The Milwaukee Post

June 21, 2013

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6 • Milwaukee Post • June 21, 2013 Program makes Milwaukee's 'Future' bright Former Oak Creek mayor named executive director of Future Milwaukee; program's mission is to develop leaders in the community By RICH ROVITO Special to The Post MILWAUKEE – For 35 years, the Future Milwaukee Community Leadership Program has been molding a diverse group of leaders in the Milwaukee area. The program, which has produced 1,500 graduates who serve as leaders in business, nonprofit, government and community organizations throughout the region, has a new executive director. Christine Hill took over this month, succeeding Ron Kuramoto, who served as the program's director for six years. Hill brings more than 20 years of organizational development, human resources, negotiations and communications experience in public, private and nonprofit sector leadership roles to Future Milwaukee, which has been housed in Marquette University's College of Professional Studies since 2005. "As former mayor of Oak Creek and commission chair of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, as well as her experience as a Future Milwaukee instructor, Christine brings a unique and progressive perspective to our leadership program," said Bob Deahl, dean of the College of Professional Studies. Hill has worked with the College of Professional Studies and Future Milwaukee as a consultant and instructor, and she has also taught a leadership graduate course at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 2011. "I am honored to carry on Future Milwaukee's extraordinary legacy and to offer students a space where they can learn about leadership and the commu- AVOID COSTLY PROBATE (and Confusing Trusts) Changes to Wisconsin law have now made it possible to leave your entire estate to your spouse without going through costly and time consuming probate. Your spouse can then, upon his/her death, leave everything to your children, again without probate. All this can be accomplished without an expensive and confusing living trust. Please Call for a Free Simple Estate Planning Consultation 3625 W. Oklahoma Avenue Milwaukee (414)383-3902 232520154 Attorney James J. Winiarski nity and simultaneously apply that learning through hands-on practice," Hill said. The mission of Future Milwaukee, which operated as an independent nonprofit organization prior to shifting to Marquette, is to develop, motivate and empower diverse, ethical leaders who create positive change in greater Milwaukee through effective civic engagement. "Participants really are challenged to reflect on their own leadership skills and to grow personally and gain the ability to influence positive change in the community," Hill said. Program participants examine their leadership capabilities, focus on expanding skills and explore best practices in team building and collaboration. Students also engage directly with community leaders in organizations throughout Milwaukee County that are crucial to the community's vitality and health. "A lot of it really is about connecting with the community and having pride in the community," Hill said. She believes that program participants are less likely to leave Milwaukee for other cities, thus boosting the quality of leadership in the region. "They are more likely to stay because they made an investment in the community," she said. Future Milwaukee is engaging in a more focused effort to graduate students who can foster collaboration between public, private and nonprofit organizations, Hill said. It's also working to expand its influence and connection to the community, she added. Nkozi Knight, loan administration manager with the specialty resolution team at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Milwaukee, took part in the program after being referred by a fellow Marquette University graduate. "At first, I was skeptical but she spoke so highly of it that I felt obligated to give it a try and it was one of the best decisions I ever made," said Knight, who graduated from the program this spring. "The experience I had during the program gave me a profound appreciation of the concept of community and how so many people are working to make Milwaukee a better place in which to live." Knight said that applying the principal philosophy of servant leadership – shared power among the group – helped him become a more compassionate manager and leader. "When you lead as a servant to others, you in turn bring the best out of those you lead, which creates a much more effective team," he said. "I immediately witnessed an improvement in overall performance with most of my team members as a result of this practice." Through the program, Knight had interactions with leaders of Walnut Way, the Urban Ecology Center and the city of Milwaukee. "All of the leaders we met in the community had one goal; to make Milwaukee and the surrounding areas a place where people want to come live and help prosper rather than leaving and let waste," Knight said. Future Milwaukee is recruiting 35 to 40 individuals for its nine-month session. Participants will meet twice each month on Monday evenings from September 2013 through May 2014. Applications are available online. The deadline to apply is June 30. Tricia Bichler, a Wauwatosa resident who works as field quality leader for the north central sales district at Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation Inc., had seriously considered relocating to California but stayed in Milwaukee after being offered a highly desirable new job. Although excited about her new job, Bichler said it took her involvement with Future Milwaukee to rekindle her desire to remain here. "I figured I needed something that would get me excited again about my hometown and state, and Future Milwaukee came around at just the right time," she said. Bichler said she developed friendships, invaluable contacts and mentors through the program while gaining exposure to nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, city government and health care organizations, all of which led to a better understanding of the Milwaukee area. "It was like I was seeing the city for the first time, getting to learn about the good that is happening right under our noses, along with the challenges we must continue to drive to resolution," she said. "As for how I've applied what I've learned to my job, I'd say the most beneficial thing is an increased ability to see things from new perspectives." Bichler claimed her involvement with the Future Milwaukee program helped her "fall back in love with my city." "The experiences offered will certainly shape the way you see yourself, the way you see others and the way you see the city," she said. Ava Hernandez is a program manager at the Milwaukee Office of Public Allies, an organization whose mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen "A lot of it really is about connecting with the community and having pride in the community." – Christine Hill Future Milwaukee executive director communities, nonprofits and civic participation. She opted to apply for admission into the program as a means of strengthening her ability to foster crosssector collaboration. "It made me go out of my comfort zone," said Hernandez, who moved to Milwaukee from New Orleans eight years ago and graduated from the program this spring. "The program really strengthened my ability to listen deeply." The diversity of prior participants who had gone through the program appealed to Hernandez, as did the ability to broaden her network of people "committed to making Milwaukee a better place." "I almost wish I could go through the program again," she said.

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