WF community talk backs

Our Community Talk Backs assemble diverse groups of people and facilitated intergenerational 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.

held in 2024

WF Community Book Read and Book Discussion… “The Inclusive Language Field Guide,” by Suzanne Wertheim, PhD

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

We continued the discussion started by Dr. Suzanne Wertheim at last November’s Women’s Fund Presents event on inclusive language. No matter the position, role, or identity, this thought-provoking discussion equipped attendees with practical tips for promoting inclusive language in their own lives and work.

It can be hard to figure out the right thing to say. Language can feel like a minefield, and many people are afraid of making embarrassing mistakes or getting “cancelled.” Worried about sounding outdated or out of touch. Or concerned that they’re not being as respectful and welcoming as they want to be. Through her book, linguistic anthropologist Suzanne Wertheim offers six common-sense principles to create a new set of inclusive language skills. 

This is an interactive experience, exploring the six principles outlined in the book. We are sharing stories of practice and adoption of using more inclusive language and providing opportunities for you to talk among yourselves, too. Whether you attended the WF Presents event, read the book, practiced a new language… or not, please join us!


  1. Reflect Reality: Ricardo Galaviz (any/all)
  2. Show Respect: Gillian Lester-George de Montesinos, speak. write. coach.
  3. Draw People In: Mia Zizzo-Gifford (she/her)
  4. Incorporate Other Perspectives: Daphne Ursu, Good Karma Brands
  5. Prevent Erasure: Elise McArdle (she/they), Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  6. Recognize Pain Points: Amy Muehlbauer


held in 2023

Wisconsin Supreme Court with
Justice Janine Geske 

Thursday, February 16, 2023
This was a virtual event via Zoom

Guests joined us for an important exploration of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justice Geske shared 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.

Michael Best hosted the event.

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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

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.

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

held in 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.

held in 2021

An American Sunrise: Poems by
Joy Harjo

Thursday, June 17, 2021

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.

The Alverno Report

Monday, March 29, 2021

The goal of the event was to create space for thought-provoking conversation.

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

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

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.

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 District 

held in 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.
Held at Michael Best Friedrich LLP // Cancelled as of 3.13.20

June 10, 2020
Community Talk Back: One Women, One Vote

  • Celebrating the 101st anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment in Wisconsin. Panelists: Deborah Patel, president of the Women’s Club of Greater Milwaukee
  • Dr. Chia Vang, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Peggy Creer – president, League of Women Voters
  • Shauntay Nelson, All Voting is Local

The event was held virtually.

June 23, 2020
WF Conversation… The Future 2023

As a follow up to the Women’s Fund Presents event of 2019, featuring futurist Rebecca Ryan, this was a discussion about the “Future, 2030” in times of uncertainty. Ahead of the WF Conversation, participants are invited to watch/listen to a recent recording of Rebecca and Jason Lauritsen about how to think like a futurist.

The event was held virtually.

held in 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, and Jacelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece

held in 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, and Joanne Williams

held in 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, Iyasele
Carmen Pitre, Setirah, Dr. Mary Spencer, RN, MSN, Sheila Washburn, and Emily Wright

Program Committee

Kate Brejcha, chair
Aurora Bautz
Cherie Harris

Heidi Furlong
Melissa McCord
Liz Syrrakos