The Milwaukee committee hosting the Democratic National Convention has hired two new leaders after firing its top executives earlier this month over allegations they created a hostile work environment.

Raquel Filmanowicz will serve as chief executive officer, overseeing the committee’s fundraising operations, volunteer recruitment and venue organization plans.

And Paula Penebaker was hired to be the chief operating officer. She will be responsible for administering operations and managing staff.

Both begin their roles next week.

The Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee board last month fired President Liz Gilbert and Chief of Staff Adam Alonso. They immediately brought in Dem operative Teresa Vilmain, a Wisconsin resident and convention veteran, to manage day-to-day operations during the search for new leadership.

Filmanowicz has been working as director of U.S. Community Giving for BMO Harris Bank after previously working in the administration of Mayor Tom Barrett. Penebaker previously served as the CEO of YWCA Southeast Wisconsin.

The committee also announced that Vilmain, Shirley Ellis and Phillip Walzak will now serve as senior advisers to the host committee as well as the DNCC. 

Ellis is a Milwaukee operative who’s worked with Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, while Walzak was working in New York City before he was named a special consultant to the convention. Prior to his work on the East Coast, Walzak worked as an operative in Wisconsin.

See the release here.


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