Volume 02 |March 2022

March is Women’s History Month. This is a time we are all encouraged to reflect on the impact many women have made throughout history, opening doors for many. Instead of looking far and wide, I have been able to meet history makers that continue to keep the legacy of YWCA Southeast Wisconsin alive today. Women making impacts are board members, staff, community partners and members that we work with in solidarity today.

Today, it is my pleasure to uplift Sheila Mayhorn. Sheila is an experienced servant leader. She has over 20 years of experience and has shared her time, treasure, and talents with the YWCA SEW for several years. A United States Army veteran, she is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and is a member of the Society of HR Management, Metro Milwaukee SHRM, and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources.
I’m pleased to announce that she has been promoted as our new Chief Operating Officer. In her new role, she is a leader providing oversight of day-to-day administrative and operational functions. She has been a pillar of the organization, particularly through turbulent times, and I join the sentiments of many who have been influenced by her. As this month ends, think of women making an impact in your life and tell them that they are appreciated and making history!
In the Pursuit of Justice,
Tracy L. Williams
President & CEO
In this Issue:
  • Collective Impact: Stand Against Racism, 2021 (virtual) Impact Report on March 30th
  • Circle of Women June 8, 2022
  • Education & Training:  Personal Financial Management Program & Zilber Family Foundation Collaboration, Adult Ed Program Growth (Part 2 of 3)
  • Women’s History Month: YWCA SEW Women Making History Today; Events Hosted by Community Partners
  • Advocacy:  Be Sure to Vote - City of Milwaukee Mayoral Election April 5th
Collective Impact
Stand Against Racism 2022 Expands!  
Join Us!

ONLINE: This year, YWCA USA is launching the Stand Against Racism 21-day Challenge in conjunction with the annual Stand Against Racism campaign. YWCA SEW is joining this challenge, which is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, especially those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. This program offers participants the opportunity to engage in and help foster a virtual community of growth and learning around social, systemic, and institutional racial inequity.

Those who register for the challenge with Southeast Wisconsin will gain access to facilitated small discussions (virtual and in-person) during the month of April.
IN PERSON STAND AGAINST RACISM CAMPAIGN PROGRAM: Using Your Power and Position to Shift Systems: Case Study of Collective Impact in Racine

WHEN: Wednesday, April 27th
  • 8:30am- networking and light refreshments
  • 9:00am- panel discussion
  • 9:45am- Q&A
  • 9:55am- Stand Against Racism pledge
  • 10:00am- Closing

WHERE: Racine Public Library

WHO: All are welcome to hear from
  • Evelina Garcia, HSED Graduate
  • Ciara Hartzog, Opportunity Advancement Manager, YWCA SEW 
  • Chelsea Powell, Managing Director, Higher Expectations
  • Shannon Powell, Chief of Staff, City of Racine
2021 Impact Snapshot

Join us for our annual virtual coffee break from wherever you are. 

Take a coffee break and join us for a snapshot report that includes highlights of our program outcomes and collective impact in 2021, as well as nod to what lies ahead as our vision expands in 2022.  Enjoy insights from Adult Ed Team Lead Janita Bonner and Opportunity Advancement Manager Ciara Hartzog, and a special greeting from President & CEO, Tracy L. Williams.  Click below to register.
27th annual Circle of Women:
I Show Up

This year, we are taking a fresh, intentional approach to building networks for equity. At our 2021 events, we invited the community to envision a just world. In 2022, Circle of Women will launch a specific path to action, offering event attendees the opportunity to complement financial support with intentional next steps to help transform women's lives.

Circle of Women has always catalyzed the philanthropy of women and their allies to provide significant financial support for YWCA SEW's work.
And, this year, the flavor and scope of the event will be different, starting with hosting the event at another amazing women's organization, Alverno College, named most "inspirational" school by the Wall Street Journal. Guests will experience ...

  • An interactive pre-dinner reception
  • Intentional dinner networking
  • #OneMisson program that will help you "show up"

Sponsorship and Partnership opportunities can be found on YWCA SEW’s web site starting Friday, March 25th.

To keep up with all of this year’s Circle of Women news and have early ticket access, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  To get updates directly in your email box, send a message with the subject line “2022 Circle” to communication@ywcasew.org
Education & Training
Personal Financial Management Program Launches Pilot Matched Savings Collaboration with Zilber Family Foundation Support 
Zilber Family Foundation’s support of YWCA SEW’s Personal Financial Management (PFM) program goes beyond a generous, one-time grant.  For three years it has invested in our PFM program, elevating the financial literacy and futures of program participants. 

The Foundation’s most recent grant continues to provide generous financial support, keeping this program free for all participants.  And its increased generosity has allowed YWCA SEW to add a pilot match savings program, complementing Walnut Way’s Community Wealth Building (CWB) campaign. The pilot is open to 25 adults who are either participating in the CWB campaign or who are verified residents of the Lindsay Heights neighborhood.  Match savings program participants have 6 months to save $500 and their savings will be matched 2:1 – they successfully save $500 and receive $1,000.  The program also includes required 1:1 PFM coaching and related workshops.

Economic Empowerment Program Director Jackie Carter notes that, “The pilot kicked off in August 2021 and one participant has already met the $500 goal with others solidly on their way.  The feedback is tremendous.  I am confident the combination of practical financial literacy education and support for personal savings habits will change lives.”  There are 8 openings still available to participate in the pilot.  
Adult Ed: How YWCA SEW’s Curriculum Development Work Addressed Justice Issues Embedded in Standardized Testing
Part Two of Our Three-part Series
Last month we shared the story of how YWCA SEW’s robust community-based Adult Ed program has been built on a foundation of expertise and trusted relationships. That expertise led to a transformative accomplishment that has been essential to expanding access to a high school credential. 

When GED tests were modified in the early 2000s, nationwide passing rates declined dramatically.  The standardized tests were now given only via computer and multiple inherent biases were identified in these new tests.  Inequity was baked in to the process.  “Competencies were implicitly imposed on GED test takers that were not required of traditional high school students,” notes Adult Education Director Jake Gorges.  He adds, “for example, existing curricula used college-level language to teach high school competency skills, requiring more of the returning adult learner than of 17 and 18 year-olds in a typical high school setting.”  

YWCA SEW successfully persuaded the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction that we had the adult ed expertise to develop curriculum without these inequitable barriers.  The result: a high school equivalency diploma curriculum relevant to everyday life.  Today, YWCA SEW’s proprietary HSED curriculum is delivered with a work-readiness focus that includes the opportunity to earn the ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate, empowering graduates for any path they choose – immediate work or further education, or both.

This strategic work to address an educational justice issue laid the foundation for the adult ed system change work YWCA SEW does now.  More on that in this story’s third installment next month.
United Way Racine Features YWCA SEW’s Adult Ed Program on its “Impact Tour”
On April 7th from noon to 12:30, United Way Racine will host another episode of its virtual “Impact Tour.”  Impact Tours are handy lunch and learn overviews of the community services United Way Racine supports, offering residents and businesses the opportunity to learn more about United Way Racine’s community collaborations.  This tour will feature YWCA SEW’s Education Outreach Coordinator Marie Hargrove and Opportunity Advancement Manager Ciara Hartzog. They will share YWCA SEW’s work to build an educated workforce. 
Women's History Month Continues
Here Are Just Some of YWCA SEW Women Making History Today
Sheila Mayhorn Appointed Chief Operating Officer

YWCA Southeast Wisconsin announces the appointment of Sheila Mayhorn to the role of Chief Operating Officer. An experienced leader with 20+ years in a variety of roles in both the private and public sectors, she brings both expertise and passion to the executive leadership team. She joined YWCA SEW in September of 2017 as Operations Director and was promoted to Chief Human Resources Officer in 2020. In her new role, she will provide oversight of day-to-day administrative and operational functions. Sheila earned a Master of Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a Bachelor’s in Communications from Illinois State University. A United States Army veteran, she is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and is a member of the Society of HR Management, Metro Milwaukee SHRM, and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources.
Congratulations Sheila!
Marva Johnson’s Been Making Women’s History at YWCA SEW for More Than 30 Years 
For some people, Marva Johnson is who immediately comes to mind when they think of YWCA SEW.  She has been making women’s history here for 33 years. Bringing to her work compassionate humanity and respect for the dignity of each person, the history of Marva’s roles includes receptionist and then employment specialist in the Work Experience Job Training program.  When YWCA SEW launched the Transitional Housing (THP) Program for homeless women and children, she found her destiny. There she helped women transition from the shelter to self-sufficiency.  Assisting with their needs could range from help with GED/HSED to college applications, resume and interviewing skills, job search and personal development, budgeting and time management coaching, as well as access to mental and play therapy.

While the “housing” part of THP is now handled by other community organizations, being part of the wrap around support and economic opportunity services YWCA SEW offers are still central to Marva’s service to others. When leaving THP and heading to YWCA SEW’s Opportunity Advancement Center, she came full circle. She continues to deliver services to our community to those who have once been employed, lost their income due to downsizing or been let go, as well as those coping with other common employment barriers (drug/alcohol dependency, mental health challenges, lack of child care or transportation, etc.).

Marva says, “Being at YWCA SEW has been a journey of love and I would not have done it any other way.”
To learn more about other women of YWCA SEW who make women’s history every day, check out our social media channels the rest of March!
Women’s History Month Community Event Highlights 
Milwaukee Film Wraps Up Women’s History Month with Thought-filled Events 
Black Birth: A Symposium on Black Maternal Health 
On March 26th leading care providers, advocates, and community members will gather to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health. This one-of-a-kind public health form will use the power of visual storytelling to remove barriers to understanding and promoting empathetic learning.  Pre-registration is free, open to the public, and includes lunch and refreshments.  To view the speakers list and get more details visit: https://whova.com/web/black_202203/

Lift as You Climb:  Collaboration and Mentorship
On March 31st Milwaukee Film will convene small business entrepreneurs and leading corporate executives – all women who are utilizing their platforms to build community, create change and empower others.  Join this conversation exploring how leadership, mentorship and collaboration are transforming women in business.  Location: Snifters Tapas & Spirits 606 S. 5th Street at 5 pm.
Gateway Technical College Hosts Panel on March 31st

“Leading Bravely” Panel Features YWCA SEW #OneMission Award-winner Tammie Xiong 

On March 31st from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, Gateway Technical College wraps up Women’s History Month with a diverse panel of distinguished women leaders sharing lessons from their personal journeys.  In addition, to Tammie Xiong, Executive Director of Hmong American Women’s Association and a 2021 winner of YWCA SEW’s #OneMission Award, panelists include Angela Haney, Community Organizer for the Racine Interfaith Coalition; Zina Haywood, VP and Provost at Gateway Technical College; Colleen Larson, Education Director for the Wisconsin Technical College System; and Adrian Rodriguez, Executive Director of Pubic Allies Wisconsin.  Click here for more information and registration
City of Milwaukee Residents – there’s a Mayoral Election on April 5th!
For the first time in decades, City of Milwaukee voters will elect a new mayor and neither of the candidates is an incumbent.  There are two people on the ballot, Alderman Bob Donovan and Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson.  We encourage all eligible voters to participate in making democracy work.  As we say at YWCAs across the nation:  Your Voice. Your Vote. Your Future!

Make sure you are properly registered and know your correct polling place location.  These resources will help:
Women Vote!
Make Sure You Are Able to Vote – Register & Have a Plan

  • Learn about how, where and when to register here
  • Learn about Absentee voting rules and procedures here
  • Learn about who the candidates are here
  • For other questions, check the City of Milwaukee Election Commission web site or call 414.286.3491 (TTY 414.286.8445)
Why should you support YWCA SEW’s #OneMission to eliminate racism and empower women? 

Because the work we did in 2021 and will expand in 2022 are the building blocks for a shared vision of a thriving, inclusive and just southeast Wisconsin defined by racial and gender equity. 
Thank you for continuing to support YWCA's mission!
Thank you to our generous funders, including these anchor supporters
Have a question about our work or want to request a speaker, please reach out at communication@ywcasew.org.