WF community talk backs

Our Community Talk Backs assembled diverse groups of people and facilitated inter-generational conversation about relevant topics to advancing equity for women. These Talk Backs are dynamic and engaging.

Recognizing that convening the community is an important part of our work, the Women’s Fund organizes unique events throughout the year. Each is designed to provide information, connect people, create conversations and inspire action.

Many events are held in March in honor of National Women’s History Month. Our Community Talk Backs assemble diverse groups of people and facilitate intergenerational conversation about relevant topics to advancing equity for women.

We utilize a variety of venues to help set the tone for each panel discussion. We have experts in each subject willing to share their insights, perspectives and opinions. These became the backdrop for engaging conversations among attendees that prove communication is the first step in collaboration. We are grateful for all the support, attendance, and investments.

Program Committee: Kate Brejcha (chair), Aurora Bautz, Cherie Harris, Heidi Furlong, Melissa McCord, and Liz Syrrakos

Community Talk Backs 2023

WF Community Talk Back… Wisconsin Supreme Court
with Justice Janine Geske (VIRTUAL ONLY)

Thursday, February 16, 2023
Due to the weather forecast, we shifted to a virtual event via Zoom.

Join us for an important exploration of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justice Geske will share insights regarding campaigning, her life on the bench, and a preview of what we might see from the Court in 2023 and beyond.

We convene community as an important part of our work. Our Community Talk Backs assemble diverse groups of people and facilitate intergenerational conversations about relevant topics to advance equity for women. Utilizing a variety of venues to help set the tone for each panel discussion, we have experts in each subject willing to share their insights, perspectives and opinions. These have become the backdrop for engaging conversations among attendees that prove communication is the first step in collaboration.

Hosted by Michael Best

WF Community Book Read in Partnership with Ex Fabula… She Speaks

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Celebrating brilliant speeches that prove women have been powerful orators. Brave and bold women used their voices to inspire change, transform lives, and radically alter history. Discover with excitement who made the list and read an introduction by Yvette Cooper for each speech. “She Speaks” is inspirational, engaging, entertaining and thought-provoking. Not just one voice, but many voices! Join us in deepening our understanding of the role of women, along with their achievements and contributions in history.

In this partnership, Ex Fabula demonstrated its expertise in connecting the community through the art of true, personal storytelling at this event. Several people read a speech from the book, “She Speaks,” that resonated with them and then shared personal stories.

We  helped bring this event to fruition and funded a WF Flash Grant to Ex Fabula! 

Storytellers named by Ex Fabula  

Sue Blaustein
Selected speech: Kavita Krishnan’s “Freedom without Fear”

Michaela Lacy (she/her)
Selected speech: Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of Morning”

Alexis B. Outlaw
Selected speech: Sojourner Truth’s “I am Woman’s Rights”

Kim Shine
Selected speech: Audre Lord’s “There are so many silences to be broken.”

Speech Hosts
Bela Roongta Eitel
Selected speech: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi’s “We Should All Be Feminists”

Kate Brejcha
Selected speech: Eva Kor’s “A Message of Hope and Healing”

Partners That Promoted the Book… “She Speaks”
101.7, The Truth
Alverno College
Cardinal Stritch, This Week at Stritch
Milwaukee Women Inc.

Event Vision Sponsors
Kate Brejcha
Jaime Green
Ashton Henry
Nicole Horvath
Annette Jacobson
Heddy Keith
Kelly Ottman
Monica Shah-Davidson
Erika Sander
Alexandria Staubach
Liz Syrrakos
Noelia Velez
Debra Zarne

Community Talk Backs 2022

An important part of our work is creating social change, which means shifting attitude, behavior, and culture. We kept the conversation going about disruptors who were changing the power dynamics in 2022 with 35 Books to Read and Community Book Discussions. Each book remains relevant today, so we invite you to read all 35 or just skim one! Click here to access the list.

Community Talk Backs 2021

An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo; 6.17.21

This Community Book read was a chance for engaging conversation with the voice of Native American people. Each panelist shared her unique journey and related her experiences to what Joy presents in her poetry. We discussed how Native American women are contributing to society and heard from an elected official and a professional from corporate America.

Watch the recording:

Community Talk Back, The Alverno Report; 3.29.21 

This engaging Talk Back focused on the importance and value of women serving in elected office. Building on the findings of our Grant Partner, Alverno College, this Talk Back discussed the importance of women serving in office, why women choose to engage this pathway, and explored recommendations for increasing the number of women running for office in Wisconsin.  

In summary, the initial report findings said  there is not a specific path that women in public office need to follow. Women who run for public office find their networks or create them and they fit themselves into the role called for by the position of public office that they hold.

The research was funded in part, by the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee.  

Facilitator  Lindsey Harness, PhD. (she/hers), Alverno College 


Mayor Emily McFarland, City of Watertown 

Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson, Milwaukee County  

Director Paula Phillips, Milwaukee Public Schools  

Representative Jessie Rodriquez, Wisconsin State Assembly, 21st Assembly District 

Event Goal  To create space for a thought-provoking conversation. 

Download the Alverno Report -Wisconsin Women’s Pathway to Office Research Project – Women in Public Life

Community Talk Backs 2020

March 24, 2020
Women’s Networking Night, Reception and Performance: “Eclipsed”
Cancelled as of 3.13.20
A Chilling Portrait of War and Sisterhood a stunning tale of hope and resilience set in the midst of the Liberian Civil War
Held at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

March 27, 2020
Conversation Over Coffee, “Eclipsed”
Cancelled as of 3.13.20
Held at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

April 2, 2020
A Day for Pay Equity…Women’s Leadership Collaboration cancelled the event.
Held at Coakley Brothers
Sponsor: Park Bank Foundation
Facilitator: Andrea Hoeschen

April 21, 2020
Rapid Presentations: Nine Women, 20 Slides/20 Seconds Blitz
Women In Design cancelled the event as of 3.13.20
Held at Mortenson Construction (Honey Creek Corporate Park)

April 28, 2020
Community Book Read: What I Told My Daughter, Lessons from Leaders on Raising the New Generation of Empowered Women
is a collection of essays to reflect the best advice and counsel, either by example or in character-building, teachable moments.
Cancelled as of 3.13.20
Held at Michael Best Friedrich LLP

Community Talk Backs 2019

March 6, 2019
Women’s Entrepreneurship Week
Common Threads and Resources in the NFP Sector
Sponsored by Joan Bruce, WCW Club President
Held at Woman’s Club of Wisconsin

March 13, 2019
“The Chinese Lady” Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Sponsored by Legacy Private Trust Company and
Tri City National Bank

March 15, 2019
Conversation over Coffee, “The Chinese Lady”
Held at WF Sunny Table, Women’s Fund Office

March 27, 2019
Community Book Read: Broad Band
Sponsored by Arts@Large
Held at Mount Mary University

April 18, 2019
Rapid Fire Presentations by Women
Sponsored by Women Rocking the World
Held at Woman’s Club of Wisconsin

June 10, 2019
Celebrating the 100 th Anniversary of Wisconsin ratifying the 19th Amendment
One Woman, One Vote
Sponsored by Rotary Club of Milwaukee and Dr. Karen J. Maroda
Held at NŌ Studios

 Panelists and Facilitators 

Barbara Drake
Chris Grota
Kathy Henrich
Kathy Ligman
Lynnette McNeely, JD
Shauntay Nelson
Debbie Patel
Kat Ramirez
Rosemary Smith
Jacelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece

Community Talk Backs 2018


January 30, 2018
Sexual Harassment and Power
Collaborators: Professional Dimensions, TEMPO Milwaukee,
Women’s Philanthropy Milwaukee Jewish Federation
Sponsored by Adient
Held at 833 East

March 14, 2018
“One House Over” Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Sponsored by Johnson Financial

June 6, 2018
Women. Voting. Democracy.
Collaborator: League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County
Sponsored and hosted by Quarles & Brady LLP

 Panelists and Facilitators
Noelle Chesley, Ph.D.
Kathy Dolan, Ph.D.
Sara J. Geenen
Debi Miller, D., APR Fellow PRSA
Mary Kae Nelson
Nancy Peterson
Joanne Williams

Community Talk Backs 2017
January 24, 2017
March on Washington, An Experience to Share Partner: PEARLS for Teen Girls
Held at Quarles & Brady 
February 28, 2017
Hidden Figures of MKE Partner: St. Joan Antida High School
Hosted by MSOE University 
March 21, 2017
“Grounded” Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Sponsored by Johnson Financial  

April 28, 2017
In Honor of Denim Day: Emily’s Report, A Sexual Assault Survivor on Her Healing Journey Partner: Sojourner
Held at Sojourner Family Peace Center

May 18, 2017

When Everything Changed, The Amazing History of American Women from 1960 – Present
Held at Woman’s Club of Wisconsin

June 23, 2017

Title IX, the 45th Anniversary
Held at Marquette University 

Panelists and Facilitators
Paul Anderson
Nicki Barnes
Corry Jo Biddle
Amanda Braun
Ethel Davenport, MSN-HCSM, RN
Linda Gorens-Levey
Christine Grota
Margaret Henningsen
Bernell Hooker
Mary Pat Jacoby
Sangita Kasturi
Honorable Joan Kessler
LaTasha Langdon
Kim Marotta
AlKatrine Patterson
Carmen Pitre
Dr. Mary Spencer, RN, MSN
Sheila Washburn
Emily Wright