By Emily McCluhan | Photography by Hillary Schave
As a farm girl growing up in Poynette, Wis., Erin Fabrizius never imagined she would be a lobbyist, educating Wisconsin nonprofit groups on unlocking their potential through policy and legislation.
But after graduating with degrees in strategic communications and political science from UW- Madison in 2010, Fabrizius landed a role with Blumenfeld & Associates, a lobbying firm in Madison.
“Lobbyists often get a bad rap, and I never really considered it as a career. I thought I might go to law school,” she says. “But as I started learning about lobbying, I began questioning why I would work within the confines of the law if I could instead help change the laws for the better.”
Recently, she helped one of her clients, Special Olympics Wisconsin, educate its members on how to self-advocate with their state legislators. And in 2022, she’s excited to continue representing Vision Forward to push a bill that would create a registry of children in the state who are blind or visually impaired, so that Vision Forward can connect parents of those children with the services they need.
When the pandemic began in March 2020, Fabrizius expanded her advocacy work by signing on as an executive administrator with TEMPO Madison (which is a client of Blumenfeld & Associates), an invite-only group that connects women leaders with diverse backgrounds and experience to support, advise and learn from each other.
Shana Lewis, a local attorney and co-chair of TEMPO’s Project REACH (and a BRAVA 2016 Woman to Watch), says that Fabrizius is someone who recognizes that women can be each other’s best advocates and was perfect for the role.
“Project REACH is our initiative to increase the number of women on corporate and business boards,” says Lewis. “Like me, Erin was surprised to learn that of the approximately 225 women who are members of TEMPO Madison, very few had been invited to serve on a corporate or business board. Erin recognized that, as an organization, we could help educate our members about the process of securing such seats.”
Over the last year, Fabrizius organized workshops to help TEMPO members create board bios and profiles and started a database of those bios. In 2022, she’ll work to make the public aware of Project REACH and the growing database of qualified women to help increase the diversity of company boards across Madison.
Also on her list for 2022 is a TEMPO-created podcast, featuring interviews with women leaders in Madison.
On the lobbying side, she’ll also continue work with the Wisconsin Radiological Society to push legislation to cap co-pays for supplemental breast screenings, like an MRI or ultrasound, for women at higher risk for breast cancer.
When she’s not at the Capitol helping her clients advocate and argue their cases, she finds ways to lend her 10 years of expertise to other nonprofit groups through volunteering. Whether it’s serving on the board for NewBridge Madison, a group that provides services for older adults, or presenting at the Wisconsin Women’s Network about how to testify at state legislative public hearings, Fabrizius hopes to continue to tie together her passion for advocacy and helping others.