Vistage recognizes members with Excellence Awards

Recipients honored on eve of executive summit event in Milwaukee

Matt Mielke of Vistage Worldwide Inc. (l), Joe Gehrke of Kesslers Diamonds, Phil Hauck of Vistage, Jeff Rafn of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Lisa Reordon of OwnersEdge Inc. and John Howman of Vistage

Last updated on July 8th, 2019 at 10:56 pm

Vistage Worldwide Inc., a peer mentoring organization for leaders of small to mid-sized businesses, this week recognized three of its Wisconsin members as recipients of its Member Excellence Awards during a reception event in Milwaukee.

The awards are meant to celebrate “standout members from the local Vistage community, who have demonstrated proven leadership, innovation, impact and exceptional performance in the past year,” said Jen Sweeney, Vistage regional executive.

Award categories include the Impact Award, which recognizes the development and achievement in a new member; the Leadership Award, which recognizes a standout member for ongoing achievement; and the Lifetime Achievement Award, which goes to those who have been Vistage members of at least 10 years and exemplify a spirit of continued growth.

Joe Gehrke, president of Germantown-based Kesslers Diamonds, received the 2019 Impact Award.

Lisa Reardon, CEO and chairman of Brookfield-based OwnersEdge Inc., was the recipient of the Leadership Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jeff Rafn, president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

“Vistage has been an outstanding opportunity to really connect with other leaders and to really bring the classroom to somebody who maybe has some leadership competency but has never really had an opportunity to be a leader at an organization in front of all the mouths to feed and all the decision-making and the board of directors,” Reardon said.

The award winners were recognized during a reception on Tuesday evening at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee hotel. Following that, the group on Wednesday held its 2019 Wisconsin Vistage Executive Summit in Milwaukee. The event is intended to bring members together for a day of learning and connecting; programming includes speakers, interactive breakout sessions, research updates and networking sessions.

Formerly known as TEC-The Executive Committee, Vistage facilitates private peer advisory boards for CEOs, executives and business owners. According to its website, Vistage serves more than 22,000 members across 20 countries. Sweeney said WIsconsin is home to more than 600 Vistage members, with Milwaukee having the highest concentration of members of anywhere in the world.

Brookfield-based TEC was founded in 1957, and eventually expanded to become an international organization. All of the assets of the organization except for TEC Midwest were later sold to San Diego, California-based Vistage. Eventually, TEC Midwest was also sold to Vistage in 2016.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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