Home Wisconsin Wisconsin’s 52 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 4

Wisconsin’s 52 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 4


This is the third of a five-part series. Part one is here, part two is here and part three is here.

Kurt Rose is director of human resources operations for Madison Metropolitan School District, one of the largest employers in Dane County. Before taking on that role in June 2022, he was interim human resources director for the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education, where he had worked since 2018 in a variety of roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He is president of Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals, which has dramatically increased its membership over the last few years. Kurt also serves on the board of directors of Madison Ballet.

Chad Miller is general manager and owner of Gallagher’s Pizza, with locations in Green Bay and DePere. For the last two years, the Green Bay location has hosted a free nontraditional community Thanksgiving dinner. He is also a basketball coach for Team 1848.



Miriam Brabham is multicultural student services manager for the Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) Office at the UW-Green Bay. She advises students on all aspects of their college experience such as classes, scheduling, studying, balancing life, and more. She also advises the student organization Women of Color and Black Student Union. 

Dr. Christina Outlay is executive director of Maydm, a nonprofit organization that prepares young people, especially students of color and girls, for careers in STEM. Dr. Outlay was an Associate Professor of Information Technology at UW-Whitewater and also the founder and director of colorcoded, an organization whose mission to fill the Information Technology (IT) career pipeline with more women and people of color lines up very well with Maydm’s mission and vision. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at DePaul University and a PhD in management information systems from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Linda Vakunta is Deputy Mayor for the City of Madison, where she assists with housing and human services issues. She previously served as Program Director at the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance International (HAI), where she led, developed, and designed training programs for government, community, and non-governmental organizations to combat trafficking in persons. In recent years, she has worked as a researcher with Sustaining Natural Circle’s CDC funded grant on understanding impacts of opioid use among African American women in Madison. As founding executive director of Project 1808, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit, she led the development and growth during a decade-long tenure from 2009-2019. She was instrumental in the growth, success, and global-local recognition of the group as an important player in transforming lives, enabling youth and adults, and building capacity in Sierra Leone through School-Community-University Partnership Models. She holds a PhD in Environmental Studies, a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kayla Conklin is the Talent Management Officer at Park Bank, but her passion for seeking out talent and helping people find their purpose has been prevalent throughout her career. After working in human services for two years, Kayla transitioned to Park Bank. Kayla was promoted to join the Human Resources team where she is responsible for recruitment, retention, and development of top talent with a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.  Kayla is working to create a bank that more accurately represents the Greater Madison Area. Kayla currently sits on four boards of other non-profits in the community to support and carry on their missions: Badger Prairie Needs Network, RISE Wisconsin, Urban Triage, and Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals. In 2018, Kayla graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Legal Studies and a certificate in Criminal Justice, and earned a master’s degree in business communications earlier this year.

Sheila Milton is vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and community engagement at UW Credit Union. In her current role, Milton serves as an institutional resource focused on promoting a culture of inclusion where all individuals can thrive. Her commitment to racial equity also extends beyond the organization, centering on strong relationships with community and campus partners to empower hand-raising, boost funding and increase volunteer support. Milton came to UW Credit Union from CUNA Mutual Group (CMG) where she served as the director of Talent Management. She has served on The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Conference Planning Committee and the Madison Area Diversity Roundtable Executive Steering Committee. Milton is a go-to speaker for DEI-focused events on behalf of The National Association of Credit Union Service Organization (NACUSO), The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Filene Research Institute. 

Dr. Robert (Bert) Davis is the President and CEO of the America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee and a member of the board of the Association of African American Museums. Most recently, he was Principal of the nonprofit strategic consulting firm DRMD Strategies, LLC and former President and CEO to two Iowa organizations: the Dubuque County Historical Society and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. He is also the former President and CEO of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. During his tenure there, Dr. Davis secured a $6.7 million donation, the largest foundation gift the Society had received to date. Prior to the Zoological Society, Dr. Davis was Vice President of Education for Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. His previous leadership roles also include Vice President of Education at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Director of Education and External Affairs at Zoo Atlanta, and he was the first African American to serve as a Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park Department of Animal Health in Washington, DC. Dr. Davis is a veterinarian by training, with bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Tuskegee University.

Dr. Stephanie Maney-Hartlaub is Senior Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Milwaukee. She is an experienced nonprofit leader with exceptional educational and team leadership experience. She is a proud graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools’ Riverside University High School. She most recently served as the Senior Director of Talent Strategy and Development for City Forward Collective where she oversaw their talent strategy and the principal licensure program they operate with Alverno College, identifying high potential leaders and developing them through a blend of rigorous study, coaching, and field experience.  Prior to joining City Forward Collective, Stephanie was a teacher and administrator with Milwaukee Public Schools.  Stephanie earned her B.S. in Education from the UW-Whitewater, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership and a PhD in Leadership, Learning, Service, and Research from Cardinal Stritch University.

Pastor Ken Lock is senior pastor at Evolve Church in Milwaukee, which started in Lock’s living room in 2019 and has evolved through the COVID-19 pandemic into a 1,500-person congregation. This past summer, the church moved into its new location, with mental health and financial literacy programs, as well as tutoring and other programs for kids. He is also the team barber and chaplain to the Milwaukee Bucks – the only person in the NBA to serve those two roles.

Dr. Ozalle Toms is Campus Executive for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wausau. She has worked in the field of education for over two decades. Her long-standing passion for education was ignited during her eight-year tenure as a high school special education teacher. At the higher education level, she is actively involved in initiatives relating to supporting university students who have aged out of foster care, those relating to student success and equity, access, and inclusion. Dr. Toms joined the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2012 and served there for 10 years as a faculty member in the college of education and professional studies and as an Assistant Vice Chancellor. Dr. Toms conducts training at the campus, state, national and international levels on microaggressions, civil discourse, and strategies for supporting foster youth and those who have experienced trauma. She also provides educational consulting to K-12 personnel and school districts on supporting at-risk youth and creating inclusive environments. She is the author of a recently published memoir, Letting Perseverance Finish, and the owner of DocOzLLC.

Part 5 coming tomorrow!