Women of Distinction 2019: Tammy Gilpin-Ripp & Susan Freedy

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!

With 50 years of volunteering under her belt, Susan Freedy is nearly a lifelong volunteer, inspired by her parents’ own giving. Through The Salvation Army’s development committee, including mentoring others in fundraising, she created Swing for the Kettle, an annual golf outing whose profits benefit children’s programs including The Salvation Army camp in East Troy.

She felt that inner-city kids, some of whom have never spent time in nature, should be afforded the same opportunity. “I like to be very active and not just sit,” she says. Tammy Gilpin-Ripp, recently named the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County’s community relations chair, was attracted to the organization’s mission to treat adults and kids “with dignity and without judgment,” whether it’s providing shelter or dispensing school supplies. “I come from a family of teachers, nurses, police and military. It’s in my blood to give back,” she says.

Both women sit on the advisory board of the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County, an organization that helps everyone in need.

“I believe in passing on the baton. I’m not one to hold on to things.” – Susan Freedy, Advisory Board Volunteer, Salvation Army of Milwaukee County

“The bottom line: Treat others with kindness and respect.” – Tammy Gilpin-Ripp, Board Member and Volunteer, Salvation Army of Milwaukee County

Q&A With Tammy Gilpin-Ripp & Susan Freedy

How are you a force within your community?

Gilpin-Ripp has volunteered for the Salvation Army’s “Feed the Kids” program, “Coats for Kids” drive and, along with her husband, is a bell ringer and participates in holiday meal preparation for the annual “Family Feast,” which is a free Christmas Day meal available to the public that captures the spirit of the season and serves about 8,000 people each year.

What is your life purpose?

Freedy: “To help and work with people. My success is only rated on their success.”

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.