August Ball, Cream City Conservation
How do you give back to your community? I am the founder of Cream City Conservation Corps and Consulting, which cultivates the next generation of land stewards by engaging traditionally underrepresented youth in environmental career pathways.
What’s your best trail tip? Measure twice, cut once!
What would you do with a free Saturday? It doesn’t happen often, but I’d love to be in nature with my husband and dog and some coffee, just enjoying a nice walk.
Where would you go in a time machine? As a woman of color, there are not that many places in history I would want to go back and visit. I would love to go back in time to talk with my birth mother, who passed away when I was 3. I would want to go back and ask her a bunch of questions.
What is your next adventure? What are you excited about? I’ve been thinking a lot about cultivating that next generation of change makers, and there are a lot of organizations already doing that. I would like to support that work and start my own group to support youth social entrepreneurs, maybe through a scholarship to seed fund their dreams.
Kelsey Brenn, St. Augustine Preparatory Academy
How do you give back to your community? Everything I do is focused on making Milwaukee better. I love living here and want to make it great. I helped start a school on the south side of Milwaukee called St. Augustine Preparatory Academy. I’m part of a group called the Global Shapers, a group of young people who are passionate about changing Milwaukee. I’m on the board of Girl Scouts, an organization that was a big part of my life, and I think it is a really important program for young women. I am also helping with the Sherman Phoenix project on the North Side….wherever people need me, I love to jump in.
What advice would you give to a young person looking to give back? I think it is important to say yes, even if you are not sure how you could be helpful. A lot of the things I have gotten involved in were because I said yes when I wasn’t sure. That’s how I joined Global Shapers and met Austin Ramirez, which is how I got the job I have now.
Who is your hero or role model? I learned a lot from David Gay at EY when I worked there. I loved the way the company got involved in the community, and he really encouraged me to say yes. I joined office groups and committees and I was able to learn so many skills even above and beyond accounting.
What is your motto? Just keep going, keep doing. You don’t always see results right away, but you have to keep pushing. That’s why I love endurance sports, sometimes its frustrating but if you keep working, you will see results.
Kristine Havlik, Foley & Lardner LLP
How do you give back to your community? I’m a coach with Wills for Heroes, a national program that came about after September 11, 2001 as a way to give back to first responders and their families. A client of my law firm suggested we bring the program to Wisconsin, and they needed an organization with estate planning expertise. I was always looking for pro bono work, so I jumped at the opportunity to be involved.
Any special tips you give the first responders and families you work with? To relax, and that we are going to make it really fun and low-key for them. They are providing their family with peace of mind should the worst happen.
Who is your role model? One of my role models was Robert F. Kennedy. When I did forensics in high school, I spoke about Robert Kennedy and always closed with his quote: “Some people see things as they are and say ‘why?’ I see things as they could be and say ‘why not?’”
Words you live by? Always try your best and never run in flip-flops in the rain.
What are you excited about? What’s your next adventure? My son Cameron just graduated 8th grade and is starting high school in August. We are very excited about that, he will have driving lessons then thinking about college…it’s scary!
Daniel Sweeney, Wells Fargo
How do you give back to your community? In my work as community development representative with Wells Fargo, I help the bank reach out to low- and moderate-income communities guiding resources, both talent and dollars, to make those communities stronger. We partner with Habitat for Humanity and I serve on the board of directors and executive committee for LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation). Finally, my “fun” board role is with Historic Milwaukee.
Three words to describe yourself? Curious, adventurous, and genial.
Where would you go in a time machine? In terms of technology, we live in the best time there is. I would go back maybe 50 years to get to know my grandparents.
Favorite place to vacation? Anywhere on water. I’m looking forward to an upcoming trip canoeing on the Wisconsin River.
What advice do you have for other busy professionals to give back? Find a board or organization you are passionate about, and one that fits with both your interests and your schedule.
Ranell Washington, Town Bank
How do you give back to your community? I’m a co-founder of Social X, a young professionals group to help retain and engage diverse talent here in Milwaukee. Also, I’m an advocate for financial literacy, a money coach for Secure Futures at my old high school, Washington High School.
What is a piece of advice you give the young people you coach? Make good financial decisions, like using coupons and save for rainy days!
What was your first experience with financial literacy? My mom always told us to “pay yourself first,” by saving. When I got my first job I always put a little away.
In founding Social X, what was the need you were responding to in the community? After college, my friends and I used to host a lot of people from out of town and transplants new to the city. We loved showing people the city and encouraging them to stay there. A lot of people would come here and stay for 18 or 24 months and leave again, because they didn’t feel anything was going on. We started Social X to connect like-minded people and show them all that Milwaukee has to offer.
What’s an example of a Milwaukee outing you would choose for a person new to the city? The first place I would take them is definitely the lakefront. I think they did an amazing job making that an enjoyable space. Then, I would take them to the new Bucks arena, then to one of my favorite places to grab food. My favorite place right now for breakfast is Sweet Diner in the Third Ward. Finally, I would take them to Bronzeville, where there are so many great things happening.
Philanthropic Youth: Katie Eder, Kids Tales
How did you decide to start Kids Tales? Growing up, I was a big writer and I loved expressing myself that way. When I got to middle school, I began to realize how many of my peers hated writing because they didn’t always get the chance to write what they wanted. I started looking around for a place where I, as a 13 year old, could teach creative writing. I found COA Youth & Family Centers and taught a summer creative writing workshop. It was fun, but I didn’t really see it as anything bigger until a little girl named Alana, who was in the workshop, told me that KidsTales and writing was the first time she really felt she had a voice. That inspired me to continue these workshops to give other kids a chance to express themselves.
What advice would you give to other young people who have a dream, want to help, but can’t find an outlet? Take what you love and use it to change the world. We think we have to mold ourselves a certain way to conform to other people’s expectations, but by being ourselves we can have a huge impact.
What’s a tip you give the students about telling their own story? I always say “your experiences matter.” The very first day of the class, when we work with really little kids, we say “How many of you in the room are writers” and usually they look at each other and don’t say anything. Then we have them raise their arm in the air, bend it, and point at themselves, saying “every one of you is a writer, and every one of your stories matter.”
What are you excited about? I deferred from Stanford University and decided to take a gap year before starting college. I still have to solidify my plan, but I’m going to work on Kids Tales and encouraging young people to get out the vote. Depending on how the midterm elections go, I would continue working on youth voting for the 2020 elections or do a Spanish immersion program in Chile.
Learn more and register for the P5 awards event.