SINCE 2019, Milwaukee Magazine has honored seven extraordinary women in Wisconsin with our annual Betty Awards. Named for the late Betty Quadracci, the magazine’s publisher for 30 years, the award categories each showcase one of Betty’s many traits: Groundbreaker, Tenacious B, Standout Sister, Arts Advocate, Risk Taker, Bridge-Builder and the Quadracci Family Award.
This year’s winners each exemplify Betty’s undeniable determination, creativity, tenacity and indomitable spirit. They will be honored at a luncheon and ceremony on Dec. 6 at Saint Kate – The Arts. For tickets and more information, click here.
Here’s just a sneak peek at this year’s honorees – read more about them in our November issue.
Dinorah Márquez is the 2022 Arts Advocate Betty, a catalyst helping to build and expand Milwaukee’s arts scene. Márquez is the founder and director of the 20-year-old Latino Arts String Program, which uses musical instruments – particularly, mariachi music – to connect students with their heritage. Her impact is not simply as a music educator. Marquez’s unique work is a way of preserving Latin American culture.
Kelsey Kaufmann is the 2022 Risk Taker, a fearless person who never settles for the status quo. Kaufmann took ownership of Bay View music venue The Cactus Club just a month before the pandemic hit, and in the time since has expanded the club’s mission, programming and reach. Through these initiatives, which include advocating for gender inclusivity, The Cactus Club is becoming a singular model of art, music and movement-building.
Dominique Samari is the 2022 Bridge-Builder, a woman invested in making Milwaukee a better place for all. An attorney and co-founder of the consulting group P3 (which focuses on equity and inclusion), Samari launched Kin, an initiative that spurs authentic, transformational conversations between individuals with real or perceived differences. The advocate for workplace diversity and celebrator of women’s voices also was a key facilitator in developing Imagine MKE, the city’s first inclusive hub for arts and culture.
Suzan Fete is the 2022 Groundbreaker, a woman who treads boldly where few have gone before. Through Fete’s leadership and vision, 30-year-old Renaissance Theaterworks is a thriving company committed to telling stories written, directed and performed by women. Herself a theater director, Fete has also created a festival – called BRINK – devoted to emerging theater artists, further impacting the theater community in Milwaukee and beyond.
Dana World-Patterson is the 2022 Standout Sister, a woman known for her support of other women. Strengthening women and girls is the focus of World-Patterson, who co-founded Milwaukee County Human Trafficking Task Force and created Foundations for Freedom, an advocacy and educational tool in fighting human trafficking. She leads with a compassionate, boots-on-the-ground approach, never losing sight of the mission to stop the exploitation of women and children.
Renée Anderson is the 2022 Tenacious B, a woman who embodies Betty Quadracci’s perseverance. President and CEO of at Saint John’s on the Lake, Anderson is more than an administrator. She spearheaded the daunting completion of a $123 million expansion project for Saint John’s, facilitated a UW-Milwaukee course on aging and the annual Symposium on Aging, and created a fund to support local efforts to lessen the effects of poverty, chronic illness and discrimination in older adults. In part due to leading the innovative “Person-Centered 7-Dimensions” programming model, Anderson has made Saint John’s one of the most respected senior living communities in the state.
QUADRACCI FAMILY AWARD
Julie Tolan is the 2022 recipient of the Quadracci Family Award, selected by Betty and Harry Quadracci’s children – Richard, Kathryn, Joel and Elizabeth, who choose an honoree whose accomplishments they feel would resonate with their mother. Recognized for her tremendous skills in leadership and strategic planning, Tolan guided the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee through a turbulent period of Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. Her rebuilding of the Y’s business model from emphasizing membership to program services buoyed the brand. She also spent 20 years at Marquette University, transforming the school’s fundraising arm. As owner and executive vice president of Lauber Trusted Business Partners, Tolan is further building on her expertise in leading high-performing teams.
Read more about the winners in our November issue’s roundtable discussion and profiles.