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Milwaukee Women Share Their Words of Wisdom

Good advice is something that really sticks with you, a searing truth cutting through the clutter of everyday life like a ray of sun through the clouds. With that in mind, we asked dozens of local women for their most inspiring insights.


Jenise Terrell

CEO, Public Allies

Ann Terrell

Longtime Education Leader, Author of Graceful Leadership in Early Childhood Education

JT: My leadership style has been greatly informed by watching my mom lead. And the first leadership lesson I learned from her was to master your craft and always be prepared. Mom, I remember you poring over your binders late at night on the kitchen table.

AT: Knowing your craft and being prepared is important, but you have to take care of yourself in order to do the good work that we’ve taken on or been assigned.

JT: My second most significant takeaway from watching you lead is to honor those who came before us, recognizing that we’re standing on their shoulders. It’s not enough to be the first, if we are the last. It is our obligation to ensure we are not the last to come through the doors that have been opened for us. We have to make sure there is a robust pipeline of leaders that follow us through the doors.

AT: Send the elevator back down and bring someone else up; lift as you climb. That is so important and so key as we move along our leadership journey – honoring those who supported us and bringing others along with us. I’ve been fortunate enough to have many women in my life who have mentored, supported and opened doors for me in this journey. It is so important to honor those folks – the people who believed in you, mentored you. In turn, it is our responsibility to bring others along. I’ve tried to do that. There are 20-plus women whom I’ve mentored. I’ve seen you do that in your leadership style too, Jenise, bringing others along.

JT: That is a big part of how I choose to lead. And it is a choice. Seeing people for who they are — who they have the capacity to become if given the opportunity. Most importantly for me, I have an affinity for leaders that look beyond the shiny penny and see promise in those whose potential is not typically recognized. In leadership sometimes it’s the small decisions we make on a day-to-day basis that have the greatest consequence. Just asking the question, “What does this human being need in this moment” can be powerful.

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