S-HERO Shoutouts

Photo courtesy UW Odyssey Project

The 18 trailblazing women selected as our 2019 Women to Watch are movers and shakers of the highest caliber. And standing behind every great woman is usually a pack of equally fierce females she’s proud to call her tribe. As these ladies can attest, being a ‘s-hero’ isn’t always easy but they took a moment to acknowledge the mothers, sisters and friends whom are catalysts for change in the local community too.

“The person I want to acknowledge is Lauren Montelbano. She is the chef of Surya Café and, besides being an amazing chef, is an adventurous person who is open to sharing her experiences and inspires me to reach outside my comfort zone.” Laurel Burleson

“My shero is Martee Mikalson, program coordinator at FEED Kitchens, retired sales manager at Kessenich’s and owner of Martee’s Consulting. She is one of the most caring people I know and has helped me lots over the years. Martee will go out of her way to help others again and again…and is truly interested in helping other women succeed.” Jenny Czerkas

“Libby Falck’s research about using games as organizing tools for social movements is rad. And I thank her for telling 18-year-old me that we can change the world if we want to. (I believed you!) There are so many additional women I want to admire publicly. But when in doubt, choose your best friend.” Emily Erwin-Frank

“I am inspired by Sara Alvarado’s commitment to racial and gender equity and justice. She has integrated this work into her personal and professional life and I have been motivated to deepen my own understanding, growth and commitment because of her ongoing to work.” Cristen Incitti

“I’d like to give a shout-out to one of our Odyssey Project alum Josephine Lorya who is truly an inspiration to me and her fellow Odyssey alumni. Now a county social worker, she previously escaped war-torn Sudan and later enrolled in the Odyssey Project and went on to earn UW-Madison bachelor’s and master’s degrees while raising four children.” Colleen Johnson

“I admire Alexa Butzbaugh, the woman who I used to work for. She is the director of Progressive Community Services, and for years, has provided high quality services to individuals with disabilities. When she wasn’t satisfied with how things were working at her previous job in the ’90s, she took a risk and broke off to start her own agency. Always a very supportive employer, Alexa was the first person to make me more comfortable with admitting when I needed help.  She worked tirelessly when the state made changes to the system to make sure her employees would continue to have jobs and I appreciate everything she did for meand for the people we served.”Ellen Merker

“Jo Oyama Miller is not just my mom. Jo is a founder of color, fosterer of entrepreneurship in the low income and disabled community and always has time for anyone who she can help.” Chandra Miller Fienen

“My SHERO is UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. Becky supports women across campus and provides strong leadership for UW during challenging budgetary times. She championed UW-Madison’s first central hub for entrepreneurship—the Discovery to Product (D2P) Program—to help transform research discoveries into products and services that benefit people around the world.” Denise M. Ney

“My SHERO is Cheryll Mellenthin, who also happens to be my mother. Cheryll is a beautiful example of leadership, tenacity and modern feminism. My entrepreneurial drive was inspired by her!” Jonnah Mellenthin Perkins

“My personal SHERO is a collective group of women (and a few outstanding men too)! The Design For a Difference Design team is full of my heroes! Creative, professional, driven and all-around fabulous women who give back to the community through design. Each of these individuals have taught me something about myself and encouraged be to be better. I look up to them, admire then and am a better person because of them!” Angela Skalitzky

“Gretchen Rixie is the director of advising, career and employment services at Madison College. She gave me the opportunity to bring my ideas to life and encourage me to be uncomfortable. Gretchen gives me the tools to draw and design a path that focuses on my values, strengths and skills. I am proud to have her as a colleague and as a boss.”
Masaya Xiong

Come meet all of the 2019 Women to Watch in person during our W2W Soiree at DreamBank (rescheduled date to be determined)! Find more info at: bravamagazine.com/w2w


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