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A southeastern Wisconsin native, Marcia Blackman is Project Coordinator at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County serving specifically with the Milwaukee Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF) funded by Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Milwaukee LIHF is a collaborative effort in Milwaukee to support African American women and their families to have healthy birth outcomes. In her role, she provides administrative support and project coordination for community partnerships through data collection, reporting and strategic alignment.
After completing a BA degree in Scandinavian Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, Marcia served two years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA/Service-Learning Coordinator at Milwaukee Area Technical College where she promoted community-based learning to faculty and students, coordinated professional development opportunities and collaborated with community partners. After AmeriCorps, Marcia gained experience managing meetings and conferences for the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, a professional membership association of over 8,000 physicians. She is skilled at program development, speaker vetting and meeting facilitation, and also has experience in program tracking, reporting and budgeting. In August 2017, she earned a certificate in Project Management from the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education. Her developing professional interests are in public health & wellness, cultivating relationships in coalition development and project management. She enjoys participating in classes through Milwaukee Recreation, seeing live music and staying active by walking, running and biking.
Glenn was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. Growing up, he was a product of the Milwaukee Public School System and a proud graduate of Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School. Glenn holds his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater. He is currently a Fall 2017 candidate for a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University of Wisconsin. During his undergrad years, his love and interest in service and leadership grew through the Black Student Union and his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He credits these two organizations for not only introducing him to multiple service and leadership opportunities, but also for the confidence to finish school. After college, he served with an AmeriCorps organization, City Year-Milwaukee for two years. There he served as a tutor, mentor and role model to high school freshmen at James Madison Academic Campus. It was at City Year that Glenn got his first glimpse of a non-profit organization. Glenn started to develop an interest in other non-profits and begin doing research on multiple non-profits in Milwaukee. After serving two years with City Year, Glenn was hired for a unique position with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County as a Community School Coordinator at Hopkins Lloyd Community School, where he still works. Glenn works daily to align partnerships and programs to improve student success, while working with staff, parents and partners to create shared leadership around the school’s goals. Today, Glenn still volunteers as an alumni with City Year Milwaukee and is an active member of his fraternity’s alumni chapter here in Milwaukee. After completing his graduate program, he plans to stay in non-profit focusing on youth development and community improvement, with goals of working his way up to leadership positions. He hopes to one day open his own non-profit that, focuses on high school aged foster children and their transition into adulthood. He enjoys traveling and exploring new places, reading and running. Lately, you can find him at a local coffee shop doing homework, drinking a caffeinated drink and people watching.
Mahnker enjoys cultivating interest in year-round civic engagement among water advocates in the Milwaukee area. Through a series of trainings on advocacy campaign strategic planning, grassroots organizing tactics, and public hearing participation, the community members she works with gain the skills necessary to create the change they want to see around healthy water policy.
Mahnker believes that the key to making democracy work is to create strong, healthy, sustainable communities. In the Milwaukee area, that means working to achieve racial and gender equity in our justice system, education system, and professional environments. Her involvement with African-American Civic Engagement Roundtable and Uplifting Black Liberation and Communities (UBLAC) is a testament to that belief.
Looking towards the future, Mahnker would like to facilitate the realization of synergistic communities across the state; implementing strategies centered on cultural competency, racial equity, leadership development, and informed data analytics.
If you run into Mahnker at a community event, be sure to flag her down and share with her your vision for a better tomorrow. Those types of conversations feed her motivation to continue seeking innovative strategies that will make our country a great place to live for all; regardless of age, gender, or race.
Mahnker is from the South Side of Chicago and attended high school in the Northwest Suburbs. She later went on to major in Geography downstate, at Illinois State University.
Nicholas, a Milwaukee Native and Graduate of Marquette University, is the Southeast Navigator Lead for Covering Wisconsin (CWI), the federally designated Navigator entity serving 12 southeastern and central Wisconsin counties, where he provides technical assistance to the University of Wisconsin-Extension program specialists and other statewide partners. Nicholas also serves as the supervisor to the Navigators covering the Southeast Region. Nicholas also serves on multiple Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN) committees. MKEN is consortium of more than 100 organizations supporting the enrollment, and re-enrollment, of eligible individuals in public or private insurance with a focus on low-income, vulnerable populations. It is co-convened by the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership and Covering Wisconsin.
Nicholas received his BA from Marquette University in Writing Intensive English, and Criminology and Law studies, and his Masters of Business Administration M.B.A. from Concordia University of Wisconsin. During his time at Marquette University Nicholas was a Member of the Education Opportunity Program (TRIO), where he was able to foster his passion for giving back and creating an inclusive community. Nicholas split his time studying with being a student athlete as a member of the Marquette Crew (Rowing) team. Nicholas is extremely active in the Native American Community of Milwaukee and has previously served as a board member of the Milwaukee Indian Education Committee (MIEC), he is also an active volunteer for the Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Including being Santa’s “helper” at the Holiday Celebration and several other Non-Profit organizations. Nicholas has re-structured and fostered a partnership with the Giving tree organization in order to ensure all the children that have a need were able to be helped through fundraising efforts as well as a dedication to shopping for Christmas gifts for over 1,000 children. Nicholas and his wife take an active role in the life of his six year old brother, Nicholas even volunteers with school based organizations at his brother’s school. When not volunteering of spending time with Family Nicholas is an avid movie buff attending as many theater showings with his wife as possible. Nicholas resides in the greater Milwaukee area with his wife Shendola and four legged furry son Spock.
Anna Feeley, a native of Colorado, moved to Milwaukee in 2010 after serving as an AmeriCorps member in Los Angeles. During her AmeriCorps tenure, Anna tutored, mentored, and worked for an after-school program at an inner-city elementary school. She spent her weekends involved in gang intervention on the high school level through a leadership development program. Anna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Social Welfare & Justice from Marquette University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University. Accompanying her family on monthly trips to a community meal site in Colorado, Anna discovered her passion for volunteering at an early age. This dedication to service continued during her time at Marquette where she was active in both the university and Milwaukee communities. She volunteered with V.O.I.C.E (Violence Opposition in Community Education) where she worked with a team of faculty to develop and implement a national curriculum on bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention. Upon graduation, Anna worked for a violence prevention and intervention program through Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin working alongside youth victims of violence in the community through Emergency Department intervention and ongoing case management. She also developed a youth leadership program and a curriculum for a teenage girls mentoring group, Independent Women of Tomorrow. Currently, Anna is the Community Partnership Coordinator at IndependenceFirst, a resource for individuals with disabilities. She is responsible for managing the volunteer program and community outreach to broaden the scope of services to the community. In her free time, Anna volunteers with Girls on the Run at Sixteen Street Health Center, travels to Colorado to visit family, and stays fit by playing soccer and running.
Heather Goetsch is an advocate for a sustainable future and has pursued this personal mission by working in the nonprofit sector for the past seven years. She is a skilled project manager and has worked in several aspects of sustainability, including food systems, transportation, and green building. Heather currently works as a project manager for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and plays a critical role supporting engagement in the U.S., such as the Malcolm Lewis IMPACT! Award, annual volunteer recruitment campaigns, and USGBC’s social equity programs. Just before her current position, Heather ran programs and events, and managed volunteers for USGBC in the states of Wisconsin and Iowa. She is a member of the American Planning Association (APA) and serves on the organization’s Leadership Development Task Force, a group tasked with strategizing methods to foster future leaders within APA. Heather also volunteers as a Career Coach with Inspire Southeast Wisconsin. She earned a B.S. in Conservation and Environmental Science and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and holds a LEED Green Associate Credential.
Bryan’s political journey can be traced along the technological and political professionalization arcs that defined progressive politics during the past decade. He began his political career as an intern during Governor Howard Dean's 2004 presidential primary bid. Upon graduation, and during Governor Dean's tenure as the DNC Chairman, Bryan directed a DNC small-dollar donor operation in Boston. After a short tenure there, and a brief stop in Washington DC to organize the first Power Shift student climate change conference, Bryan landed in Burlington, VT where he worked for two years as the Deputy Training Director at Democracy for America, the political action committee that grew out of Governor Dean's presidential primary campaign.
At DFA Bryan recruited, organized, and trained 2,750+ candidates, local party officials, and activists, at twenty three regionally held campaign academies. Additionally, he instituted an online monthly Night School virtual training program that was attended by 10,000+ pupils. It was during this time that Bryan developed an interest in the increasingly important role of political technology.
Ultimately, Bryan found his way to NGP VAN. During his tenure at NGP VAN he oversaw the Client Management responsibilities of several key clients including America Votes/State Voices, NAACP, ACLU of Texas, The League of Conservation Voters, and NARAL. The last year and a half of Bryan’s NGP VAN tenure was dedicated to the 2015 Federal Canadian election, where he served as NGP VAN’s political technology point person for Justin Trudeau’s campaign, and the Liberal Party of Canada’s federal election efforts.
Bryan took a temporary pause from the data and political technology space, to return to his passion of developing the electoral ambition and skills of first time candidates. Currently Bryan is the Director of Candidate Ready Development Program at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). At LEE Bryan has developed a comprehensive campaign curriculum aimed at cultivating the skills of current and former teachers seeking elected office. Bryan directs the delivery and administration of LEE’s Elected Leadership curriculum to a team of twenty five coaches that have consulted on 200+ races, and supported the election of 100+ former teachers.
Bryan holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. After a decade away he recently returned to Milwaukee, WI.
Mimi Laflin has spent the bulk of her professional life in the nonprofit sphere, specifically in resource development, where she connects donors with their philanthropic passions. She currently serves as senior account manager at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, with a mission to change lives and improve our community by mobilizing people and resources to drive strategic impact in health, education, and financial stability. An alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mimi graduated on the Dean’s Honor List in 2009 with a bachelor of arts in sociology, and is a member of the United Chapters of Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society. During her tenure, she was recognized with an ‘Outstanding Tutor’ award for her instruction in research methods, statistics, philosophy and Spanish. She is a recent graduate of Project LEAD (Leadership Effectiveness And Diversity), which is an in-depth training program that prepares community members for leadership roles on nonprofit boards and committees, with an emphasis on recruiting participants from underrepresented board populations (women, racially and ethnically diverse young professionals). Mimi is passionate about addressing racial and economic disparities in our community, and confronting the myriad negative consequences that result from mass incarceration. She is deeply concerned about climate change denial, the political capitol that big corporations exercise, and women’s health issues.
Mike grew up a bit south of Milwaukee in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. There he spent a large amount of his time singing in Vocal Ensemble and Acting in high school productions. Mike came to Milwaukee to attend UW-Milwaukee and fell in love with this City. You can find Mike most nights tending bar downtown at the Westin Hotel. A service industry veteran he has worked at a number of restaurants around town. When he is not mixing up an awesome cocktail he is spending time playing Dungeons and Dragons or diving headfirst into a number of other nerdy endeavours. When he is not being a giant nerd Mike spends his time riding his bike around town and sampling what the city has to offer for food and drink, theatre, music and cute old movie theatres. Mike is beyond excited for the opportunity to be a part of New Leaders Council. Coming from an unconventional background he can't help but feel a bit out of place but is ever grateful for the chance to learn and grow. And is looking forward to doing all he can to help NLC and Milwaukee grow foster the progressive ideals he has come to believe in.
Emily Lynch is a current AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. Emily originally is from St. Paul, Minnesota. From a young age Emily was involved in youth development work, ranging from leading youth through high-adventure trips to working with the Boys and Girls Club, these experiences fostered appreciation and understanding of youth development public health programming. She graduated from UW-Madison with a Bachelor degree in Biology and certificates in Global Health and African Studies. During her undergraduate career she continued to learn about multi-faceted, interdisciplinary, and holistic approaches to community health. From her grassroots health development work in rural Uganda to analyzing gaps in public health infrastructure of Wisconsin through various internships with Wisconsin's AHEC program, Emily took advantage of every opportunity she could to expand her knowledge of health equity. She seeks to continue learning about sustainable community development and discovering our civic responsibility in fighting social injustices. She hopes to engage populations traditionally least engaged in healthcare by uniting community resources and establishing trust within a community. Currently, she is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, located at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care: Bucyrus Campus Medical Clinic in Milwaukee, WI. She is working to develop partnerships with community based organizations as well as larger medical systems to provide holistic, comprehensive care and services to their patients. In her free time, you’ll find Emily hiking or camped out at your local coffee shop.
George Olufosoye is a Milwaukee raised millennial, born in Lagos, Nigeria. Currently, he is the Wisconsin State Director for NextGen America where he works to get the youth politically active. A graduate from Riverside University High School, George holds his BA in Political Science from Marquette University. He was accepted to Marquette through the Educational Opportunity Program (TRIO) where he served as a peer counselor for incoming freshmen prior to graduation. During his undergraduate career, he served as a volunteer at AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, worked as a Campaign Manager for various political campaigns and became a member of the Epsilon Tau Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc where he was elected Chapter President. He also served as the Diversity Commissioner for Marquette University’s Student Government Program Board. His passion and commitment to serving others was the catalyst for his decision to pursue a career in public service and policy. Developing a comprehensive and analytical understanding of public policy and addressing social issues tugged on his innate ability to lead and serve his community. He will continue to use his talents and ability coupled with a background in public service to make a positive contribution to our global community. Presently, George is studying for the LSAT and hopes to attend Law school in the future.
Dominique Portis – is a native and lifelong resident of Milwaukee. Rufus King alum. He then went on to study Community Education & Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Mr. Portis’ fellowship experience in local Charter schools, carved an interest in educating young people. Dom is currently an AmeriCorps VISTA Coordinator advocating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) efforts in Milwaukee in partnership with Milwaukee Succeeds. He is an advocate for equity who believes access to a quality education should be a reality for all.
Rebecca is a proud native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is always excited to explore and learn more about the city, while also scrutinizing the ways in which it needs improving. As a teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools and an active Union member, she has been exposed to the joys and struggles of what it means to be an educator, and the importance of making significant policy changes that will benefit our staff, students, and their families and surrounding community. Her drive to become more involved on a political level was sparked by her involvement in the Hillary for America campaign in 2016, for which she volunteered as a recruiter, canvasser, and Staging Location Director. This experience has led her in the direction of pursuing progressive change and immersing herself more in activism, because the time to make impact is now. Becca graduated magna cum laude in 2008 from Illinois Wesleyan University with a BA in Theatre Arts and a BA in French & Francophone Studies, which allowed her to live in Nantes, France for a semester as a student, and for two years after University teaching English in Valence and Grenoble. After completing her teaching license in April of 2017, she is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Education from Mount Mary University. When she is not teaching or working on her thesis, she is out doing karaoke, rehearsing with her long-form improv group, playing ukulele, painting, eating a lot of unnecessarily fancy cheese, and pursuing the hunt for the city's best bowl of ramen.
Sierra Taliaferro is a proud Milwaukee native who has a passion for urban conservation, social justice and community advocacy. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Environmental Studies from Bethune-Cookman University, an Historical Black College/University located in Daytona Beach, FL. Since returning back home, she has gained a tremendous amount of field experience working with City youth, community partners and land management through Milwaukee County Parks, Department of Natural Resources, and the Student Conservation Association (SCA). Currently, she works as a restoration specialist working to help remove invasive species for land management purposes at River Revitalization Foundation: Milwaukee’s only Urban Land Trust that helps to protect land and water resources for public benefit by acquiring and managing land along the Milwaukee River. She also serves as an active board member with Friends of Lincoln Park, a branch of The Park People of Milwaukee County, Inc. which is a nonprofit organization that assists with educating the community and involving the public in decisions concerning our parks through citizen stewardship. One of her main objectives as a board member and a progressive millennial, is to help bridge a lost connection between people and nature in an urban environment. She often leads nature hikes, bird walks, and citizen-science based programs through County Parks to retain the connection between people and nature. She hopes to continue to make herself an advocate for diversity in the conservation field and to bring more awareness of conservation in all aspects and all resources related to the subject. Aside from her work, she enjoys gardening, bird watching, traveling and cooking. She hopes to one day use her gardening skills to run a community garden and encourage people to grow their own food forests to eliminate food deserts in the city.
Aftin Warren is currently a Member Engagement and Outreach Specialist at Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, a nonprofit health insurance cooperative serving 19 counties in eastern Wisconsin. Aftin applies her talents in her role to develop partnerships with like-minded organizations spreading awareness about the importance of staying insured and sharing educational tools and resources to help members utilize their health coverage with confidence. She has developed partnerships with the Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN) and Covering Wisconsin in an effort to reach new levels of community engagement among Wisconsin’s diverse populations in both urban and rural areas. Aftin is dedicated to helping Wisconsinites access affordable health care and empowering individuals to work together towards a better future in the industry. Aftin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She performs with Kalliope Vocal Arts and a jazz group called The Dixies in her spare time to keep her passion for singing alive. Aftin is a Palmyra, Wisconsin native. She has two older brothers (Charles and Justin) and resides in Greenfield. She enjoys spending time with her friends, spinning and learning how to cook.
No stranger to cold weather, Lucy was born in raised in Neenah, WI before moving to Stevens Point, WI after graduation. There she spent the next seven years completing her undergraduate degree in Communicative Disorders and her doctorate degree in Audiology at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. After graduating in May 2017, Lucy was hired as a pediatric audiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Lucy strives to provide exceptional, empathic, and evidence based hearing healthcare to all patients. Inspired by her cousin who is profoundly deaf and a cochlear implant user, Lucy has been passionate about helping children hear since she was a child herself. During her undergraduate and graduate school careers, she served as the lead peer advisor in the Student Academic Advising Center on campus. In this role she was able to help undeclared freshmen students development an academic and career plan for their future. Additionally, she was a strong volunteer in the community, working with a local agriculture and sustainability group as well as serving as the president of the UWSP Campus Lions Club. One of her proudest involvement moments includes a week long volunteer trip to Seattle, WA where she worked alongside local homeless shelters and food banks in the community. Lucy strongly believes that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. She strives to replace oppression and fear with contagious compassion. In her free time, Lucy is a lover of books, being outdoors, and singing along to the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton the Musical.
Lavelle Young is a proud Milwaukee native and a self starter. He is the Founder and CEO of Young Development Group, where he is leading the redevelopment of the Milwaukee Martin Luther King Jr. Library. He is passionate about economic empowerment, equitable economic development, and community wealth creation. Prior to starting his commercial real estate development firm in 2016, Lavelle worked as a credit analyst intern at Johnson Controls, Inc. and a commercial loan underwriter at Legacy Redevelopment Corporation where he helped financed small businesses that were unable to receive financing through traditional means. Lavelle attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and served in various leadership positions including President of The Black Student Union (BSU), Chairman of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Executive Officer of UWM’s Student Government, and a presidential candidate during the 2014 Student Government elections. In his role within the BSU, he raised approximately $83,000, planned and executed large events, created and implemented multiple policies and procedures, and overall served as an advocate for African American students. As Chairman of CAB, the premier organization for campus wide activities and events, he oversaw a budget of approximately $364,000 and led multiple committees which executed an average of 40 events a year. In 2015, he was recognized at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as “Outstanding Student Leader of the Year” for his leadership roles. Most recently, Lavelle was elected and now serves as the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Black Caucus, HUB Team Lead for the African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee, Board Member for the New Economy Credit Union, and 2017-18 Fellow of the African American Leadership Program. He is also an alumni of other reputable programs such as LISC’s Associates of Commercial Real Estate and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha ProjectLEAD. Through his leadership roles, Lavelle has acquired a broad range of skills such as crafting innovative solutions, strategizing and planning, organizing, and project management. Lavelle has committed himself to using these skills and talents to improve the quality of life for citizens of the Greater Milwaukee community. He believes that leadership should be done by example and should foster a chain reaction which will create a pipeline of future leaders.
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