Getting There: Gina Balke

What excites you most about your new role? 

“The (food and beverage) industry is on a roll. Coming off of COVID-19, the industry is so much stronger. Wisconsin continues to be a hub for food and beverage manufacturers. There are obviously some other issues now affecting the industry – supply chain, talent attraction – but I think the industry being able to survive COVID and get through it was huge. I’m really excited for the future. FaB just celebrated its 10th year, and we’re actually going to be doing some strategic planning … and looking at what opportunities our members want and what else we can do to help them grow and be better.” 

What’s your biggest goal for the organization?

“I’d really like to look at some of these issues, like supply chain and talent attraction, and try to look at some other opportunities to approach the problem. We try to share a lot of best practices. For example, we had a company that was really struggling with hiring people and so they decided to do something different and looked at what they could do to automate some machines. This was a third-generation family company that had a lot of the same workers, and they didn’t want people to feel like automation was going to take over their jobs, but they also wanted to improve. … They were able to move people into different positions and no one lost their job, but they were able to be more successful. … If there are ways that we could look at how to help the industry tackle some of these problems in a different way, that’s something we would love to do.” 

How do you spend time outside of work? 

“My children keep me pretty busy. I’m also really into seasonal decorating – I’m that person who has my Christmas decorations up the day after Halloween, but I’ve learned to embrace it. My husband and I like to be outside a lot. We like to go ATVing in the fall and snowmobiling in the winter. … I love walking, I take my dogs on walks a lot, which is a nice way to be outside and relax.”

Gina Balke
Executive director
FaB Wisconsin
Age: 43
Hometown: Racine
Education: Bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Previous position: Chief operating officer at FaB Wisconsin 

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