Meet the Bettys: The Standout Sister

Gerry Howze is a woman known for her support of other women.

JOIN US IN HONORING THE 2020 BETTY AWARD WINNERS IN A VIRTUAL EVENT DECEMBER 15TH. AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR ANNA QUINDLEN WILL DELIVER THE KEYNOTE ADDRESS AND JOEL QUADRACCI OF QUAD WILL PRESENT REMARKS. 

Among the pieces of advice Gerry Howze, the executive director of PEARLS for Teen Girls, likes to offer the young women she mentors is one that sits close to home: If I can do it, so can you.  

As a teen parent and survivor of domestic violence, Howze arrived in Milwaukee in search of a fresh start. She found one at Aurora Family Services, where Howze was mentored in leadership development. The experience left Howze, now 53, with an epiphany: “I thought, if people without money had access to these spaces, it would literally change the world.” 

Enter PEARLS, a nonprofit that focuses on leadership development for girls in grades five through 12. Howze started as the organization’s first program facilitator and later took over as director in 2015. “I learned my lessons the hard way,” says Howze. “And now I get to tell these girls that they don’t have to. I tell them they have greatness in them and that they are worthy.” 


Gerry Howze is one of the 2020 recipients of a Betty Award. Each year, Milwaukee Magazine presents these awards as a tribute to the late Betty Quadracci, the magazine’s former publisher who founded Quad/Graphics with her husband Harry. Read more about this year’s honorees here


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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