Christine Holmes is the President/CEO of Penfield Children’s Center and a long-time leader in health and human services with a focus on children and families. Penfield Children’s Center is a provider of Milwaukee County’s Birth-to-Three program, early childhood education and therapies to more than 1,600 children located in Milwaukee. Prior to Penfield, Ms. Holmes spent 14 years with Children’s Hospital and Health System as Director of Community Ventures and Advocacy where she provided oversight for the development of community social service initiatives.
Ms. Holmes’s community engagement extends to her service with several organizations including: National Birth-5 Peer Advocate Roundtable, Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership Council, Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health, Wisconsin Early Learning Coalition and the United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Oversight. In 2013, Ms. Holmes was honored with two awards including a scholarship from the Harvard Business Club of Wisconsin to attend a week-long session on Strategy Perspectives for Non Profits at Harvard. The Penfield board nominated Ms. Holmes and she was also awarded a “Women of Influence” award by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
At the national level, Ms. Holmes previously worked as Public Relations Director for the Alliance for Families and Children and Prevent Child Abuse America. Ms. Holmes has her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In his role as Director of Public Relations for Kane Communications Group, James brings his experiences as a storyteller and relationship builder to a point.
Public relations done right involves thought leadership. It involves telling clients’ stories in any and every format and style that makes them relatable and demonstrates the benefit of their service or product. Yes, there are press releases and media advisories. But understand the sky’s the limit. Also, think narrative written features, blog posts or social media entries, podcasts, even speeches and public convening.
James’s 21 years in communications work includes 16 years as an award-winning journalist for major news outlets including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Miami Herald, and the Boston Globe. At the Journal Sentinel, James was part of a team that won a National Headliner Award for reporting on urban redevelopment in Milwaukee. At the Herald, James co-authored an investigative story recognized with an Associated Press Sports Editors Award because it may have helped exonerate a college baseball player accused of a crime. And at the Globe, James was a writer in the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. He has also been a magazine and broadcast contributor to O: The Oprah Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, CNN and NPR.
Born and raised in Southeastern Virginia – with a detour to Sicily as a child, James first moved to Milwaukee in the fall of 1998 to write for the Journal Sentinel. After 14 years away in South Florida and Boston, he and his wife and children moved back to Milwaukee to be near family in 2018.
When he is not in family-man mode or being a so-so gardener, you can find James walking his black lab Leo at any number of North Shore parks, playing basketball at the Jewish Community Center, volunteering with his son’s Cub Scouts troop, or working on his version of the great American novel.
In his professional and personal lives, James insists that relating to and accepting as many people and as many types of people as possible is the key to effective communications.
I am a Client Advisor with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank in Milwaukee. In my role, I focus on helping high net worth clients address their complex wealth management needs. Leveraging the resources at J.P. Morgan, I can address all aspects of financial planning, including banking, credit, estate planning, philanthropy, and wealth transfer.
Prior to the Private Bank, I worked at both Stark Investments and Racon Capital, spending much of my career as a macro analyst and product specialist respectively. Both experiences laid the foundation and provided a framework for my current work.
But my career actually started as a teacher. I was trained in Canada, spending time as a researcher prior to moving to Milwaukee, focused on the micro-interactions that take place in the classroom. During my time in the field, I published numerous articles and a spelling text book, Nelson Spelling 2.
I was born in Toronto, Canada. I have a B.A., B.Ed., and M.Ed. from the University of Toronto. In 2000, I made Milwaukee my home and currently reside in Cedarburg with my family. All three of my children have attended Montessori schools.
Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana and a Masters Degree, In Human Resources, from the Graduate School of Business at Loyola University Chicago. She has 20 plus years of working experience in the field of Human Resources/Talent Development; specializing in training and recruiting.
In addition to her professional endeavors, Julie is a dedicated community volunteer serving on a variety of boards and committees over the years. Most notably, she served as the President of the Junior League of Milwaukee as well as serving eight years as Vice-President on Kappa Alpha Theta’s International board.
Currently, she on the board of Impact100 Milwaukee as a Communications Director, is a member of the Whitefish Bay Police Commission, the Whitefish Bay Historic Preservation Commission and the personnel committee at her church. She also is the training chair for the University School of Milwaukee’s Business Internship Program.
Julie and her husband, Brian, feel so lucky to be raising their young children in such a vibrant and wonderful city!
Bob Mikulay is the retired Executive Vice President of Marketing for the Miller Brewing Company and has had an extensive and successful career in marketing and branding strategy, consumer and customer insight, sales management, strategic planning and a myriad of other areas. Before joining Miller Brewing Company, he served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Philip Morris U.S.A. In 2004, he was recognized by Advertising Age as one of the 50 most influential marketing executives in the country. Bob currently advises small businesses and start-up ventures on all aspects of business strategy and development.
Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) and Penfield Children’s Center. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
Bob graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1973 and attended the U of M’s Carlson School of Business’ Masters Program from 1973 to 1975.
Bob currently lives in Whitefish Bay with his wife, Susan, a writer and communications consultant. They have one son, David, an actor living in West Hollywood, California.
Melissa Murray is a mother, wife, daughter, volunteer and business owner/real estate investor. She navigates the delicate balance between work and family every day. Melissa manages the purchase, ownership, management, rental and/or sale of multi-family and commercial property holdings for her real estate investment business.
Melissa is originally from New York and relocated with her husband Ron to the Milwaukee area seven years ago to work for Kohl’s Department Stores. She was a Product Manager in Men’s Apparel, responsible for product creation, merchandising and sourcing. Melissa’s team building skills enabled her to lead direct reports and develop strong cross-functional partnerships.
Prior to joining Kohl’s, Melissa was a Vice President of Sales at Smart Apparel headquartered in New York City. She was responsible for managing and growing the men’s private and licensed brand apparel businesses. Melissa worked with leading U.S. retailers, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Belk, Kohl’s, JCP, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks, Costco.
Melissa’s twenty year career in the men’s fashion business included extensive international travel to Asia and Europe to strengthen retail/vendor relationships and facilitate product/supply chain development.
Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, friends, traveling and playing sports. She resides in Shorewood, WI with her husband Ron and her five year old daughter Sloane. Sloane currently attends Montessori school.
As Senior Vice President and Market Executive, Tere Sackerson oversees the client’s team of Global Treasury Management professionals, striving to achieve the highest levels of client satisfaction. Her top priority is that the team not only meets, but also exceeds the client’s expectations.
Tere joined PNC with over 15 years of experience in the Financial Services industry, and over 10 years specializing in Global Treasury Management. Prior to joining PNC, Tere was a Team Leader in National Corporate covering 13 states and managing a team of professionals between Wisconsin and Illinois for U.S. Bank.
Tere volunteers for the Girls Scout of America and St. Mary’s Parish School. She is also an active board member for the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and PNC Milwaukee Running Festival.
Tere enjoys spending time with her family, running and focusing on wellness.
Ronny Thompson, having flunked retirement, became the Founder and Chief Executive Office of PeachyClean, LLC., where he oversees the strategic direction of the company. Mr. Thompson brings 40 years of experience in the cleaning, construction and sales industries to his work. Prior to starting PeachyClean, LLC., Mr. Thompson served as Owner/CEO of White Glove Services, Inc., a commercial cleaning business.
He was Co-Owner of Envirotech Services, LLC, a construction company and he was a Partner/Operator of Nebula Personal Brand Management, a sports image consulting company. Mr. Thompson attended Marquette University where he studied Business Management. He is the proud Executive Director of the Athletes for Autism Foundation which he started in memoriam of his daughter.
Deanna L. Tillisch retired in 2020 as President & CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), the largest arts funds in the country. Under her leadership, UPAF raised more than $100 million to ensure the sustainability of the arts in Southeastern Wisconsin. Tillisch spent almost two decades at Northwestern Mutual serving in various leadership roles: Vice President of the Foundation, Directors of Corporate Affairs, Market Development and Public Relations. Tillisch is a board member of Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design, Burke Foundation, Penfield Montessori Academy, Imagine MKE and Independence First. Active in the special needs community, the Tillisch family was recognized as the Life Navigators Challenger Honoree in 2017. Tillisch was named University of Wisconsin Badger of the Year — Milwaukee Chapter in 2020, Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence in 2016 and Women and Girls Fund’s Women of Distinction in 2014. Tillisch holds a Master of Business Administration, graduating with honors, from Marquette University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lisa is an Executive Director in the assurance practice at Ernst & Young and has been employed there since 1997. She works with public- and privately-held organizations in the retail, consumer and industrial products industries. Areas of specialization include auditing, SEC filings, financial reporting, audit committees, leadership and development of others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting from UW Oshkosh and is a CPA. Lisa serves on the Audit Committee of Penfield Children’s Center and has a passion for children and education.
Stephen is the Senior Vice President of Business Development for Kohl’s. A finance and strategy executive by background, Stephen relocated to the Milwaukee area from Seattle and joined Kohl’s three years ago. A native of Northern Ireland, Stephen has a degree in accounting and business finance from the University of Dundee in Scotland and is a chartered accountant (UK) and CPA (US). Stephen is married with three children and lives in Fox Point.
Madonna Williams was born in Evanston, Illinois and is the oldest of 14 children. Upon moving to Milwaukee when she was 4 years old, she spent 16 years in local Catholic schools, including St. Eugene, Dominican High School and later attended St. Norbert College to earn a degree in elementary education.
Madonna is an active volunteer and has served on a number of boards including Penfield Children’s Center (17 years), Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Blood Center of Wisconsin and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
She has also been involved with United Way, the Milwaukee Public Museum, United Performing Arts Fund and the Kettle Moraine Garden Club.
Madonna and husband, Jay, have 3 married children and 5 grandchildren.