Women of Distinction 2019: Jen Dirks

It is Milwaukee Magazine’s pleasure to introduce this special section featuring female business owners, financial and spiritual leaders, health care professionals, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and all-around glass-ceiling breakers!

TEMPO Milwaukee was founded in 1975 with a mission to further the impact of women leaders in Milwaukee, focusing on pillars of leadership, mentoring and networking along with buzzwords like advocate, elevate and accelerate. Jen Dirks became its president and CEO in 2014 – the first person to hold that position – bringing her experience in public relations and broadcast television (in markets like Milwaukee; Toledo, Ohio; and Rockford, Illinois).

“I have the good fortune of being surrounded by more than 380 women executives who have become mentors, collaborators, confidants and trusted advisers,” says Dirks. “There truly isn’t a greater gig in Milwaukee.” Outside of TEMPO, Dirks remains active with Thrivent Financial, ACTS Housing, PEARLS for Teen Girls and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Milwaukee as either a board chair or chair of committees and events. She’s also been a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee for 16 years.

“Women need to use their voices for positive change. In my role I don’t take this responsibility lightly.” – Jen Dirks, President and CEO, TEMPO Milwaukee

Q&A with Jen Dirks

How are you a force within your community?

“It is a great responsibility to serve as the face and voice for TEMPO Milwaukee members on important issues related to women, business and the workplace. I’m proud of the work TEMPO Milwaukee has done, and continues to do, to change the narrative for executive women in our community.”

What is your life purpose?

“My volunteer work has always focused on empowering young women to achieve their dreams, and I’m fortunate to have landed a career that aligns so well with this passion. It is an honor to carry out the legacy of TEMPO Milwaukee’s founding members and strive for a society where women hold an equal place in leadership, policy and decision-making.”

Click Here to Read More of This Year’s Women of Distinction



A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.