Sue Black, owner/CEO of The Milwaukee Wave and the Milwaukee Wave of Hope

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:16 pm

How is the Milwaukee Wave’s new look and attitude impacting the team as a whole and its fan base?

“Crazy positive! The players are excited by the energy and camaraderie of it all. Having community support behind us has truly motivated everyone – Coach (Keith) Tozer, the team on the field, the office staff and me – to bring the championship back to Milwaukee. The new logo, uniforms and office remodel have really freshened things up and brought us closer together.”

How does the Milwaukee Wave attract players from around the world? How do you draw them to Milwaukee?

“The winning reputation of our franchise on and off the field attracts players from around the world. Coach Tozer’s leadership is an asset to our organization, and his work ethic is contagious. Needless to say, Milwaukee is a great community – there is plenty to offer in terms of social and cultural experiences, but it’s small enough that people can feel welcome and at home. Many of our players are pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of Milwaukee. So they’ve decided to stay here and build their lives. I think we can all be proud that players from Brazil, Holland, South Africa and Spain, among others, love it here and serve as ambassadors to this amazing city that we all call home.”

How do you plan to juggle your priorities and responsibilities between the Milwaukee Wave and the Wave of Hope?

“I immerse myself in my work, and I stay motivated by multitasking. I keep on track by setting priorities and deadlines and moving transiently from one project to the next. Working with the Wave of Hope feels more like an opportunity for me – an outlet by which I can give back to this community that I love so much. I can attribute its potential for success to the very strong board that we have in place. I feel very lucky and blessed to have the opportunity to work with some of the people that have mentored me throughout my career. Their leadership and passion is truly a gift, and I’m honored at the opportunity to work with them.”

What impact do you see the Wave of Hope’s new board members making on the charity initiative?

“More focused giving. We are working on the structure at this point to ensure that we are developing a really focused, long-term plan that will have a significant impact. Our mission statement is simple; kids, the environment and accountability. These are elements of community that I have been most passionate about throughout my career. So to me, it felt natural, a meaningful extension of what I love to do the most.”

What will be your organization’s main challenge in the next year?

“Breathing. Changing everything has been a daunting task, but paired with my own high level of expectations, it’s been tough to slow down and really reflect on how far we have come in such a short amount of time. After the structure is shored up with the new website, logo, business plan, all that stuff, next year will give us time to refine and keep taking the team to new heights. It will be to think innovatively and continually learn how to better engage and give back to the community.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“RESULTS. It’s such a simple thing, but we so often get caught up in the minutia and lose sight of the end goal. Consistently delivering meaningful results is my main focus. I find myself, throughout strategic planning and even my day to day, asking myself, ‘Why?’ Having a clear answer will ensure that success is achievable.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“Michael, Tommy, Dennis, Rick, Barry, my dad Dean, my Grandma Zelma, Lynda, Jill, Jim, Trig and Peggy. They have all uniquely contributed to how I’ve shaped myself and my career. I have always said we learn from everybody…either how to do it or how not to do it, but we learn.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing, and take the high road. Also, my dad told me to ‘fill up at a half tank, always have $10 in your pocket, and always have your business cards on you.’ I chuckle to myself all the time when I’m running late, and naturally on empty. And my grandma always said, ‘When the horse dies… get off.’ It’s been a good practice for me to keep this in mind – both personally and professionally. There’s no point in continuing to do something in life that doesn’t bring joy or progression of some sort.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Oh, I have a funny story, but this is the story I’ll go with: I was working at Arizona State Parks and leading a meeting in Tombstone, Ariz. A few cowboys randomly walked into the conference room and started firing shots from their pistols and a bit later started singing, ‘Happy Birthday.’ All shots were blank, but I didn’t realize it at the moment. Apparently this was a birthday tradition of which I was previously unaware. The staff that surprised me with this sure did get a kick out of it.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I used to spend a lot of time with my dog, Ranger, but she unfortunately passed away in August. That adjustment has been really tough – she was like my shadow. I love to visit projects that I’ve worked on – seeing how things can be transformed really energizes me. I enjoy sitting around a bonfire with close friends and being outside in general. Some of my hobbies are snow skiing, boating, and lounging in lakes and pools. I love to travel, and I am really looking forward to traveling with the team!”

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