Sunday, February 5, 2023
33.6 F

Event Details

Thursday, August 25, 2022
Brookfield Conference Center

8:00AM – Registration
8:30-Noon – Breakfast & Program

Watch event videos and download session handouts below.

Women in Business Symposium

This annual event promises to once again deliver insightful ideas from a fresh perspective for women business executives. The event will feature a panel of area women business executives who will discuss best practices and strategies to overcome challenges in order to succeed in a fast paced business environment. A woman “Executive of the Year” will also be awarded.


Join us on August 25th at BizTimes Media’s Women In Business Symposium. Attendees will gain tangible insights and actionable ideas to move forward in their own lives and as leaders in their company. After two-plus years of constant change, uncertainty and stress, this year’s Women in Business event will focus on women shaping their path forward, whatever it might be.

From breaking into the c-suite to starting a business to taking on tough technical projects or finding work-life balance, there are plenty of choices for anyone navigating the world of work. With a panel discussion featuring women leaders and focused breakout sessions, the Women in Business Symposium will focus on making and acting on the choice to take control and proactively seize opportunities rather than waiting for change to disrupt your life.


  • Nina Johnson, Wisconsin Consumer and Business Banking Market Leader, U.S. Bank (1)
  • Xia Liu, CFO, WEC Energy Corp. (2)
  • Gretchen Jameson, Chief Learning Officer, Kacmarcik Enterprises (3)
  • Nubian Simmons, CEO, The Pink Bakery (4)

Moderator: Kathy Thornton-Bias, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (5)

Woman Executive of the Year

Christine Pharr, Ph.D., who recently retired as president of Mount Mary University, will be honored as BizTimes Media’s 12th Woman Executive of the Year award winner.

Pharr became president of Mount Mary University in 2017 and retired on July 1 of this year.

During Pharr’s tenure at Mount Mary, she led numerous renovation projects on campus including the recent development of a new intergenerational living facility, Trinity Woods, a home for School Sisters of Notre Dame, seniors from the community and student single mothers and their children. Pharr led efforts to raise $2 million for the $45 million project.

Read more about Christine Pharr here.

Breakout Sessions

Following the panel discussion, you’ll meet and hear from our Woman Executive of the Year and have a chance to attend some of the multiple breakout sessions.


Best practices for a meaningful network & work relationships


Building meaningful connections and relationships requires work. This session will help attendees incorporate relationship building in reaching their goals, be more authentic and engaged by using effective communication, and understand audiences when providing feedback. The session will also address how to have open dialogue when challenged and how to create a culture that encourages open dialogue, along with differences in active and passive listening.


  • Denise Thomas, President and Owner, The Effective Communication Coach, LLC

Are you future fit? Increase your self-awareness | 21st century essential skills


In these volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) times, long-term relevance is no longer a guarantee. It is imperative to develop 21st century life skills that allow you to deliver indispensable value to yourself, others, and your business. This session will focus on increasing your self-awareness, the cornerstone of being future fit. Identify your top saboteurs that stop you in your tracks. Learn about what it takes to equip yourself with the edge you need to handle life’s challenges with a positive mindset instead of getting upset or stressed out.


  • Rosario Sanchez-Ledesma, Co-Founder and Principal, LIFECAMP

Making it in Milwaukee: Succeeding in your chosen field

Women representing a range of sectors and backgrounds share their career journeys and lessons learned along the way. The panel will discuss the key inflection points that led to growth opportunities and pass on nuggets of wisdom for those looking to move up the corporate ladder, switch roles, dig in to technical work or start their own business while navigating an ever-changing business and social climate.


  • Abi Gilman, Owner, The Little Village Play Café
  • Karen Hung, CEO, Silver Rock Consulting
  • Lori Rosenthal, Vice President, Principal and Group Leader, GRAEF
  • Jennifer Ryan, Vice President, Strategic Communications & Public Relations, Northwestern Mutual

Moderator: Maredithe Meyer, Associate Editor, BizTimes Media


Becoming an employer of choice

With unemployment in our region at historic lows and competition for employees at a premium, panelists in this session will share strategies to help you and your company create a culture of growth, attraction and retention along with lessons they have learned in becoming an employer of choice.


  • Sheila Casey, HR Director, Ogden & Company, Inc.
  • Rashi Khosla, Founder/CEO, MARS Solutions Group
  • Kristi Linsmeier, Group Leader/Senior Engineer, The Sigma Group
  • Michelle Szymik, Vice President of Human Resources, Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry

Moderator: Kimberly Kane, President and CEO, Kane Communications Group

Adding to your mental health toolbox


The need to acknowledge and understand our mental health at home and at work has become vitally important. The professionals on this panel will share substantive and practical ideas to apply with our families and our work teams so we can hit the ground running.


  • Rebecca Kestly, Vice President, Well-Being Program Manager, Baird
  • Sara Kohlbeck, Director, Division of Suicide Prevention, Comprehensive Injury Center, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Susan Lubar, Founder & President, Growing Minds

Moderator: Sarah Hammond, Founder & President, Sarah Hammond Coaching

Presented By

Presenting Sponsor

Signature Sponsor


Interested in sponsoring an event? To reap the benefits of the ultimate in-person marketing opportunity contact Linda Crawford, Director of Sales, to discuss opportunities. Event sponsorships are limited.