The Studio Series is a candid and highly interactive event where students can learn from experienced leaders and be inspired about their own leadership potential. It invites accomplished women leaders and agents of change from across the region to the Mount Mary campus to share their varied professional and personal insights for a student audience.
Complete footage of our Studio Series is available to Time Warner Cable customers on Wisconsin On Demand, channel 411. Look for the Mount Mary category under TWC & Community.
Josephe Marie Flynn, SSND, Award-winning Author, Chairperson of Archdiocesan Justice for Immigrants Committee, Milwaukee
In her powerful and inspiring book, Rescuing Regina, Sister Josephe Marie Flynn, of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, tells the moving story of Regina Bakalan, a Congolese torture survivor who suddenly faced deportation and certain death in 2005, and the movement to save her organized by S. Flynn and the parishioners of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.
Jessica Disu (aka FM Supreme), Peace movement activist, recording artist, educator
Born and raised in Chicago, Jessica is the founder of the Chicago International Youth Peace Movement; co-founder of The Peace Exchange: Chicago – Asia; and is a founding member of Black Youth Project 100. She is a 3x international performing artist, 2x champion of Louder Than a Bomb documentary, educator, activist and youth peace advocate. When not performing music or mentoring young people, FM Supreme serves as a public speaker and has spoken and performed at Princeton University, Tuskegee University, University of Chicago and numerous colleges and universities across the United States. FM Supreme has performed across the USA, Europe; Amsterdam, London, Leeds, and in SE Asia; Thailand and Myanmar.
Lori Vance, Founder and Co-Director, Express Yourself Milwaukee
As the founder Express Yourself Milwaukee, Lori recognizes the value of the Express Yourself Model© through her work as an art therapy educator. In her psychotherapy practice, she gathered a team of artists in 2001 to launch a pilot Express Yourself program in Milwaukee. Lori continues to develop the model specific to youth in Milwaukee, with particular focus with youth in the court system, residential care and with youth who experience the challenges of poverty in the Milwaukee community. Lori has over 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families. She is also in private practice at Encompass Effective Mental Health Services, and has been recognized for her service work both nationally and locally. Lori is a Mount Mary alum and former faculty member.
Gretchen Mead, Founder & Executive Director, Victory Garden Initiative
Throughout her career as a social worker, Gretchen witnessed first-hand the negative impact that the current industrialized food system has on vulnerable populations. She observed that the poorest were the most susceptible to diet-related illnesses, especially where cheap processed foods are plentiful but fresh vegetables are inaccessible. Gretchen aspires to reintegrate our food ecology and our human ecology together in one system. She points out, "Our current agriculture system happens away from where people live; our goal is to reintegrate those systems."
Gretchen received her BA from Clark College and a Master of Social Work from University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. She has been awarded the 2012 GOLD (Graduate of the Last Decade) Award from UW-Milwaukee.
Pat Pearman, Executive Director of Oncology & Disease Solutions, GE Healthcare is responsible for the operational and strategic management and execution of GE Healthcare’s Disparity program which she launched for the organization in 2004. The program is focused on closing the gap in the quality and access of care for underserved populations across the U.S., building innovative research collaborations and community outreach programs that are culturally sensitive.
In 2006 Pat received the NAACP Martin Luther King Drum Major award in recognition of her work in minority and poor communities; and in 2007 the GLBT Ally of the Year Awards for her championing of Inclusiveness across GE.
Peggy Eskenasi, Senior Executive Vice President from Kohl's Department Stores, is responsible for oversight of all product development including product management, product services, private and exclusive brands and the New York design office.
She shared with our students some insight on mentors. "A great mentor for an individual is somebody who believes in them, who gives them honest and fair advice...Your mentors can come from anywhere," Eskenasi said.
Veronika Scott, Founder & CEO of The Empowerment Plan, has built an organization around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. That idea has transformed into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats for people living on the streets, giving them the opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence for themselves and their family.
She spoke about why more women should be in the design field. "The empathy part is huge...Women are different in that attitude. They care a little more about the follow through and seeing the full life of whatever it is that they create, " said Scott.
Kathryn Jackson, Founder & CEO of Protect Your Pumps, began her business in 2011 when she was a sales associate at a luxury department store. She developed the product as a solution for her customers who were frustrated by the soles of their designer shoes being destroyed so quickly. Today Protect Your Pumps is loved by women in over 60 countries and has been featured on the TODAY Show, SHAPE Magazine, and a host of other publications.
She spoke to aspiring creatives at Mount Mary about the importance of learning from your mistakes. "No one starts off making anything good. Everything is just repeated practice at working on your skills," said Jackson.