The Greater Milwaukee Committee – About Us

The Greater Milwaukee Committee is a private sector civic organization whose mission is to contribute to the cultural and economic base of the Milwaukee Metropolitan area.

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GMC Initiatives

The Greater Milwaukee Committee's work is implemented through its initiatives and committees. Learn more about our work throughout the community.

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The Commons

The Commons is a collaboration between the GMC’s MiKE initiative and Startup Milwaukee that works to attract, develop and retain the brightest entrepreneurial minds by creating a cross-university program that promotes the applied use of entrepreneurial teachings.

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Welcome to the Greater Milwaukee Committee

The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s mission is to make Greater
Milwaukee the best place to live, learn, work and play.

Our membership – comprised of our region’s business, labor, academic, philanthropic, nonprofit and civic leadership – believes that intelligent, active interest in public affairs is the true measure of citizenship, and the foundation for community.

Northwestern Mutual to receive fourth annual Mary Ellen Stanek Award

Award honoring diversity in corporate governance given by Greater Milwaukee Committee & Milwaukee Women inc.

MILWAUKEE, February 3, 2016 – The Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), in conjunction with Milwaukee Women inc (MWi), will bestow the fourth annual Mary Ellen Stanek Award for Diversity in Corporate Governance to Northwestern Mutual at the GMC annual meeting on Monday, February 8th, from noon-1:30 p.m. at the University Club of Milwaukee.

The Mary Ellen Stanek Award, established in 2013, is given to an individual or entity exhibiting leadership, influence and impact resulting in increased diversity on corporate boards in our region. The inaugural award was given to its namesake, Mary Ellen Stanek, and subsequent winners include ManpowerGroup’s retired Chairman Jeff Joerres and Wisconsin Energy Corporation Chairman and CEO Gale Klappa.

“Northwestern Mutual’s commitment to diversity is evidenced by their outcomes and their efforts,” said GMC president Julia Taylor. “Northwestern Mutual’s Tower and Commons project is involving Milwaukee residents for more than 40% of the hours worked on the project. The building project also supports supplier diversity, encouraging emerging minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses to help provide the products and services the enterprise needs. This is a huge priority for the GMC as well, and we appreciate working in tandem with Northwestern Mutual on supplier diversity efforts.”

Northwestern Mutual focuses on diversity at all levels. The company works to attract diverse talent through its Howard University Partnership, and supports mentoring opportunities for students at Washington High School of Information Technology. It has earned recognition as a leading employer, making the list of “Top 100 Employers for the Class of 2012” by Diversity Employers magazine.

“Northwestern Mutual’s Diversity and Inclusion corporate committee includes senior executives and key leaders,” said Milwaukee Women inc Chair Phyllis King. “This clearly shows their strong commitment to fostering diversity in the workplace and in corporate governance.”

Nominees for the Mary Ellen Stanek Award are reviewed on an annual basis by MWi and the GMC Future Workforce Committee, and the award is announced and granted to the recipient at a GMC membership meeting.

The Greater Milwaukee Committee comprises 200 passionate CEOs who work together to make Milwaukee the best place to live, learn, work and play. Currently led by President Julia Taylor and Chair Ted Kellner, the GMC creates new ideas and implements solutions in innovation and talent, economic prosperity and vibrancy of place. For more information, please visit

Milwaukee Women inc is a nonprofit organization working to increase the number of women corporate directors and executive officers. The group carries out annual research and produces an annual report on the gender diversity of the boards and C-suites of Wisconsin’s 50 largest public and private companies. MWi promotes awareness on the benefits of gender diversity and offers educational programs to increase the number of qualified women board candidates. For more information, please visit

MKE Fellows Program expands: Internship component aims to attract diverse talent to Milwaukee

From BizTimes
Published January 11, 2016

Upon acceptance into the MKE Fellows Program, Devon Kidd attended a signing day in his high school’s library, similar to the kind of signing day colleges and professional sports teams hold for promising athletes.

Kidd, a 2012 graduate of Rufus King International School, recalls then-Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent Gregory Thornton nodding to the event as the first at which he’d seen young black men drafted into a program based on academics, not sports.

Athletic agility in young black males isn’t an issue, Kidd said.

“But we need to see variety in black men,” he said, from academic strength to talents in acting, singing and drawing.

Helping young black men groom those kinds of talents and chart a pathway through college is at the center of the MKE Fellows Program.

The college pipeline program, which recently rebranded, launched in 2011 to give talented area students the opportunity and full tuition support to enroll in the all-male, historically black Morehouse College. The Atlanta school has educated leading figures like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson.

With a surge of interest from students, the MKE Fellows Program expanded in 2014 to include other historically black institutions. Program organizers also built out an internship component last summer in order to expose students to Milwaukee’s business community and help them realize their potential to pursue a career in the city.

That internship program’s capacity will more than double for 2016 as organizers aim to provide job experience to about 40 college students across 20 to 25 employers. The program is also casting a wider net among schools, as students from schools that are not historically black are eligible to apply – schools such as Marquette University, along with the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Platteville.

Read the full article here.


MKE Fellows Program Seeks to Keep the Brightest of Young Men in Milwaukee

From CBS 58
Aired December 22, 2015

CBS 58

Milwaukee – A local program is trying to convince talent students to keep their talents in their hometown.

On Tuesday, Mayor Tom Barrett and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch attended a luncheon for the MKE Fellows Program.

The program provides scholarship to local students attending Morehouse College in Atlanta.

The Tuesday event was designed to connect those students with local leaders and let them know the benefits of coming back to Milwaukee.

“It’s about exposing these students to the great things happening in our state of Wisconsin,” explained John Daniels of Quarles and Brady Law Firm. “And getting employers to see that there’s some wonderful  talent that we can attract to Milwaukee.”

“To me, it’s the type of positive reinforcement that’s necessary,” added Mayor Barrett. “Because these are young guys and for a lot of them, they could write their own ticket, they could go anywhere in the country.  We want them to write their ticket to come home.”

Several local companies support the MKE Fellow Programs, including Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, The Boys And Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Aurora Health Care,  the Milwaukee Bucks, BMO Harris Bank, and GE Healthcare.

Read the full post and view the video here.


A Letter from the President & Chair: December 2015

Dear GMC Members and Partners,

Thank you for your continued commitment to the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Together, we are building a global city where all people want to live, learn, work, play and stay. Milwaukee is on the cusp of many transformational changes. Our economy, our educational systems and our downtown and neighborhoods have significant opportunities and challenges. Your commitment provides the civic drive to create game-changing opportunities in Milwaukee.

We create a city where people learn by creating learning environments that develop highly skilled and innovative people who are key to our community’s economic prosperity. Educational success grows the talent pool and sets the stage for innovation.

  • Education happens in the classroom. We build a pool of talented teachers through our Teachtown MKE initiative. Teachtown MKE again partnered with organizations like Teach for America and City Year to make their educators feel welcome in a new city and help them to find housing through Find My Spot.
  • We work closely with MPS superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver to foster innovation and excellence in our 26 high schools. Over the summer, we partnered with MPS to host a strategic actioning session to reimagine MPS high schools.
  • We are deeply engaged with the M3 partnership on the reinvention of Bradley Tech by creating stronger articulation pathways between Bradley Tech, MATC and UWM in Bradley Tech’s freshman class, and will chart indicators in college readiness and preparedness as we move forward with this important initiative.
  • At the pre-college and college levels, we are a key partner in Milwaukee Succeeds – Goal 3, postsecondary and career readiness – and are working with area student retention experts on strategies to help close the skills gap in Milwaukee.

We create a city where the next generation of leaders wants to stay.

  • At the high school level, we now partner with Inspire Southeast Wisconsin to take the Talent Dividend’s My Life! My Plan! statewide. Inspire Southeast Wisconsin pairs freshmen with growing career paths in our region and real-time, real-life volunteer business coaches. Currently, we have 33 active company profiles with a goal of 75 for fall, 38 active coaches and 103 active career-based learning activities. Through the My Life! My Plan! program, the GMC set the stage for state education and career preparation standards.
  • The GMC’s innovation initiative, Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE), creates programming that convenes corporations, universities and colleges and talent networks to foster an innovative workforce in the Milwaukee area. In 2015, MiKE expanded a unique entrepreneurial skills accelerator – The Commons (in partnership with Startup Milwaukee) – that has so far provided 210 students from 21 universities and colleges with an entrepreneurial experience that creates an environment for learning teamwork, risk and reward and critical thinking. This is the first time we’ve seen so many of our region’s higher education institutions collaborate and financially support a program like this. MiKE also partnered with Creative Alliance Milwaukee in 2015 to host the inaugural Walk the Talk conference exploring the intersection between creativity and innovation. The conference, attended by 250 change-makers, featured more than 30 local innovators and creatives, including an additional 25 local leaders who served as “super colliders,” and highlighted 20 Milwaukee organizations and companies.
  • As an expansion of our support for the Earn to Learn program, we provide corporate internship matches with young men of color attending Morehouse College and other historically black universities so they return to Milwaukee for their careers. In 2016, we will expand this opportunity to 40+ students with the creation of MKE Fellows.

We create a city where people want to live and play. We believe in the power of place. We use new methods and tools for designing and programming public spaces to increase civic engagement, connect across economic, racial and gender divides and accelerate both the city’s and neighborhoods’ success.

  • We partner with the City of Milwaukee and our civic innovators, NEWaukee, WAM DC, Riverworks and Creative Alliance Milwaukee, who test new ideas to make our city more successful. These ideas include the NEWaukee Night Market, originally funded with an ArtPlace grant to the Greater Milwaukee Committee; WAM DC’s creative placemaking subcommittee, in collaboration with the GMC’s Creative Placemaking Committee; and art installations along the Beerline Trail Extension in the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods.
  • In 2015, the GMC’s Creative Placemaking Committee and Downtown Task Force focused on increasing vibrancy and prosperity in both the heart of our downtown and its equally important neighborhoods.
  • We’ve proven Milwaukee’s potential to national funders. The Kresge Foundation is the latest national foundation to endorse and financially support our work in creative placemaking across the city.
  • We create vibrancy in key areas of the city that build Milwaukee’s image as a city where people make a difference every day. From the NEWaukee Night Markets and CAM’s the Spot on West Wisconsin Avenue to the Beerline Trail Extension in the heart of Harambee, we enhance our partners’ ability to create a platform for change in our city and remove the barriers to affecting that change.

We create a city where people work.  Job creation is the answer to the significant disparity in Milwaukee, and the GMC creates and grows opportunities for prosperity in our region. If we want different outcomes, we need to change the inputs. Milwaukee is a slow job growth city. There are no silver bullets and the economic system is complex. We need to grow jobs at a greater scale to change poverty, violence and educational issues of our community.

Most job growth comes from small to mid-size companies with high growth potential. If we want to change the output of poverty, we need to change the input by creating jobs.This is why Scale Up Milwaukee is important.

  • We create a broad, powerful platform for companies to grow in Milwaukee. Our Scale Up Milwaukee initiative helps entrepreneurs of small companies realize large-scale growth in revenues and jobs.
  • Of the 27 companies that went through Scalerators 1 and 2, 100% experienced accelerated growth. The beginning total revenues of the companies were $65 million; total revenues to date are $95 million. The companies have confirmed 128 new position hires, with an additional 77 jobs expected to be created within the next year. In the current Scalerator 3 session, the 18 participating companies have more than $100 million in revenues.

Stay tuned for our 2016 plans in the annual report, available at our annual meeting on February 8th, 2016.

Thank you for your support, and have a wonderful holiday season.


Julia Taylor & Ted Kellner

Lovell, MiKE team up to improve, measure Milwaukee’s regional innovation index

From the Marquette Wire
Published December 3, 2015

University President Michael Lovell will work with the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) initiative to develop a way to measure the intangible quality of innovation in the city of Milwaukee.

Lovell, a co-chair of MiKE, first learned about the regional innovation index after attending a meeting of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, where he saw a presentation that discussed the regional innovation index.

“Innovation is something we’ve always striven to measure at MiKE, but given its rather broad definition, we’ve had a hard time finding a way to accurately measure innovative activity in the region,” said Michael Hostad, executive director of Innovation in Milwaukee, in an email.

Hostad said an innovation index will give the region a measurement to allow for comparisons with other areas around the country.

“This index will allow us to coordinate our efforts and measure our effectiveness,” Hostad said. “A highly innovative region can bolster economic growth while attracting and retaining top talent.”

MiKE is following the lead of researchers at Indiana University to define specific metrics that will create an index to measure innovation in Milwaukee.

The four metrics that make up the index are human capital, resources and support available for entrepreneurs, productivity/employment and economic well-being. Based on the four components of the regional innovation index, Milwaukee County currently has an innovation index number of 91.4 out of 100, according to the index on Stats America.

Read the full article here.


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