2019 Women to Watch: Real Women, Real Change

By Samantha Georgson, Emily Leas, Marni McEntee, Julia Richards, Megan Roessler, Lisa Schuetz, Hywania Thompson, Candice Wagener and Rachel Werner | Photographed by Hillary Schave at her Azena Photography studio in Madison

They are entrepreneurs and mentors. They work to increase equity in education and access to food, and they strive to pull up the underrepresented, smoothing the uneven ground so everyone has an equal shot at getting established and thriving in society.

They strive to increase services and access to mental health care and work to help those with devastating illnesses like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other medical problems.

They help people see, survive and cope in this hard-knock world, with the help of remarkable four-legged friends. They help others understand and know that who they are is enough. And they design and build new spaces for those who never dreamed of such a fine place to study, play and grow.

And if those parts of their day weren’t enough, they are moms, partners, spouses and friends to those all around us.

They are BRAVA’s 2019 Women to Watch, and they all have stories to tell. Keep your eyes on these gals, because they’ll be reshaping our communities into a more evolved form for some time to come.


Colleen Johnson: Helping people achieve the college dream

Lannia Stenz: Optimism in the face of adversity

Chandra Miller Fienen: Boosting Madison’s startup scene

Jonnah Perkins: Marrying sport, food and the land

Jenny Czerkas: Tutoring pupils in need—and feeding them

Amy Gannon and Heather Wentler: Doyenne founders empower female entrepreneurs

Cristen Incitti: Expanding access to Girl Scouts

Alison Helland: Paying it forward

Emily Erwin-Frank: Removing the shame from mental illness

Ellen Merker: Helping disabled adults have healthy relationships

Laurel Burleson: Foodie on a mission

Masaya Xiong: Nurturing students for success

Nicole Meadowcroft: Giving the “exhilaration of independence” to those in need

Rachel Wilberding: Raising awareness about Parkinson’s disease

Doua Kha: Nurturing diverse identities

Angela Skalitzky: Making a difference, by design

Denise Ney: Research helping real people

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