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.

A Letter from the President: April 2016

Taylor, JuliaOn Monday, the Public Policy Forum released a report entitled “Help Wanted” that examines the teacher pipeline issue in our region. Educator attraction and retention is not a new issue, but it continues to plague many cities throughout the country because of its multifaceted nature. Here are some important pieces that color this complex landscape in Milwaukee:

We’re fighting national trends. These educator trends are not unique to Milwaukee; our numbers reflect national trends. The New York Times recently reported that there is a teacher shortage nationally. Half of all teachers nationally leave the profession after five years. Many urban markets are facing vacancies including Oklahoma City, Providence, and San Francisco. Recently, Hawaii’s state department of education announced they will need to fill 1,600 vacancies for the 2016-2017 school year. Also, Wisconsin is not the only Midwestern state experiencing declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs; Indiana is facing similar issues.

We’re experiencing some demographic shifts. Decreasing enrollment is not only in teacher prep programs. Locally, Milwaukee metro-area colleges have seen a nearly 9.2% drop (7,224 students) in enrollment since the 2010-2011 school year. We believe that this drop is largely the consequence of demographic shifts. There were 15.2 million college students in 1999 and 20.4 million in 2011. The number of Americans turning 18 hit its recent peak in 2009, and will continue to decline through 2017, according to the New York Times. In the state of Wisconsin, youth ages 15-19 showed a population drop of 14,915 from 2010-2015, a 3.7% drop. (Source: UW Applied Population Lab and State of Wisconsin Demographic Services Center)

Still, there exist promising practices here in Milwaukee are already reversing this trend. These efforts work each day to make Milwaukee the top destination for urban educators throughout the region.

The GMC launched Teachtown MKE in 2013 and since then has welcomed nearly 2,500 educators to our urban schools, helped relocate nearly 500 of them to this region and continues to serve hundreds each month in social and professional development activities. In fact, educators that participate in Teachtown MKE activities are 15% more likely to be retained in the classroom.

Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee is a group comprised of our area deans of education who are working to address these issues collaboratively.

Alan Shoho, dean of the School of Education at UWM, is also working to engage local middle and high school students to explore careers in education. His pilot will be launching in fall so stay tuned for some additional information on this exciting initiative.

Americorps education programs such as City Year, Teach for America and College Possible are immersive opportunities for high school and college grads alike to begin their careers in the education field.

Additionally, there are recognized best practices for teacher retention including:

  • Increasing salaries: 97% of teachers who earned more than $40,000 their first year returned the next year, compared with 87% who earned less than $40,000. By the fifth year, 89% of those earning $40,000 or more were still on the job, compared with 80% earning less than $40,000.
  • The power of mentorship: 92% of teachers assigned a mentor their first year returned the next year, and 86% were still on the job by the fifth year. Only 84% of teachers without mentors returned in the second year, declining to 71% in the fifth year.

Milwaukee Public Schools includes both of these strategies for their first year educators. The MPS teacher starting salary is $41,262 and each new educator is paired with a teaching mentor.

We do not want this discussion to end here. In fact, we hope that this is just the beginning; our teacher workforce is one of our community’s most precious commodities. We hope you’ll join us on May 4th for a luncheon, in partnership with the Public Policy Forum, at the Italian Community Center, where we’ll continue this important conversation. The event will begin with a presentation of the new report by the Forum’s senior education researcher, followed by a panel of education stakeholders who will discuss potential solutions. For more details on this event, please click here (registration closes at 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 29).



Julia Taylor

Creative Alliance Milwaukee and Innovation in Milwaukee Announce Near West Side Neighborhood as Location for Walk the Talk 2016, New Speaker Series

Walk the Talk

MILWAUKEE—April 27, 2016—Creative Alliance Milwaukee (CAM) and the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) initiative are pleased to announce that the Near West Side (NWS) neighborhood will host Walk the Talk 2016. The partners today also announced the addition of a four-part Walk the Talk Speaker Series leading up to the fall conference.

“We are excited to showcase the assets of the Near West Side neighborhood to the hundreds of attendees of Walk the Talk 2016,” said Michael Hostad, executive director of MiKE. “The variety of cultural and entertainment venues, businesses and community assets in this neighborhood gives our planning committee a wealth of options to produce a blockbuster event in a Milwaukee neighborhood that is home to so much creativity and innovation.”

The inaugural Walk the Talk took place October 7, 2015, at more than 18 locations throughout the Historic Third Ward and Walker’s Point neighborhoods, including the Broadway Theatre Center, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, Global Water Center, JCI Innovation Center, Cramer-Krasselt, PKWare, Translator, SURG on the Water, Next Act Theater, WHEDA and Material Studios.

“Walk the Talk is an intentionally designed experience, and its cool factor is as much about where we host it as it is about who attends and what goes on throughout the day,” said Sara Meaney, board chair of CAM. “The Near West Side was a natural next location for the event, as its diverse and eclectic assets and the action-oriented tone of its leadership personify what the event experience is all about: creativity, innovation, action. The Near West Side Partners definitely walk the talk.”

“The Near West Side is a neighborhood of neighborhoods and home to some of Milwaukee’s most innovative and creative institutions, attractions and businesses,” said Keith Stanley, executive director of NWS Partners. “We look forward to partnering with CAM and MiKE on Walk the Talk 2016 and showing Milwaukee what we’ve got.”

Walk the Talk, the annual conference produced by CAM and MiKE, explores the intersection of creativity and innovation in greater Milwaukee. The event draws more than 300 regional thought leaders and practitioners in the realms of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The day-long event is hosted at multiple venues and features dozens of speakers, presentations and hands-on working sessions to bolster creativity, teach proven creative processes and foster innovative practices that attendees can apply in their workplaces. It is also the premier networking event for area creatives and innovators and those who employ or contract with them. Walk the Talk 2016 is scheduled for early October, with a date announcement expected in early May.

To build momentum and reconnect past attendees over the summer, CAM and MiKE will host a four-part speaker series leading up to the October conference. The first Walk the Talk Speaker Series, presented by Harley-Davidson and Southwest Airlines, will be on May 2nd at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and features Paul Topolos, an artist from Pixar Animation, who will share his story of the intersection of creativity and innovation within his industry. More information and registration for this free event is available at

About the Organizers

Creative Alliance Milwaukee exists to drive economic prosperity for all by fostering a more creative Milwaukee and a culture of innovation, ingenuity and entrepreneurship throughout the region.

Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) is an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee that creates and supports programming that convenes corporations, universities and talent networks (entrepreneurs, students, independents) in order to create a collaborative ecosystem and foster the development of an innovative workforce in the greater Milwaukee area.

About Near West Side Partners, Inc.

Near West Side Partners, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to revitalize and sustain the Near West Side as a thriving business and residential corridor, through collaborative efforts to promote commercial corridor development, improved housing, unified neighborhood identity and branding, and greater safety for residents and businesses. Near West Side Partners, Inc. is an organization of businesses and civic leaders from throughout the Near West Side, including the organization’s five anchor institutions – Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corp.

Milwaukee-area students from The Commons to present innovation projects

Published April 19, 2016
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Eleven teams of students from 17 post-secondary schools will present their innovation projects Tuesday night during presentations at Ward4 in downtown Milwaukee.

The projects, refined over the last nine weeks, range from a bracelet to help people calm their anxiety to a plan for earning reward points using mobile apps and other millennial-friendly tools, said Maggie Bryde, project manager at Innovation in Milwaukee, or MiKE.

Read the full article here.

A Letter from the President: March 2016

In this month’s and other upcoming president’s columns, I’d like to share some personal stories of success stemming from our initiatives.

Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE)

College students try to make the most out of their school experience, and Michael Snowden, a business major at Cardinal Stritch University, is no exception. Michael was one of ten students chosen to participate in MiKE‘s Destination Innovation program, a collaboration with Southwest Airlines and Kohl’s Department Stores. Despite never having flown before, Michael embraced this opportunity to brainstorm with fellow students on the future of customer service and then pitch his ideas to other passengers while at 35,000 feet in the sky.

Michael remains connected to MiKE through our flagship program, The Commons, a skills accelerator that seeks to prepare college students for the 21st century innovation economy. Michael was accepted into the spring 2016 session and is working on one of six student-led startup teams called Doughnation, an app that will allow college students to easily support their favorite nonprofits. Michael and his team will share their final presentation on April 19th at Demo Day.

Another Commons participant, a Mount Mary University student, found a full-time job through The Commons. A communications major with no IT background, Shannon admitted she never would have applied for the job she ended up being offered at Kohl’s. She applied – and was hired – because The Commons gave her an opportunity to show her leadership skills and personality, which easily won over the Kohl’s team, who held the position for her until she finished school. Kohl’s had not often hired graduates from Mount Mary in the past – The Commons connected the dots. Learn more about Shannon here!


Teachtown MKE

One of Teachtown MKE‘s many offerings for our teachers is free tickets to sporting events. After a Marquette University basketball game, one teacher sent us a note:

“I went to the Marquette Game with my daughter last Saturday and it was a great daddy daughter date :) Thanks again for the tickets. Afterwards we went ice skating at Red Arrow Park and ate cake pops and drank coffee! She was so happy!!!! Thanks again, we plan on attending again. ”

Teachtown MKE not only provided this teacher and his daughter with a great experience, but encouraged him to explore downtown and continue attending basketball games.

Scale Up Milwaukee

Matt Carroll of AccuTrans was introduced to Scale Up Milwaukee well before the Scalerator recruitment period began. His business provided a coach and driver for a group of Brazilian emissaries visiting Milwaukee to learn about Scale Up Milwaukee and the activities growing the region’s economy. One year after the introduction, Matt has just completed the Scalerator program and has a growing list of related accomplishments marking his impressive growth. He’s acquired three other coach and limousine companies in just the last three months and received the 2016 Small Business Administration Wisconsin Emerging Small Business Award. All this, and AccuTrans is outperforming Matt’s ambitious projections with revenue that is nearly 90% ahead of the same date last year!

Stay tuned for more stories in coming months, and feel free to pass along any you might have.



Julia Taylor

Danish Advisor Explores Scale Up Milwaukee’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Published March 19, 2016

One deterrent to would-be new businesses is the fear of not being prepared in the beginning stages before the company has even made a name for itself.  Scale Up Milwaukee is one local organization working to aid entrepreneurs and innovators at the early stages of their business plan. Its “Scalerator” program is a six-month, seven-session training program that aims to teach business owners how to inject growth into their ventures. The program focuses on three primary areas: sales and marketing, organizational development and entrepreneurial finance.

The organization has been successful enough to attract attention from across the Atlantic.

The Danish Ministry of Business and Growth dispatched their chief advisor, Søren Boutrup, to Milwaukee for a month to participate in Scalerator. Boutrup had asked his employer for a learning opportunity in lieu of a bonus for his work for the Ministry. His employer subscribes to the entrepreneurial ecosystem idea advocated in Scalerator.

Read and listen to the full piece here.

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