Hundreds of Goodwill Industries execs convene in downtown Milwaukee for annual conference

About 300 Goodwill Industries executives have convened at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee hotel downtown for their annual conference this week.

The Goodwill Industries International’s Delegate Assembly event, which runs Sunday through Tuesday, signals the return of corporate gatherings in the city following a more than a year-long hiatus on large in-person events.

The conference – which is expected to create a $1 million economic impact in the community – also brings a welcome boost in activity at area restaurants and hotels after a devastating 2020.

“It’s an exceptional time to host the annual meeting in Milwaukee,” said Jackie Hallberg, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago. “As we celebrate the success of the Milwaukee Bucks, we look forward to showcasing more of Milwaukee and the region to this dedicated group of workforce development leaders from across the Goodwill network.”

The visitors include Goodwill’s Delegate Assembly, which is comprised of all Goodwill presidents and CEOs, their board representatives and the private sector members of the Goodwill Industries International Board of Directors. The group meets annually.

This evening, conference attendees will gather at the newly renovated American Family Insurance Amphitheater Founder’s Club, with entertainment from two local bands, The Cerfus Project and The Olen Franklin Experience. The conference keynote speaker is local author and certified business coach David Cooks.

The conference theme is Rising Together, which is also the name of a Goodwill coalition that has committed to help one million people access sustainable careers by 2025 and drive an equitable economic recovery. The coalition – which is partnering with the Anthem Foundation, Coursera, Google, Indeed and Lyft – provides workforce services and builds on existing programs that address inequities and systemic barriers facing workers.

“We are thrilled to hold our largest meeting of CEOs and board members in Milwaukee, a city that is rich in history and culture, and home to the our newest NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Steve Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Goodwill leaders will share their experiences and best practices in leading social enterprises, which provide training and job support to more than one million job seekers and directly employ more than 120,000 people.”

In addition to the nearly 300 in-person guests, another 160 have signed up to attend the conference virtually.

Milwaukee-based Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago – with 90 locations across 23 counties – is the largest Goodwill of the 156 organizations in North America.

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Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, kayaking, and seeing live music.

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