Chief information officer (retired)
The Marcus Corp.
Nonprofit served: United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
Service: Co-chair of IT United
Growing up, Jane Durment’s parents dispensed two complementary pieces of advice to her and her siblings.
“Mom always told us, ‘Your brains are God-given gifts, and you owe something back to the world,’” Durment said. “While Dad always told us girls, ‘You can accomplish anything you want in life if you just work hard at it.’”
For decades, Durment followed her father’s advice – she worked hard and found success for 40 years in the information technology industry. In 2012, Durment closed out her career as chief information officer at The Marcus Corp. after working for 16 years in that role.
Yet while she enjoyed her professional success, in the later part of her career, Durment found herself drawn to her mother’s exhortation to give back to the community.
“I always told myself that, one of these days, I’d get back to what Mom said,” Durment said. “Finally, I did.”
While working for Marcus, Durment met Mary Lou Young, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.
Durment and her husband, Dave, had been longtime donors, but meeting Young gave Durment the push she needed to become active with the organization. She plunged in, joining the United Way’s Leadership Society and Women’s Leadership Council.
In 2010, an opportunity presented itself for Durment to pair her desire to give back with her professional expertise. Young asked Durment to launch an initiative aimed at providing technology professionals an opportunity to give back to the community through advocacy and volunteerism. Durment was excited for the challenge and IT United was born.
IT United works with Milwaukee Public Schools in providing work-based learning opportunities to help students engage with technology careers. With a shortage of workers to fill well-paying IT jobs, Durment said, the initiative is aimed at helping Milwaukee students envision themselves in the industry through job fairs and shadowing opportunities. The group also lends IT support to local agencies and connects United Way agency partners with vendors who can provide pro-bono services.
The initiative launched with a single event raising $19,000 and under Durment’s leadership, has grown to raise nearly $1.2 million today.
“There are all kinds of ways to volunteer,” she said. “So to volunteer in your industry and to apply those skills and have it be sustainable, it’s very rewarding.”
Durment was recently recognized by the United Way with the Linda T. Mellowes Woman Leader of the Year Award, which is given to a woman who exhibits leadership, is a role model and gives back to the community.