Women’s History Op-Ed by Dr. Jeanette Mitchell

In Milwaukee, women’s history is happening all around us.

In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s take the time to celebrate the women of our city who are working hard to ensure everyone can climb the economic ladder, regardless of gender or race

By Dr. Jeanette Mitchell, Ed.D, Founder of the African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee (AALAM)

We’ve arrived at the month of March, and along with the welcome notion of slightly warmer weather also comes an opportunity to support and celebrate women — women who have strived for equity and equality throughout our country’s history, and the trailblazing women who continue to make history in the present, creating opportunities for the next generation.

In Milwaukee, there are many women working hard to ensure our city is one where everyone can climb the economic ladder, regardless of gender or race. And, in my work as the founder of the African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee (AALAM), I’ve been honored to get to know many of these women and experience their leadership first-hand through our African American Leadership Program (AALP). Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 200 Milwaukee-area African American professionals from an array of businesses, professions, and organizations—many of them women—have completed our cohort program.

As our city and country move forward toward a more equitable tomorrow, the work of AALAM is more important now than ever before. Not only is AALAM deeply dedicated to developing, supporting, and positioning our city’s pool of African American talent, but we’re also committed to improving racial equity through intentional actions that expand, support, and sustain African American leaders in all economic sectors and levels of our community. When Milwaukee’s women and professionals of color can thrive and prosper, everyone in the city benefits. 

At AALAM, you don’t need to look very hard to find evidence of passionate, powerful women contributing to making Milwaukee a city where everyone can thrive. For example, here are just four of the women who have been recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as Women of Influence who are alums of AALP:

  • Tammy Belton-Davis (2021 Woman of Influence, 2010 AALP graduate), founder and principal of Athena Communications
  • Denise Thomas (2019 Woman of Influence, 2016 AALP graduate), president of The Effective Communications Coach, LLC
  • Daphne Jones (2018 Woman of Influence, 2015 AALP graduate), president of Malone’s Fine Sausage
  • Angela Adams (2018 Woman of Influence, 2016 AALP graduate), Chief Communications & Diversity Officer at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago, Inc. 

We’re also honored to be supported by the work of Genyne Edwards, also a Women of Influence winner and recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2021 Diversity in Business award. Along with her P3 Development Group business partner Dominique Samari, Edwards has been instrumental in bringing AALAM to life, helping us to evolve our vision for the organization from its beginnings at Cardinal Stritch University to a robust and impactful organization focused on sustainable, system-wide change for Milwaukee’s African American leaders. 

Working alongside Genyne and AALAM is Margaret Arney, who has led the AALP since its inception at Cardinal Stritch. Arney is also poised to shatter a centuries-old glass ceiling in her home of Wauwatosa this spring, as she’s currently running unopposed for District 2 alderperson. Her win would make her the first Black woman to serve on the Wauwatosa Common Council. 

Recognizing we accomplish more when we work together, I’m also proud of AALAM’s partnerships with two women-led and women-focused organizations in the Milwaukee area – TEMPO Milwaukee and Professional Dimensions. Both important groups ensure our city continues to create a pathway for women to hold an equal place in leadership, policy, and decision-making in a myriad of industries and companies in our city.

As we’re taking the time to celebrate the women who have played a critical role in our country — and city’s — history, let’s also lend support to the groundbreaking women who are currently shaping our community’s future in real time. Women’s history is happening all around us. And that’s something we should celebrate every day of the year.

I encourage you to follow AALAM as we continue to shine a light on our city’s women leaders. Visit our website at https://www.aalamilwaukee.org/ to learn more about our organization, or to subscribe to our newsletter. 

Dr. Jeanette Mitchell is the founder of the African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee (AALAM) and is Chief Creative Officer of Leadership by Dr. Jeanette (LBDJ), a consultancy focused on engaging in creative partnerships to direct, design, and manage leadership development programs throughout the Greater Milwaukee community.