June 29, 2021
Each year, United Way's Emerging Leaders honors five community leaders in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who give, advocate, and volunteer for change through the Philanthropic 5 Awards. The Philanthropic Youth award recognizes a youth community leader under 21 years old. Thank you to our longtime event sponsor, BMO Harris Bank, and our media sponsor, Milwaukee Business Journal!
Meet our 2021 award winners: Mark Boergers, Caitlin Cullen, Clintel Hasan, James Madlom, Bob VanHimbergen, and Philanthropic Youth winner Anya Ramos.
Celebrate them Thursday, August 5, 2021
There will be an in-person and virtual event option.
Mark Boergers is the chair of visual and performing arts at Cardinal Stritch University as well as co-artistic director of The Arc Theatre in Chicago, IL and co-founder of “Shakespeare on the Ridge” in Evanston, IL. An advocate for the community impact of artistic craft across all demographics, Mark’s work in both academic and professional arts settings centers around the ability for artists of all ages and backgrounds to explore their voice, tell meaningful stories, present accessible experiences, and create a rich community dialogue. Most recently, Mark’s leadership and vision through creativity and nimbleness resulted in new ways to present and share these stories despite a global pandemic. Not only did that help his students, programs and university remain relevant, but it demonstrated we can (and do!) respond to any challenge. Mark received his Bachelor of Science in Business and Theater from Marquette University and his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. He recently received the honor of tenure and promotion to associate professor at Cardinal Stritch University.
Mark is a creative man who continues to mentor and coach others to be the very best that they can be both on and off the stage. He found ways to keep theater alive during the very challenging time of the pandemic. He gives generously to many organizations both in our state and in Illinois. He has a can-do attitude and is a role model for others. -Anthea Bojar
Caitlin Cullen is the chef and owner of the Tandem restaurant at 18th and Fond Du Lac on Milwaukee's North Side. A former schoolteacher, Cullen shifted gears upon arriving in Milwaukee in 2013 and learned the ins and outs of restaurant life by taking every job she could get her hands on. From schlepping cheesesteaks at the now-defunct Philly Way on Brady Street, to prep cooking her way up to the sous-chef position at Bavette La Boucherie in the Third Ward, she found joy in cooking people a solid meal. After three years in the industry, she had the ill-advised inspiration to open her own restaurant, and ended up loving every minute of it. Since 2016, the Tandem has been serving scratch southern cooking while training the future of Milwaukee's culinary workforce, one young person at a time. In addition to her commitment to strengthening the future of the youth of Milwaukee's North Side neighborhoods, Caitlin is committed to building bridges between communities to make Milwaukee a more inviting place for all.
Caitlin embodies giving back to the community in everything she does. During the early weeks of COVID-19 she transitioned her nationally renowned restaurant, The Tandem on 18th & Fond Du Lac, to provide upwards of 100,000 free meals to those in need. Caitlin then worked alongside various Milwaukee leaders to secure $1M in funding for 50+ local Milwaukee restaurants to prepare and distribute food all over the community. Her pandemic pivot has literally helped thousands and I'm so excited she's being recognized! -Angela Quigley
Clintel Hasan is co-founder of LiberatED Consulting, an anti-racist education consulting service dedicated to building the critical consciousness of educators and school leaders on topics of race, class, power and privilege. She is also the strategic initiatives manager at Milwaukee Succeeds, working for educational equity in Milwaukee and leading their High School Success initiative, Youth Forward MKE and co-leading Milwaukee’s K12 Covid-19 Civic Response Team. In her early career, Clintel worked as the director of leadership development at Teach For America-Milwaukee. She provided teacher support aligned with culturally relevant pedagogy across the region, harnessed the power of TFA alumni in Wisconsin to advance educational equity, and led regional initiatives on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. A Milwaukee native and proud homeowner and resident of the St. Joseph’s neighborhood, her passion for social justice developed early on while studying Sociology and Gender & Women Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also holds a master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University.
Clintel has a visionary's ability to set a bold, transformative agenda and then partner with others to mobilize the resources and support to implement that agenda. Clintel sets herself apart as a passionate advocate and champion for equitable systems. Through direct and difficult conversations, Clintel has been an effective advocate for shifting power to those with lived experience. -Danae Davis
James Madlom serves as chief executive officer at Mueller Communications, Wisconsin’s leading strategic communications firm. Mueller is known for leveraging its strong relationships and problem-solving abilities to support the organizations making our community great. Through both his professional role at the firm and his volunteer commitments in the community, James is committed to expanding educational and economic opportunities for everyone in our community, but particularly for youth. He serves on numerous boards including SaintA, Near West Side Partners, Coalition for Children Youth & Families, Jewish Community Center and St. Charles Youth & Family Service. He holds a bachelor's degree and J.D. from Marquette University. He and his wife Gina were foster parents and adopted each of their three children. When he's not at Mueller or volunteering, you’ll find him on adventures with his family.
James is a firm believer that doing the right thing is always the right response, and it governs his leadership and service. There is no separation between his professional commitments and his personal passions: when James is passionate about an issue, he supports it in every way possible. And because he is a rock of support for so many people in his life, when James asks for support from others, he deservedly gets it. -Lori Richards
Bob VanHimbergen is the vice president & corporate controller for Johnson Controls, leading the global finance functions, global facilities and security. Bob has been with the company for 14 years, holding many positions with increasing responsibility. He has extensive global experience and has lived abroad in Shanghai, China on two different assignments. Prior to joining Johnson Controls, Bob worked at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for nine years. Bob currently sits on the board of Next Door Foundation where he recently completed his 12th year serving the organization, including the last three as chairman. Bob is also the chairman of Ascension Southeast Wisconsin, where he has served for four years and the Ascension Wisconsin Foundation, where he has served for seven years and the last three as board chair. Bob received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from St. Norbert College, and earned his CPA certification in Wisconsin in 2003.
Bob truly epitomizes servant leadership. Anytime we ask the business to step up on behalf of the community, Bob is one of the first to raise his hand in support. Bob goes above and beyond expectations as he consistently and generously contributes resources, time and influence in order to help our community win. Whether it’s leading board work, chairing a fundraising gala, or ensuring the company directs appropriate resources to meet the growing and challenging needs of global communities, Bob is always willing to roll up his sleeves in order to lead the way. We need 10,000 more leaders like Bob! -Grady L. Crosby
Anya Ramos will be attending Marquette University in the fall of 2021 to pursue an education in social welfare and justice. During her high school years, she was an active leader and community steward. She co-led a team project to replace her high school’s drinking fountains with filtered fountain fixtures to address Milwaukee’s lead water crisis. She assisted in planning and organizing a school-wide community service day resulting in over 400 hours of service, two years in a row. Anya also co-founded a community service group at her Boys and Girls Club site mentoring younger classmates, helping to guide them in the professional world. Through Anya’s journey with O.C.D., she realized mental health stigmas were a rising issue and has spent time advocating for mental health during her Youth of the Year competition. Most recently, Anya worked on the Milwaukee Public School’s district election with Leaders Igniting Transformation writing testimonies, educating students on the importance of local elections, and advocating for students’ needs.
Passing the baton to future leaders requires commitment on both sides, and Anya is one that shows that commitment. She is dedicated to a life of leadership and has proved again and again her courage and unselfish nature. She takes her personal story of mental health to the community with the hope that her courage can become the courage of others. Sharing this story can mean so much to so many people. Anya is a future leader impacting change and stands willing to tell her story for the longevity of that change. -Thelma A. Sias