MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The Greater Milwaukee Urban League will honor local leaders and organizations whose efforts to champion equity and social justice make Milwaukee a better community for everyone.  

The awards ceremony will take place Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, during the GMUL’s 62nd annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon at the Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Networking and registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. 

The theme for this year’s Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon is “Entrepreneurship: A Road to Creating Jobs and Generational Wealth!” The special guest speaker for the event is John Daniels Jr., retired partner and chair emeritus, Quarles Law Firm.  

The premier presenting sponsor for the event is Molson Coors Beverage Co. Presenting sponsors of the luncheon are iHeartMedia and U.S. Bank. WISN-12 news anchor and investigative reporter Derrick Rose will be the emcee.  

Throughout 2023, GMUL will partner with Molson Coors to support local entrepreneurs. The GMUL Entrepreneurship Connection will work with other nonprofit agencies to convene monthly sessions with experts to provide entrepreneurs with free access to information, capital and support. The Connection will kick off with a panel on entrepreneurship immediately following the luncheon at 1:30 p.m. 

“Working collaboratively, we can ensure entrepreneurs have extended opportunities to build and expand their businesses,” said Greater Milwaukee Urban League President and CEO Dr. Eve M. Hall. “Building Black wealth empowers communities and changes lives.” 

As part of the program – which includes year-round networking opportunities – members will have access to the Black Entrepreneur Initiative platform, which provides resources, tools and ongoing support to grow their businesses and access capital. 

“Molson Coors is committed to championing diversity and closing the racial wealth gap across our hometown communities,” said Michael Nordman, senior manager of community affairs for Molson Coors. “We’re thrilled to partner with GMUL to launch the Entrepreneurship Connection, which will empower Milwaukee’s diverse entrepreneurs and small businesses.” 

Tickets and sponsorships for the luncheon and GMUL Entrepreneurship Connection are still available. For more information and to purchase tickets or secure sponsorships, please visit  

Individuals and organizations to be recognized at the luncheon for their commitment to equity are:  

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Legacy Award
Dr. William Finlayson, Retired Physician  

Corporate Advocacy Champion Award
Molson Coors 

Community Advocacy Champion Award
Thelma A. Sias, The Sias Group, LLC 

Media Advocacy Award
Pete Monfre, Retired Vice President and General Manager, Sinclair Broadcast Group, WVTV-TV (CW18 and My24)

Health Advocacy Award
Dr. Joseph Kerschner, Dean and Executive Vice President at MCW, Professor in the School of Medicine

Excellence in Philanthropy Award
Michael J. Barber Retired Chief Diversity Officer for GE 
Jackie Herd-Barber Community Volunteer

Excellence in Economic Development Award
Kevin Newell, President & CEO of Royal Capital Group
JoAnne Sabir, Entrepreneur, CEO Freedom Endeavors; American Family Insurance Community and Social Impact Investment Manager
Juli Kaufmann, Entrepreneur, President of Fix Development

Dr. Wesley L. Scott Education Award
Danae Davis, Formerly, Executive Director of Milwaukee Succeeds 

Young Professionals Making a Difference
Tiffany Henry, Milwaukee Office Director, Office U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin 
Sean Lowe, Product Sales Support Consultant for Northwestern Mutual 
Michelle Brown, Emergency Response Operations Manager Veolia
Jordan Roman, Director of Fundraising & Community Engagement, CommonBond Communities


Panel experts participating in the launch of the GMUL Entrepreneurship Connection, which will begin at 1:30 p.m., are listed below. Registration is required, as space is limited and at no cost. Please register at 

Marjorie Rucker, Executive Director, The Business Council
Nikki Purvis, President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin 
JoAnne Sabir, Entrepreneur, CEO Freedom Endeavors; American Family Insurance Community and Social Impact Investment Manager
Kevin Newell, President & CEO of Royal Capital Group
Willie Smith, Executive Director of Northwest Side Community Development Corporation 

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