Women of Distinction 2019: Kathy Panaro

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!

In 1995, Kathy Panaro started her boutique recruiting firm placing employees within the IT, engineering and manufacturing industries. The work environment she created had a family friendly culture back when “culture” wasn’t even a thing. “We hire people who love to work, set the bar high for themselves and have a higher level of energy than most people,” says Panaro.

“Our secret sauce is to truly know and partner with our clients to help them achieve their business objectives. We go out and find them the talented people they need to be successful.” Recently, The Panaro Group launched RENT-A-RECRUITER™, which gives smaller companies the opportunity to engage the firm’s recruiters.

Family is Panaro’s first priority, and she considers raising two lovely and successful daughters and enjoying a happy marriage, all while founding and growing a business, to be her biggest accomplishments. Additionally, Panaro is a board member and mentor for BizStarts, a nonprofit that mentors entrepreneurs, and is also a member of Impact 100, an organization that awards several $100,000 grants to nonprofit groups serving Milwaukee.

“Experience has taught me to try to be authentic, giving and respectful in everything you do and you will live with no regrets.”- Kathy Panaro, Founder, The Panaro Group

Q&A With Kathy Panaro

How are you a force within your community?

“My passion is helping other entrepreneurs like myself overcome the hurdles to success. I learned the hard way. I like to help women, but not only women. Working as a mentor to entrepreneurs and helping someone build a business is where I currently try to give back to the community. ”

What is your life purpose?

“I’m a connector. I’ve always enjoyed bringing people together, whether it’s in business or in family. My purpose is to connect people with the right resources or organizations to help them accomplish their goals.”

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.