Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, August 8, 2019

La Follette leads 18th Wisconsin Women in Government Program

2019 Wisconsin Women in Government participants 2019 Wisconsin Women in Government participants

Wisconsin Women in Government (WWIG) welcomed 26 women into its ranks after a leadership seminar in May led by La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee and Dennis Dresang, emeritus professor of public affairs and political science.

The 18th seminar brought women from around the state to Madison, representing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Administration, legislative offices, nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and more.

WWIG is a bipartisan volunteer organization that recognizes and supports women who work in local, state, or federal government or who interact with the government through nonprofit or private-sector employment. It hosts an annual gala to support scholarships as well as learning, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

“Our seminar evaluations consistently confirm that the opportunity to network with other women working in government is as valuable to participants as the academic content and practical solutions they gain,” said Bridget Pirsch, who coordinates the program for the La Follette School. “Our hope is that participants will be empowered and motivated to review their personal career goals and plan for the next steps.”

This year’s session included discussion and presentations on leading in public organizations, professional development, and workplace sex discrimination in the #MeToo era. Participants also heard from women in policy-related positions, including Joanna Richard, deputy secretary at the Department of Workforce Development; Kelli Thompson, the state public defender, and Karen Timberlake, principal at Michael Best Strategies.

The seminar also featured Hilary Shager (MPA ’05, PhD ’12), associate director for programs and management at UW–Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty, María Triana, associate professor of management and human resources in the Wisconsin School of Business, and Darcy Luoma, founder and president of Darcy Luoma Coaching & Consulting.

The four-session seminar began May 9 and finished May 17. The seminar is supported by proceeds from the annual WWIG Scholarship and Recognition Gala, traditionally held each spring.

- written by Jackson Parr