Last year, developer / green entrepreneur / sustainable Milwaukee advocate Juli Kaufmann was honored with the Milwaukee Business Journal's Women of Influence award.
This year, she served as the keynote speaker at the event which took place on Friday, June 20 at the Wisconsin Center. About 900 business executives were present and the 2014 winners included Children's Hospitalâ€™s Peggy Troy and Lynn Sprangers of Mount Mary University.
Kaufmannâ€™s speech created an incredible amount of buzz both locally and internationally for a few reasons. For one, it rhymed. Secondly, it was well written â€“ upbeat and yet hard hitting.
But most of all, the success of the presentation was rooted in the fact that, although honored by the recognition, Kaufmann critiqued the concept of an award based on gender and reminded how much more needs to be done for women to obtain equality.Â
Here is her funny, courageous, honest poem / speech.Â
What do I say, what do I think?I have no idea except I could really use a drink.
Look at this room. Youâ€™d all get my vote. What can I possibly say that hits the right key note?
So OK, fine Iâ€™ll give it a whirl - Iâ€™ll regale you with my passions, my wisdom-filled pearls.
Work for the earth, hug the trees, fight for social justice, save the bees.
Share the bikes, grow healthy food, invest in local business before weâ€™re all screwed.
Save a tree, yeah whatever. I saw a few of you yawn. This crowd could save a forest before the break of dawn.
My passions, your passions. Each of us sets a high bar. Been there, done that. Weâ€™ve all come so far.
So seriously then, what should I say? Can the words of my mother guide me today?
Sheâ€™d say to honor and praise. My mom, sheâ€™s so wise.
We know how much you matter. Your work changes lives.
How about my mentors on whose shoulders I stand? What inspiring words does their sacrifice demand?
I think theyâ€™d tell me to speak my truth today, to use my influence to shine the light of day.
This award is an honor it says "yes we can," but it also points out that Iâ€™m not a man.
So letâ€™s turn the tables, and imagine with me, a Men of Influence Award. Right? Thatâ€™s absurdity.
I guess our special day is just their every day. Well, Iâ€™m just a little tired of waiting to play.
I mean no disrespect. This is meaningful and grand, but more needs to be done when equality is not yet at hand.
Women have made strides in society at large, but itâ€™s still very clear we are far from in charge.
When will we be respected the same, not judged for genetics, but paid for our game?
When will we be valued on par, not honored for gender, but for just being a star?
Letâ€™s be acknowledged every day like him, him or him. The finish line for equality is the raceÂ I want to win.
How do we get there? Weâ€™ll start with your profound reach. We remember, we fight - and even if itâ€™s uncomfortable - we preach.
Sure, weâ€™re like flowers. We all came from seed, but weâ€™re not shrinking violets, weâ€™re tougher than weeds.
But we need men too. Where to begin? Start, by breaking us out of the boxes you put us in.
I say this for my son. And for your daughters so this next generation might drink from clean and fair waters.
No, Iâ€™m not a poet and I never will be, but Iâ€™m a person of influence. I hope you expected nothing less of me.
But, enough of my ranting. Iâ€™m done with my laments. Today, we celebrate your huge accomplishments.
Phenomenal women thatâ€™s all of you, caged birds who flew free to do the great things you do.
Milwaukee is your sphere, your chance to turn societyâ€™s page. So influence your butts off. Letâ€™s crack open a new age.
Rise up, letâ€™s cheer.Â Together we stand to our influential future. Letâ€™s give you a hand.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Jan. 25, 2015
Whether your kid is more bouncy or more craft-oriented, there's a Brew City birthday party that can accommodate his / her wishes - and hopefully your budget.
Published Jan. 25, 2015
OnMilwaukee.com recently stopped in at Fink's for a brandy old fashioned and to talk with bartender Mario Lanza about music, travel, dogs and neck tattoos.
Published Jan. 24, 2015
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission named Kimberly Blaeser as the new Wisconsin poet laureate for 2015-16. Recently, OnMilwaukee.com caught up with Blaeser and chatted with her about her writing, her family life, how being Native American influences her work, her favorite writers, the power of a good nap and what exactly the poet laureate does.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Buddha Lounge, 1504 E. North Ave., opened on Monday and OnMilwaukee.com stopped by to sample the sushi and drink an Asian beer or two.
Published Jan. 21, 2015
Pride has always been a residual effect of riding, building or promoting Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and once again, the H-D pride is reinforced through the Harley-Davidson Museum's latest exhibit called "(P)ART: Photographs Revealing the Art of Mechanical Form." This new exhibit opened last week and runs through Sunday, May 17.
Published Jan. 18, 2015
Angela Damiani is the president of Newaukee, an organization once known as a young professionals group that rebranded itself in 2014 as a "social architecture firm." OnMilwaukee.com recently chatted with Damiani about her role in the organization, her vision for the future and got a peak at her life beyond Newaukee which recently included a wedding.
Published Jan. 17, 2015
Earlier this month, Steph Davies announced that her art and gift consignment shop, Waxwing, would close at the end of February. Well, plans have changed and The Waxwing will remain open through January 2016.
Published Jan. 17, 2015
Rockerbox moved to Road America in Elkhart Lake after being in Riverwest for a decade. So now get ready for the first Brewtown Rumble. The street festival will feature bikes, music, food, drinks, a swap meet, custom bike contest, vending, a pin-up girl contest and more. It take place on Sunday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Best Place.
Published Jan. 16, 2015
Earlier this week, the Estabrook Beer Garden was vandalized. Although insurance will cover the cost of repair, a $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest of the people responsible for the vandalism.
Published Jan. 15, 2015
Brian "Blaze" Blazel moved to Milwaukee from Eau Claire to study mechanical engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, but enthusiastically changed directions when he was offered a job as a brewer at Milwaukee Brewing Co. Last summer, Central Standard Craft Distillery - a micro still and tasting room in Walker's Point - rented space in Milwaukee Brewing Co.'s building and hired Blazel as a distiller.