Registration Closing March 6 for Toward One Wisconsin’s April 11–12, 2019, Inclusivity Conference :: You Won’t Want to Miss This Community Event!

Written by Sharon Hunter


Former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton wrote:

Former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton

“It is necessary for every Wisconsin resident to be educated, embraced, encouraged, and economically integrated in every community. In other words, no one left behind, no one pushed out on the margins, no one excluded from the prosperity and opportunity abundant across our land. That mission toward a common good reflects a commitment to respect our differences and to seek equal political rights and equal opportunity. It includes celebrating the rich diversity in Wisconsin. This common good lays the foundation for a strong, inclusive state economy that embraces every citizen’s talents and aspirations.”

So, what will it take to make Wisconsin inclusive to all?

On April 11–12, 2019, a statewide Toward One Wisconsin Inclusivity Conference will bring together individuals and organizations from multiple sectors across the state to examine the most persistent barriers to inclusion, as well as successful inclusive practices being used across Wisconsin.

The conference intends to draw the entire state into a broad-ranging conversation around inclusivity as it relates to:

  • Workforce
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Education

Who Should Attend

Representatives from K–12 and higher education, business and industry, state and local workforce development, youth programs, health care, vocational rehabilitation, community associations, nonprofits, government agencies, faith-based groups, neighborhood associations, and more are all invited to register for the Toward One Wisconsin Inclusivity Conference at

NOTE: Registration closes March 6, 2019!

Conference Speakers & Co-chairs

The conference will feature 5 nationally known speakers, over 100 breakout sessions, and more than 200 presenters. 

Three keynote speakers have been finalized for the 2-day conference so far, with more to come:

  • Pardeep Kaleka is a former Milwaukee police officer and now a teacher and social activist. His father was 1 of 6 people killed at a shooting in 2012 at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.
  • Thomas Carr Frank, PhD, is an American political analyst, historian, and journalist. He co-founded and edited “The Baffler” magazine and has written several books on American electoral politics and propaganda, advertising, popular culture, mainstream journalism, and economics.
  • Edward Lee Vargas, PhD, is a nationally recognized speaker on creating high-performing school systems. He brings a wealth of highly successful multi-state and international leadership experiences and accolades as superintendent of schools in several states.
Brad Karger - Marathon County Administrator
Brad Karger, Marathon County Administrator

Brad Karger, Marathon County Administrator, will be presenting on the County’s new MLK “Day On” in-service held the past 2 years for all non-emergency County employees, recognizing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The MLK Day event addresses topics such as implicit bias, communicating through an interpreter, multi-generational workforces, focusing on ability (not disability), and the culture of plain clothes people living in Marathon County (e.g., the Mennonites) so that County workers can better understand and serve all its residents.

The Toward One Wisconsin Inclusivity Conference co-chairs include:

  • Rebecca Kleefisch, Former Lieutenant Governor
  • George Koonce, Senior Vice President, Marian University
  • Barbara Lawton, Former Lieutenant Governor
  • Rich Poirier, President and CEO, Church Mutual

“When I was asked to serve as a co-chair for the Inclusivity Conference, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to be a part of a greater effort to bring together people and groups from all over the state to examine inclusivity. Together, we will bring our unique perspectives from many varied backgrounds and life experiences to learn how to be more inclusive and socially just in our schools, in our workplaces and in our communities.”

— George Koonce
(Played in the NFL 10 years, 8 in Green Bay)

Conference Tracks

There are 4 conference tracks in which attendees will discover collaborative and innovative approaches, best practices, cutting-edge research, and/or success stories that addresses overcoming barriers to job entry, creating united communities that welcome all residents, embracing a healthy climate for youth in our schools and neighborhoods, and promoting health equity initiatives across Wisconsin.


Track I: Increasing Opportunities for Inclusion in Wisconsin’s Workforce

  • View or download breakout session descriptions and times.

Track II: Creating Inclusive Communities

  • View or download breakout session descriptions and times.

Track III: Raising the Next Generation of Inclusive Leaders

  • View or download breakout session descriptions and times.

Track IV: Building Health Equity in Wisconsin

  • View or download breakout session descriptions and times.


Toward One WI - Inclusivity Conference FlyerCosts range from $75 for students to $150 for non-profit and government attendees (and community members), to $200 for members of for-profit organizations.

The conference itself modeled inclusivity by offering scholarships for community members, students, and others to attend to help ensure that all voices are represented. (Scholarship deadline is now closed.)

We invite you to register to attend this conference held at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee — or consider being a sponsor — by visiting


For more information, visit or contact Eric Giordano, Executive Director, Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service at 715.573.5434 or or Sharon Hunter at 715.261.6104 or The Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS), a unit of the University of Wisconsin System, is one of the presenting sponsors for the conference, along with Ascension and Church Mutual Insurance.

Watch the video below to learn what presenting sponsor Church Mutual is doing to create a more inclusive workplace at their headquarters in northcentral Wisconsin.

Together, we will demonstrate how our state places the highest value on respect and dignity for ALL.

Together, we will bring forward the deep talent abundant in this state and put our collective shoulder to the wheel to navigate the changes and opportunities ahead for Wisconsin.

Sharon HunterSharon Hunter

Program Manager  |  Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service

Sharon Hunter is a dedicated WIPPS Program Manager. Among her many skills, she is most notably experienced in project management and grant writing. Sharon’s past experience includes work for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as a supervisor. Email Sharon Hunter.

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