Home Wisconsin Wisconsin’s 48 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 2

Wisconsin’s 48 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 2


This is the second of a five-part series. Part One is here. Members of The Fam got this list last night — you can join now at Madison365.org/TheFam!

Chris Reece is a meteorologist at News 3 Now, where he has become a well-known personality in the community since coming to Madison in 2018. Days after the murder of George Floyd, he declared “it’s time for me to speak up,” and no longer follow the advice of a mentor who’d cautioned him not to take on controversial topics as a public figure. But in a June 2020 editorial on WISC-TV in Madison, he recounted hearing racist jokes as a child and being encouraged by a professor to give up on college, and called on viewers to change the narrative around race. He got his start in TV as an associate producer and fill-in anchor at Western Kentucky University’s News Channel 12 and a weather anchor at WBKO, Bowling Green’s ABC affiliate.

Dr. Rainey Briggs was named superintendent for the School District of Baraboo in July 2021 after serving as Director of Elementary Education in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District for the past five years. Dr. Briggs has served as a cultural liaison, teacher, and principal. As an African American boy growing up in poverty, Dr. Briggs quickly learned how to advocate for himself and others, and he has carried that passion over into his daily work. Dr. Briggs strives to bring a voice to marginalized students and families. As a principal, he collaborated with staff and families to bring the motto “Every kid, Every day, Whatever it Takes” to the forefront of their school and a mission to live by daily. 

Chayla Edwards is a defender with the NCAA national champion University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team, where she played in all 21 games during the championship campaign. She tallied six assists on the season, including an assist on the game-winning goal against Minnesota in the WCHA Final Faceoff. She recorded 47 blocks including seven in the shutout against Minnesota on Jan. 15, four against Ohio State in the Frozen Four and four against Northeastern in the National Championship game. She also earned WCHA All-Academic honors. From Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Edwards is a six-year player on the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite team and a long-time participant of USA development camps, while also competing for her high school, Shady Side Academy. A three-time first-team All-WIHLMA conference player, Edwards helped Shady Side win the WIHLMA championship her freshman and sophomore seasons. Through her first three high school seasons, Edwards totaled 71 points (38 goals, 33 assists) as a defenseman, and she received national recognition on USA Today’s 2017-18 American Family Insurance All-USA Preseason Girls Hockey Team.

Renae Sigall is a branch manager at UW Credit Union, where she serves the community through outreach and financial education. In her current role, she oversees the operations of the corporate branch location of UWCU located on University Ave in Madison. Renae is a Madison transplant, having grown up in Wisconsin Rapids. She holds an associate’s degree in supervisory management from Mid-State Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University, and a master’s degree in organizational development from Edgewood College. As an advocate for the credit union movement, Renae has been working in the financial services industry since 1999.

Britt Gottschalk is founder of ReVise Consulting, which she launched last summer. The Madison-based company offers virtual business consulting and partnering, learning and development workshops, talent management assessments, and strategic sourcing and recruitment. Britt says their most popular offering is the Remote Workforce Assessment, which she uses to discover the strengths of workforces and development opportunities to use resources most efficiently when operating in a virtual environment or in a distributed workplace – quite appropriate for the pandemic era workforce. Prior to starting her business, she worked in project management for WPS and Farwell. A native of Milwaukee, she has a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology and an MBA from Elmhurst University, as well as an undergraduate degree in psychology from UW-Milwaukee.

Evan Reed is senior director of impact investment strategy at Northwestern Mutual, based in Milwaukee, which he just joined in October of this year. He previously served Forward Community Investments as regional director for Southeast Wisconsin, where he oversaw investments intended to reduce social, racial, and economic disparities in Wisconsin Communities, and as senior program officer for equitable economic opportunities at the Milwaukee Community Foundation. He also serves on the board of directors for Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance. He holds a degree in finance from Marquette University.

Lamont Smith joined The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin as the Milwaukee Program Manager in the spring of 2021. His role will implement conservation and community resiliency efforts to increase urban environmental sustainability. He previously served at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, where his work centered on developing approaches to equity-focused organizational capacity building, public policy advocacy, and cross-sector planning. Lamont’s early professional path included nonprofit sector and project-based consulting experiences. He is an alumnus of UW-Madison and of the La Follette School of Public Affairs. Lamont resides in his hometown, Milwaukee, with his life partner Monica and their two school-age kids.

Devin Hudson is executive director of Silver Springs Neighborhood Center on Milwaukee’s north side. She took the helm in 2019 after five years as development director. She moved to the nonprofit sector after more than 16 years in sales for HeartLove Place, Milwaukee Radio Group and iHeartRadio. She’s also been an active volunteer, helping coordinate an annual event for Local Initiatives Support Coalition, mentoring youth with the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee, and coordinating the food pantry for Central City Churches.

Dr. Reginald Adams is a family medicine doctor for adults and children at Ascension All Saints Hospital in Racine. He joined Ascension nearly seven years ago after a year as medical director for Community Health Systems of Wisconsin and 10 years as a staff physician for Milwaukee Health Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse and a doctoral degree at Midwestern University in Illinois.

Part 3 coming tomorrow!