Leaders in the Fox Valley, Green Bay and surrounding areas are preparing for the first-ever Northeast Wisconsin Leadership Summit, coming May 9.
The one-day event, produced by 365 Media, will bring together the region’s most influential and dynamic leaders of color for important and constructive panel discussions on topics ranging from healthcare to education to DEI and more.
It will be 365 Media’s first regional event after five years of producing successful statewide events as well as three annual Men’s Leadership Summits and Women’s Leadership Summits.
More than 700 people attended the statewide 365 Leadership Summit in Madison last October.
“I am excited for the Northeast Wisconsin Summit because it brings professional development that really will be effective instantaneously, both with professional identity and cultural identity,” said Mai Lo Lee, director of the Multi-ethnic Student Affairs Office at UW-Green Bay. “I think it’s really important for the Northeast Wisconsin region. There are professionals who live and are invested in this area, born and raised, who have that identity, who are really working really hard to make Northeast Wisconsin even stronger. We don’t have to go far to get that professional development and support.”
Lo Lee will moderate a panel on healing and wellness at the event.
“We have these diverse voices who are professionals right in our backyard,” said Juan Corpus, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at New North. “Sometimes we think about Milwaukee and Madison being the major hubs for these. But no, we do have a growing list of BIPOC talent right here in the Fox Valley and Green Bay Area.”
The event will create a unique space where all are welcome, but people of color are centered. Thirteen panels will feature more than 50 speakers, all people of color — something unprecedented for the region.
“We don’t get the opportunity to be in spaces where we’re actually one of the majority,” Corpus said. “We’re normally navigating white spaces, so that we’re one of the few. Being able to be at these tables or panels, having some camaraderie and being in discussions where we are with folks that are similar to us or share some of the same challenges, that’s always great to have.”
Corpus said it’s important to mingle with people who come from different backgrounds but share similar experiences.
“It’s just creating new awareness regarding DEI,” he said. “We all know our lived experience. I know, as a Latino, my lived experience. But I don’t know a Black woman’s experience, I don’t know an Asian man’s experience. We have an intersectionality as BIPOC, but then there’s all the differences and other challenges and it’s always great to continuously learn. DEI knowledge does not have a goal line.”
Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill, who will deliver the welcome address to open the Summit, echoed that sentiment.
“As Chairman of the Oneida Nation, I feel the urgency to participate in the Leadership Summit. I expect to have great conversations about my lived experience and those of others,” he said. “Sharing our stories and experiences brings us together as a human family, renewing and creating bonds and friendships that break down barriers.”
Lo Lee has attended several 365 Leadership Summit events in the past, and especially appreciated the “family reunion” theme of the 2022 edition – the first to be held in person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not only was I able to get professional development and learn from other experts, and learn how we can make the state in our region better, but that collegiality, and that authentic investment was amazing,” she said. “And people were really out there to network and to show support and to find affinity.”
Corpus also made the trip to Madison for that 2022 event.
“It’s a refreshing energy for folks to be there and to experience these voices and to see folks who are doing similar work,” he said. “It’s always that renewed energy feeling that I’ve gotten from these types of conferences. I’m hoping that we’re going to have that same atmosphere.”
The Northeast Wisconsin Leadership Summit is being held Tuesday, May 9 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay. Registration for the event costs $149, with discounts for employees of nonprofit organizations and government agencies as well as students. A full lineup of panels and topics is available at this link. Additional information is available here.