The MKE Tech Hub Coalition has appointed Accenture executive Kathy Henrich as chief executive officer, the coalition announced today.
Henrich was a senior manager of Accenture’s talent and organization practice and previously served in a variety of leadership roles at IBM. She has 25 years’ experience in the technology industry and she has also been involved in many tech and talent non-profit projects in the state.
"Amazing visionaries in some of Milwaukee's top corporations have made significant contributions to form the Coalition, and together we'll make a significant impact on Milwaukee to continue to grow our region as a tech hub to attract and retain talent needed for the future," Henrich said in a news release. "I'm thrilled to take on this opportunity and serve as CEO of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition."
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition is a partnership between six leading companies in southeastern Wisconsin including Accenture, Advocate Aurora Health, Johnson Controls, Kohl’s, Northwestern Mutual and Rockwell Automation.
As CEO, Henrich will work the Coalition board to advance the strategies of the MKE Tech Coalition which include:
Increasing the number of tech startups in the region,
Expanding the number of tech companies that relocate to or grow in Milwaukee,
Cultivating a dynamic vision and image for the region that attracts tech workers and
Creating resources and an environment that supports freelancers
To achieve these goals, Henrich said a lot of listening needs to be done, adding that connecting with local educational institutes, the startup community, coalition partners and other community non profits will be an important factor.
“First of all, as currently kind of an all-volunteer organization, we want to continue to energize the volunteer community here in the Milwaukee region,” Henrich said about MKE Tech Hub's culture.
The organization is in the process of building a team with these two qualities - a "startup mentality" and "inclusive of all parties in the city and the 7 county region," Henrich said.
It's not clear whether MKE Tech Hub will have a physical location. However, Henrich said that discussion could continue as she joins the team.
"That is one of the decisions to be made," Henrich said. "There's been some research done on it but that will be a decision that we'll have to make as I come on board."
Henrich is slated to start this Monday and on Tuesday, she will speak at the upcoming MKE Tech Hub Coalition meeting at Northwestern Mutual.
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition was officially announced during the main stage event at Fall Experiment, a two-day tech, art and gaming music festival that took place in the Wisconsin Center last year.
In 2017, Northwestern Mutual and Advocate Aurora simultaneously launched $5 million venture capital funds, Cream City Venture Capital and InvestMKE, which are investing solely in Milwaukee startup companies. Earlier this month, MKE Tech Hub launched the FOR|Minitiative, which is an incubator program.
Since 2019, the coalition has already engaged the Milwaukee tech community by teaching 10,300 hours of code to local students during Computer Science Week and launching the FOR|M initiative, which is an incubator program.