Women of Distinction 2019: Melinda Wilke

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!

Melinda Wilke discovered a love for crunching numbers when, at age 12, she helped her dad complete his business tax returns. While working at a mutual fund company later on, she realized this industry was more than just the numbers. “I have to know the story, the whys and how it fits into the longterm plan.”

Through the “Wine, Women and Wealth” series she founded, Wilke likes that “there’s no judgment in that room. We don’t want money to be taboo. We want women to understand the why behind their wealth.”

“People become stronger contributors to the community when they understand money.”- Melinda Wilke, CFP®, RICP®, WMCP ®, CLU®, ChFC ® Wealth Management Advisor, Northwestern Mutual

Q&A with Melinda Wilke

How are you a force within your community?

“Many people talk about work life and personal life as if they are two distinct things. Without thinking about it, I usually end up blending the two together. Whether I am talking with a friend about their side business and the best way to organize their money, or relatives asking about how they can plan ahead for retirement, I become the knowledge transfer. I have found that the more information people are exposed to, the more they want to know, and the better they are with their life and financial choices. I want our clients to be great contributors to the community, but also love their wealth management plans. My work is truly a ripple effect.”

What is your life purpose?

“There are fewer female financial advisers in this industry. I have become an ambassador for encouraging those, who are interested, in pursuing a career in this sector or even becoming a client. There is a large population of women who are untapped, and I love to light a fire around this topic. My goal is to engage with women in the setting that they are most comfortable in: talking about a career, client meetings, workshops, or learning sessions. It usually only takes a spark for women to become engaged. I have found that with a little knowledge transfer, I get to see an evolution of confidence and intentionality in the women I serve, which is the ultimate reward.”

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Melinda Wilke is an Insurance Agent of NM. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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.