Meet the 2023 Philanthropic 5
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Meet the 2023 Philanthropic 5

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Head shots of All P5 Award Winners

June 27, 2023

What does it mean to be a leader in philanthropy? Leaders in philanthropy are focused on building stronger, more inclusive, equitable organizations and communities. These leaders empower and celebrate those around them. Right here in our community, we are lucky to meet these individuals every day.

Each year, United Way's Emerging Leaders honors five community leaders in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who give, advocate, and volunteer for change. We do this through our Philanthropic 5 and Philanthropic Youth awards. The Philanthropic Youth award recognizes a youth community leader under 21 years old.

Thank you to our longtime event sponsor, BMO, and our media sponsor, Milwaukee Business Journal!

Meet our 2023 award winners: Ayrton Bryan, DeShanda Clark, Robyn Ludtke, Sharlen Moore, Micah Ogé, and Philanthropic Youth winner Deisy España.


Join us at this year's event on Wednesday, August 2 at the Milwaukee County Historical Society! Register here.


Photo of Ayrton Bryan

Ayrton Bryan

“Ayrton often gives voice to those who don't have the capacity or connections to advocate for themselves.” – Lynn Heimbruch, nominator

As the Sustainability Project Manager at Rockwell Automation, Ayrton Bryan supports the globe as a champion for greater environmental accountability. Ayrton is leading the workstreams in the company’s determination of its enterprise-wide carbon footprint, Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of products, and greater tracking of sustainability related data (energy, waste, and water use).  In 2023, he was named to the Milwaukee Business Journal 40 under 40 and the Harvard Business School Young American Leader Program.

Ayrton is also passionate about community impact and empowerment. He helped create a new role at Rockwell Automation to drive great employee career outcomes. He is also active in several nonprofits focusing on diversifying small businesses and representation in the outdoors.

Prior to joining Rockwell Automation, he was an Environmental Health and Safety Manager at several global companies. His work focused on employee safety and well-being, environmental reporting, and employee engagement.



Photo of DeShanda Clark

DeShanda Clark

“DeShanda Clark is one of the most effective and passionate advocates for youth and young adults in the Milwaukee community.” – Tim Baack, nominator

DeShanda Clark is a seasoned social work professional who draws from her experiences with Walker’s Point Youth Shelter, Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services, and Nia Imani Family in which she most served as Assistant Executive Director. DeShanda has also been in a variety of roles at Pathfinders prior to becoming Senior Vice President of Programs & Services in 2022 where she oversees all programmatic operations. She was the Vice President of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center's board, and a member of the Wisconsin Association of Runaway and Homeless Services’ board. She is also a member of Professional Dimensions, and supports small businesses and efforts focused on young people such as Vertical Essence Dance Company, Amani Youth in Action, and Keep Your Head Up Society.

She has been a trailblazer in visioning non-traditional mental health services and supportive economic opportunities for Milwaukee youth and has demonstrated a deep commitment to keeping young people’s voices at the center of care. She has received recognition for her service by the Wisconsin Association of Child & Youth Care Professionals, Shepherd Express, and Mental Health Taskforce and is a Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leader. 

DeShanda continues to advance efforts in support of youth experiencing housing instability by serving on the Interagency Council on Homelessness and works alongside youth leaders who are in partnership with Milwaukee Continuum of Care.



Photo of Robyn Ludtke

Robyn Ludtke

“Giving back is a part of Robyn's soul, as she supports the organizations that she is passionate about.” – Mary Baer, nominator

As Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Workforce at the Waukesha County Business Alliance, Robyn Ludtke plays a major role in the county's economic development work. She oversees the Alliance's talent and workforce development strategies, the county's engagement with K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions, the Education Steering Council, and the Alliance's strategic initiatives, such as supporting DEI networks and technology integration into the business community.

Robyn completed her certification with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Talent Pipeline Management Academy, as well as her certification in Organizational Development. She also completed her Wisconsin Economic Development Course certification to enhance economic development concepts, methods, techniques, and practices in Waukesha County. Her experience is valued in master site planning committees within Waukesha County for local communities, and she frequently speaks at state-wide conferences to support driving workforce solutions for Wisconsin.

Robyn gives back to her community through her volunteerism efforts among various boards including United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Women United, Women and Girls Fund of Waukesha County, Blessing in a Backpack for Waukesha County, Lake Country Youth Baseball Softball, WCTC Foundation, Waukesha County Heroin Task Force, Hartland Public Library, Hartland/Delafield Water Commission, and many more. She is a recently retired, two-term Village of Hartland elected official and retired District Board Trustee to Waukesha County Technical College. 



Photo of Sharlen Moore

Sharlen Moore

“Sharlen has continuously had a strong commitment to young people, specifically teens and young adults 18-24 years-old, that are often forgotten about when targeting programs.” – Angela Quigley, nominator

Sharlen Moore currently serves as Director of Urban Underground and has committed her life to building and sustaining grassroots leadership for change. She has a passion for community justice, which led to her co-founding Urban Underground in 2000, a nationally recognized grassroots youth development organization whose members have been at the forefront of youth-led social change in Greater Milwaukee. Its members have consistently demonstrated both courage and determination as they address some of the most critical issues facing our community including education, public safety, health, and the criminal justice system. 

Sharlen is a native of Montego Bay, Jamaica and migrated to the United States with her family at the age of 6. Her commitment to youth was shaped by her early experiences with racial and economic injustice in Milwaukee. She is also the founding member of Youth Justice Milwaukee, which is a broad-based youth decarceration campaign advocating for the creation of community-based, family-centered, restorative programs as an alternative to locking up youth in Wisconsin prisons. Sharlen’s efforts have touched the lives of countless youth and have inspired a new generation of young leaders that will carry forth the struggle for justice and equality. 



Photo of Micah Ogé

Micah Ogé

“With a focus on developing the community's next generation of leaders, Micah is building teams that represent the diversity of the communities they represent.” – Annemarie Scobey-Polacheck, nominator

Micah Ogé is the Global Director of New Product Launch at Johnson Controls and is responsible for enabling growth by leading innovation, portfolio strategy, and go-to-market excellence supporting various products. For over 15 years, his authentic leadership has consistently connected growth-focused change movements for the business while also making an impact on local communities.

As a Forward 48 civic leadership alumni, Micah has been recognized for his ability to drive change while staying focused on the needs of the market and the community. He has worked alongside industry leaders to gift 100 homes to Veterans in partnership with Building Homes for Heroes, grant wishes across the country alongside Make-A-Wish America, and is involved with the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Recently, he has led a revival of Business Resource Groups networks globally. 

Micah supports the LGBTQ+ community with a drive toward authenticity in every setting, including leadership of a diverse and representative local dance team at Pridefest Milwaukee. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Communication at Marquette University, teaching courses in Public Relations and Strategic Communication in a Culturally Diverse Marketplace. 



Philanthropic Youth - Deisy España

Photo of Deisy España

“Deisy has made a significant impact on local organizations and is recognized as a leader in Milwaukee and Waukesha's nonprofit community.” – Alejandra Anastas, nominator

Deisy España is a college student looking to pursue a career in politics. Growing up in an immigrant family on Milwaukee’s south side, Deisy’s experiences inspired and motivated her to become the leader she is today. She is a community organizer who has been able to move many young and Latinx people to action. 

Through her activism, she has established good relationships with many organizations, community leaders, and working-class residents on the south side. Deisy aspires to run for office one day and hopes to represent her community in places where there are not many voices like theirs. As Deisy continues her road through college and beyond, she is conscious of one thing she must always do: serve others and fight against injustice. As a low-income, first-generation college student, she dedicates her work and accomplishments to those who have mentored, inspired, and offered their unconditional love and support. 

Deisy challenges herself to breathe life into those who fear using their voice and encourages others to do the same. Donde hay un sueño, hay un camino, ¡si se puede!




Join us at this year's event on Wednesday, August 2 at the Milwaukee County Historical Society! Register here.

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