When BizTimes Milwaukee set out to create Wisconsin 275, a special publication profiling the most influential business leaders in the state, we sent a questionnaire to each of the 275 individuals that we picked to include on the list.
Most responded, and they provided some interesting and thoughtful answers to our questions.
Due to space limitations, we could only include some their responses to the questionnaire with their profiles in the print edition of Wisconsin 275. We are doing a series of stories online about each question in the Wisconsin 275 survey.
One of the questions that we asked the Wisconsin 275 was: What is one thing you would change about Wisconsin to make it even better? Their answers to that question touched on a number of topics including politics, education, taxes, diversity and inclusion, and even the weather. We are doing several stories about how members of the Wisconsin 275 answered this question, with each story focusing on a common topic brought up in their answers.
For our third story about this question, we are going to share answers that related to diversity and inclusion in the state.
What is one thing you would change about Wisconsin to make it even better?Paul Eberle, CEO, Husch Blackwell
“We need to honestly confront the racial, economic and educational disparities that are limiting our future collective success.”
Eve Hall, president and CEO, Greater Milwaukee Urban League
“Find continuous ways to galvanize people across race and ethnicity to build bridges and realize and promote the value of everyone having a chance at a quality of life and the opportunity to achieve it.”
Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and CEO, Quad/Graphics
“I would ask us to significantly improve the segregation in the city with truly holistic approaches to the current challenges. It's a problem that has persisted for a long time, and there are a lot of good efforts, but we should be better than where we are today.”
Debbie Allen, president and CEO, DNA Network:“More opportunities for economic empowerment, especially in the Black and Brown communities.”
John Daniels Jr., chair emeritus, Quarles & Brady
“We need to be more racially inclusive.”
Valerie Daniels-Carter, president and CEO, V&J Holding Companies
“To embrace diversity of others and the uniqueness of people.”
Dr. Robert Davis, president and CEO, America’s Black Holocaust Museum
“More diversity, significant educational reform and wealth equity.”
Morna Foy, president, Wisconsin Technical College System
“Increase the diversity of our communities.”
Michael Johnson, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County
“Would love to see more people of color represented on boards and in C-Suite positions to close the racial disparities that exists in our state.”
Ugo Nwagbaraocha, president, Diamond Discs International
“More successful African American-owned businesses expanding and investing in the local communities.”
Robert Pierce, executive director, Neighborhood Food Solutions
“Change the laws that target incarceration on the Black community.”
Jonas Prising, chairman and CEO, ManpowerGroup
“Wisconsin, and Milwaukee in particular has a skilled and diverse talent pool that we need to do more to utilize. The work of MMAC and M7 in making Milwaukee metro a region of choice for diverse talent are important steps in the journey to ensuring our region has access to the best diverse talent and people have the skills they need to stay employable and develop in their careers. It’s up to all of us as leaders to fulfill the promise of this work – improving diversity in our workforces and taking advantage of the talent pool we have here in our city.”
Jeff Ticknor, senior vice president and group managing director, BMO Commercial Bank, BMO Financial Group
“I believe I am the only dual member of both the MMAC (Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce) and the GMCC (Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce). Both organizations are focused on the racial wealth disparity. The Region of Choice in Milwaukee and DIJE (Diversity, Inclusion, Justice and Equity) in Madison are focused on creating communities that will attract, keep, and create wealth opportunities for our diverse talent.”
Christine Specht, CEO, Cousins Subs
“I would work to close the socioeconomic gap that exists among racial lines in some of our communities but do it in a way that promotes economic freedom and prosperity. I once heard that capitalism is the single best approach to lifting people out of poverty and Americans have countless stories that showcase this. I believe this starts by giving every child an excellent education where they not only learn the fundamentals but also have the chance to dream about what they want for their future. Aside from education, it is important to instill the benefits of creating a good work ethic.”
Gary Witt, president and CEO, Pabst Theater Group
“Change the cost calculus of inequality.”
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