Margaret Henningsen is fearless.
Margaret Henningsen is fearless.

Rad Milwaukee Woman: The Woman's Fund of Greater Milwaukee's Margaret Henningsen

Welcome to a series introducing the women who were nominated by professionals and will be honored at "The Rad Women Celebration: Being Rad for Social Change." The event is hosted by the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee and will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Italian Conference Center. The idea was inspired by the bestselling book "Rad American Women A to Z," by Kate Schatz, who is the keynote speaker at the event.  More information at womensfundmke.org.

Margaret J. Henningsen, a community activist who has run The Women's Fund of Greater Milwaukee since 2011, will retire on Friday. 

Henningsen has won more than 100 awards during her career, including the Black Enterprise Magazine Trailblazer Award; Milwaukee Business Journal Woman of Influence and the Professional Dimensions Sacagawea Award.

Currently she is the board chair and founding sponsor of the I Have A Dream Foundation and a Friends of Housing board member. Previously, she has served on dozens of boards for organizations including Walnut Way Conservation Corp., Habitat for Humanity, North Avenue Community Development Corporation and many more.

Henningsen’s favorite quote, by an unknown author, sums up her own rad approach to everyday living.

"Life is not a cautious journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body but rather to skid in broadside – thoroughly used up, completely worn out, proclaiming ‘WOW! What a ride!'"

OnMilwaukee: What is your personal "mission" with your work?

Margaret Henningsen: My personal mission is that all people – but especially women and girls – are treated with respect and dignity and are able to control their own destiny.

What do you personally receive from the work you do?

A quote I like comes to mind: "We rise when we lift others." That’s how I feel.

How do you define success?

Actually, I don’t define it in terms of myself because I am never 100 percent satisfied with what I am doing. Maybe it…

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Carmen Pitre is many wonderful things, including rad.
Carmen Pitre is many wonderful things, including rad. (Photo: Facebook)

Rad Milwaukee woman: Sojourner's Carmen Pitre

Welcome to a series introducing the women who were nominated by professionals and will be honored at "The Rad Women Celebration: Being Rad for Social Change." The event is hosted by the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee and will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Italian Conference Center. The idea was inspired by the bestselling book "Rad American Women A to Z," by Kate Schatz, who is the keynote speaker at the event.  More information at womensfundmke.org.

Carmen Pitre is the president and CEO of Sojourner, Wisconsin’s largest service provider for families dealing with domestic violence. Pitre leads a staff that provides crisis housing, system advocacy and individual support to thousands of women, men and their children.

Pitre is the recent past Chair of the City of Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and was an appointed member of the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Victim Rights Board. She is the current Chair of the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice Violence Against Women Advisory Committee and a founding member of the VAWA Human Trafficking Sub-Committee. She has served on the Medical College of Wisconsin Violence Prevention Initiative Steering Committee.

Pitre exemplifies rad-ness through her work, relationships and her gratitude.

"I am honored to have been nominated to receive this recognition," she says.

OnMilwaukee: What is your personal "mission" with your work? What do you personally receive from the work you do?

Carmen Pitre: Having grown up in a violent family, my personal mission is to help as many people as I can in life. I understand, in a lived way, what it’s like to be hurt, to be broken open, to grieve and to find your way back from these dark places in life. If you have had any of these experiences, you understand that you can only make it through because you’ve had someone helping you along the journey.

I have had so many wonderful people in my life. People who refused to give…

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Tammie Xiong is making a difference in her community.
Tammie Xiong is making a difference in her community.

Rad Milwaukee Woman: Tammie Xiong

Welcome to a series introducing the women who were nominated by professionals and will be honored at "The Rad Women Celebration: Being Rad for Social Change." The event is hosted by the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee and will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Italian Conference Center. The idea was inspired by the bestselling book "Rad American Women A to Z," by Kate Schatz, who is the keynote speaker at the event.  More information at womensfundmke.org.

Tammie Xiong is the executive director for the Hmong American Women’s Association.

Xiong is also a board member for Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, co-chair of the Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, co-founder of the first Hmong women’s giving circle in Wisconsin, co-founder of the Wisconsin Women’s Training Institute, member of the Wisconsin Minority Health Council and the Global Shapers Milwaukee, World Economic Forum.

For even more rad-ness, read on. Particularly her definition of success.

OnMilwaukee: What is your personal "mission" with your work? What do you personally receive from the work you do?

Tammie Xiong: My personal mission is to encourage and grow leadership of Southeast Asian women and youth here in Milwaukee in order to work towards achieving social justice for our community. What I receive from the work is hope that our community has the leadership to continue working towards creating a healthier and more vibrant future.

How do you define success?

I define success by what I am able to give to others in terms of support, mentorship and time.

Who has taught you the most in your life?

My mother and my father continue to profoundly influence my life, always encouraging me to stay humble, to love myself and to love and give back to community.

How would you like to see the workplace change for women in the future?

We need more women of color to be promoted in top leadership positions. We need their leadership.

What does a perfect day off from…

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Slide into clean, safe fun.
Slide into clean, safe fun.

Safety is number one at KeyLime Cove

I am a huge fan of The Dells and go every summer with my family. I love the entire scene: from the waterparks to the mom-and-pop shops to the Duck Boats. However, in the winter months, KeyLime Cove, located in Gurnee, Illinois, has become a getaway favorite of ours for a variety of reasons.

We’ve always appreciated how close it is to Milwaukee – an easy 45-minute drive south and right off the freeway. I also like how contained it is: waterpark, lodging, food and drink all under one roof. It makes for a relaxing visit, rather than a whirlwind experience.

This last trip, however, I realized there is something else that I really like about KeyLime Cove: its commitment to health and safety.

KeyLime Cove uses a small amount of chlorine to disinfect their waterpark water – which is a state law – and relies mostly on ozone to do the job. Ozone is 200 times stronger than chlorine but has no effect on skin or hair. Which, in short, means no burning baby eyes.

"Ozone injected into water it is basically oxygen and it kills any type of waterborne illness," says Dale McFarland, the general manager of KeyLime Cove.

I also noticed during this recent trip an unwavering attentiveness among the lifeguards. It was a busy Friday night, but the staff was abundant and really focused. McFarland later told me all of the KeyLime Cove lifeguards are certified by Starguard, which is a staunch program with unannounced auditors who show up at the facility regularly to assure the guards are practicing the high standards.

"We have always exceeded excellence in our audits," says McFarland. "Our management staff in aquatics ensures the utmost quality."

A few years ago, KeyLime Cove installed a new, non-slip floor and earlier this year, parts of the floor were again replaced with rubber. I did not witness one "banana peel moment" during my visit.

"The areas of new flooring has made a huge difference," says McFarland. "It’s almost completely eliminated slips and falls. We went down fr…

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