series Panel
Mollie Bell, a credit union executive, conducting a past session of the Leadership Series.

The next installment of a leadership series for women executives and professionals will feature Wisconsin business executives who’ve been there and are doing that, and not only is the program an opportunity for professional women to advance their careers, it’s also a chance to set the female leaders of the future on their own path.

The TEMPO Madison Leadership Series, which is a partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Evening and Executive MBA Programs, resumes on Thursday, April 22, from 7:30–9:15 a.m. As has been the case for the past year, it will be presented in a virtual format, but this time if offers access to three professional women who are thriving in the C-suite.

According to Dr. Leslie M. Petty, assistant dean of the Evening Executive and Professional MBA Program at the Wisconsin School of Business and the current president of TEMPO Madison, the panelists include: Kelly Kauffman, the human capital officer of the Milwaukee Bucks; Kimila Daniels, chief administrative officer of Quartz Health Solutions and a panelist on In Business magazine’s 2020 Black Economic Empowerment Roundtable; and Rochelle Klaskin, the deputy executive director and chief administrative officer for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. The program, titled “How to Elevate and Be Elevated,” will be facilitated by Vicki Holschuh, president and CEO of Goodwill of South-Central Wisconsin and a member of TEMPO Madison.

Petty, who has been instrumental in developing this professional development opportunity for women, says it will mark the first time the series has had an opportunity to spotlight a panel of women who have advanced up the corporate ladder. Panelists will share their experiences as both the recipient and provider of mentorship, they will discuss their professional journeys developed through networking, mentorships, and sponsorships, and they will address how to approach mentorship and sponsorship within organizations.

Lesliepetty Photo

Dr. Leslie M. Petty

“So, in other words, how are women going to create a platform that will tear down barriers for women?” Petty asks. “We know women often don’t play on the same equal, level playing field.”

Leading the way
The Leadership Series began in 2016 to provide professional women a platform for professional development. Among the topics explored since then are business board leadership, which led to the establishment of Project Reach, plus diversity and inclusion, and gender equity, unconscious bias, negotiations skills, mindfulness, and even gaslighting in the workplace. Past speakers have included prominent nonprofit and business leaders such as: Binnu Palta Hill, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion for the UW–Madison School of Business; credit union executive Mollie Bell, former chief engagement officer for the Credit Union National Association and current chief development officer for Ent Credit Union in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Kristen Roman, chief of the UW–Madison Police Department; Cecelia Gore of the Brewers Community Foundation, the charitable arm of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball club; Julia Yates, a psychotherapist at the UW–Madison Department of Family Medicine; and Londa Dewey, CEO of The QTI Group in Madison.

The April 22 program is not limited to TEMPO Madison members, as other members of the academic and business communities are now invited to attended segments of the Leadership Series. For the registration fee of $35, attendees not only gain insight on a variety of topics, but they also support a program whose proceeds fund scholarships offered through the TEMPO Madison Foundation to local high school girls who already are demonstrating leadership qualities. Thus far, thousands of dollars in scholarships have been issued to high school seniors who embody the TEMPO Madison mission and who need financial assistance to reach their potential. Four or five scholarships typically are awarded on an annual basis, and recipients are not required to have a specific academic direction.

“The concept behind this is to raise money for scholarships for young emerging leaders — 12th graders out of high school who have a financial need and who have demonstrated leadership qualities,” Petty explains. “All proceeds go directly to our foundation, and our foundation is where those scholarships come from.”

Prior to 2020, the breakfast events were held in person at UW–Madison’s Grainger Hall and the Madison Club, but since the pandemic, organizers have pivoted to virtual events. Fortunately, those have proven to be just as popular as in-person events, and given the different needs and preferences people have, a hybrid approach is in the offing even when society fully reopens. An autumn program is being planned, which will be the first opportunity to deliver content in the hybrid format — in-person access and remote access via live streaming.

“We’ve learned a lot this past year due to the pandemic,” Petty notes. “As we continue to strategize our future for TEMPO Madison, and this goes for the Leadership Series and any other programming, we’re really going to have to offer a hybrid because there will be circumstances where individuals still may not feel comfortable attending in person but still would like to get the content. We’ve also learned that not every speaker is comfortable recording their material, so we would like it to be an opportunity that affords equal access.”

Since virtual events do not require meal planning, registrations will likely be accepted up to two days before the April 22 event, which will be open to any professional women who is interested in a forging an executive career. “We used to offer this exclusively to our [TEMPO] members, but now we have opened the program up to guests,” Petty says. “We realize how some of these topics are beneficial to many women in the community, so we’ve opened it up to external guests. It’s also a great way to spotlight TEMPO Madison.”

Part 2
While organizers are still lining up speakers for the fall series, Petty indicates that the content would involve some follow up. “So, it starts in April with ‘How to Elevate and Be Elevated,’” Petty notes, “and then in the fall, sometime in September or October, we’ll have the next part — ‘You’re at the Table: Now What?’”

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