Wisconsin 275
Wisconsin 275
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Missy Hughes

Secretary and CEO
Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. | Madison

Missy Hughes was appointed in 2019 by Gov. Tony Evers as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The public-private agency, established by former Gov. Scott Walker, is responsible for executing a statewide economic development strategy, courting businesses to Wisconsin and helping existing businesses expand with various tax incentives and grants. Hughes’ tenure has largely coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, during which WEDC has provided approximately $240 million in assistance to about 55,000 Wisconsin businesses through its CARES Act-funded grant program, We’re All In, the largest direct-aid program for small businesses in the agency’s history.

Prior to leading WEDC, Hughes was chief mission officer and general counsel for La Farge-based Organic Valley, an organic food brand and independent cooperative of organic farmers. Founded in 1988, Organic Valley is the nation’s largest farmer-owned organic cooperative and one of the world’s largest organic consumer brands. She also served as vice president of the Organic Trade Association from 2013-2019.

Education: Bachelor’s, Georgetown University; J.D., University of Wyoming

Career advice: “Be a deal maker, not a deal breaker.”

Two business leaders you would like to have dinner with: “Willie Smith, of Northwest Side Community Development Corp., because he’s lovely and a friend, and because he reminds me of the work we need to do to really change Wisconsin. Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, because she has eyes on the entire global marketplace.”

Biggest risk You’ve ever taken: “I had a great job before this one. There was no reason to leave, except the governor called. It has been the biggest honor to serve in this role.”

Hobby/passion: “Working outside on my 100-acre farm in the Driftless Region.”

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