Milwaukee Women inc Celebrates 20th Anniversary and Releases 2022 Research Report

Percentage of women on boards of Wisconsin’s top 50 public companies exceeds 25% for first time; Anniversary event October 11 recognizes Nasdaq for its trailblazing diversity requirements

Milwaukee Women inc's 2022 Research Report "20 Years of Advancing Inclusive Leadership.” (Graphic: Business Wire)

MILWAUKEE--()--Milwaukee Women inc (MWi), a nonprofit organization that works to achieve balanced representation of women on boards of directors to maximize the performance of Wisconsin businesses, today released its 2022 research report, “20 Years of Advancing Inclusive Leadership.”

In this year’s report, MWi highlights the progress made in its 20 years of working to increase diversity on the boards of Wisconsin’s top 50 public companies (WI 50). The MWi research showed the percentage of women directors exceeded 25% for the first time, reaching 26.3% (up from 23.3% in 2021 and surpassing MWi’s goal of reaching 25% by 2025).

Key findings from the 2022 MWi Research Report include:

  • In the past two decades, the number of women holding director seats increased fourfold, from 30 to 120 women; while the number of ‘Power of 3’ companies increased sevenfold, from 3 to 22 companies.
  • Women of color hold 5.7% of director seats, up from 4.5% in 2021. While this year’s research showed an overall increase, progress remains slow, particularly for Hispanic/Latino women.
  • Public companies with three or more female directors saw a double-digit percentage point jump. This is a record-setting year-to-year increase in the ‘Power of 3’ companies in the state (from 34% in 2021 to 44% in 2022) following a multi-year trend to add additional women directors. Studies show at least three women directors is the critical mass needed to maximize diversity benefits.
  • Percentage of women on Wisconsin’s top 50 private company boards remained the same. In 2022, women hold 20.5% of director seats, largely unchanged from 20.7% in 2021. Wisconsin exceeds the national average for private companies (14%) but falls further behind progress shown by Wisconsin’s public companies.

“MWi has come a long way since the late Betty Quadracci and other forward-thinking executive women recognized the need for an organization dedicated to changing the face and quality of leadership in the Wisconsin business community. We have made progress in furthering our mission to place more women and underrepresented minorities on boards, but there is still work to be done, as we shared in today’s report,” said Kim Stoll, MWi board chair and vice president of sales and marketing for Badger Meter. “As evidenced in our research, companies across our state are taking deliberate action to further diversify their boards of directors. Nasdaq’s new listing rules announced in 2021 are a game-changer in corporate governance that will change the face and quality of board leadership for future generations.”

In August 2021, the SEC approved new landmark Nasdaq listing rules on gender diversity, requiring all Nasdaq-listed companies to annually disclose board-level diversity statistics using a standardized template and have, or explain why they do not have, at least two diverse directors by 2025/2026.

20 Years of Milwaukee Women inc

MWi is formally celebrating its “20 Years of Inclusive Leadership” with an anniversary event on October 11, 2022 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. Froedtert Health is the presenting sponsor for the event.

Keynote speaker Toni Townes-Whitley, former President US Regulated Industries Microsoft Corporation, Independent Director on the Nasdaq Board and Board Trustee of United Way Worldwide, will discuss Nasdaq’s trailblazing action to diversify boards and intentional strategies for equity and inclusion.

In recognition of its unprecedented action to advance board diversity, MWi will also present The Nasdaq Board with the organization’s inaugural Trailblazer Award. MWi created the award to “recognize a powerful voice fostering change on corporate boards and setting a vision of what modern governance should be.” Honorees Adena Friedman, CEO and president of Nasdaq, and Al Zollar, Nasdaq board member and executive partner, Siris Capital Group, LLC, will accept the award via video.

In addition to presenting sponsor Froedtert Health, nearly 45 companies are supporting MWi’s 20th anniversary event and activities throughout the year. Platinum sponsors are ManpowerGroup Inc., Northwestern Mutual, Quad, Robert W. Baird Foundation, Inc., Rockwell Automation, Inc., WaterStone Bank and We Energies Foundation. GMR Marketing is the video sponsor. The honorary chair for the event is Mary Ellen Stanek. Event co-chairs are Sharon Canter, Dr. Joan Prince, Lynn Sprangers and Marilyn Vollrath.

Milwaukee Women inc has been producing research on board gender diversity of the 50 largest Wisconsin-based public companies since 2004. To read this year’s full report, visit

To learn more about Milwaukee Women inc and how to get involved, visit:

About Milwaukee Women inc (MWi)

Milwaukee Women inc is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to achieving balanced representation of women on boards of directors to maximize the performance of Wisconsin businesses. MWi is a catalyst for change through its benchmarking research, education and advocacy, providing resources and programs that can help Wisconsin companies and organizations move the needle even further. MWi is committed to working with business leaders to increase diversity and to making the greater Milwaukee area a region of choice and an attractive environment in which to do business. The organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022-2023. More information is available on Milwaukee Women inc’s website:


Fran Fyten, Reputation Partners
651.274.5708 (mobile)

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Milwaukee Women inc Celebrates 20th Anniversary and Releases 2022 Research Report

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Fran Fyten, Reputation Partners
651.274.5708 (mobile)