Home Madison Women Developers to Speak on Transforming Neighborhoods in “Sparking Community Investment” Panel

Women Developers to Speak on Transforming Neighborhoods in “Sparking Community Investment” Panel

Panelists Sharon Adams, Melissa Goins, Juli Kaufmann and JoAnne Johnson-Sabir, and moderator Jessica Cavazos.

Racism, sexism and lack of access to capital have long been barriers to development in Milwaukee’s central city. But there are four female developers bucking the trend by creating wealth and opportunity in under-served neighborhoods who are coming to Madison to share their knowledge, according to a press release. 

The Sparking Community Investment Panel with Women Developers is made up of successful and equitable developers in the Milwaukee area. The panel takes place at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15, at the Urban League, 2222 S. Park St. There will be lunch catered from Dobahn Restaurant and the price is just $10. 

The developers will speak on how Madison can have a more equitable economic development landscape and the very real combination of profit and philanthropy.

Sharon Adams, panelist and founder of HN Development ,stimulated more than $25 million of growth in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood of MIlwaukee, where her childhood home is. She helped revitalize this neighborhood after years of economic strife. Adams said when working in development, mission matters.  

“I live and work in a transforming community. There are decisions that are made all along the way,  in every development. Is it equitable? Is this a good opportunity for my neighbors? Is this an opportunity for a diverse group of people, including people who are in a lower economic development. Is it good for all?” Adams said. 

Fellow panelists Juli Kaufmann and JoAnne Johnson-Sabir co-developed the fire-damaged BMO Harris Bank building located in the Sherman Park neighborhood, now known as the Sherman Phoenix.  The development is described as a model for healing the city by generating positive economic and social returns in communities of color. According to the website, the building and community is “rising from the ashes.” 

Kaufmann said the proof that philanthropy and profit can go hand in hand is in their work.  

“We have about a dozen specific examples that show how communities can become owners, tenants, operators, and customers – all sharing in the social, financial, environmental and cultural impact of Main Street real estate,” Kaufmann wrote in an email to Madison365.  


The Historic Wally Schmidt Tavern building is another example Kaufmann gave, a redevelopment in the “most deinvested zip code,” that has 45 local owners receiving 5 percent annually in cash dividend. The eight tenants – all women and Black-owned businesses – provide necessary goods and services to the neighborhood, Kaufmann said.

To register for the panel discussion visit forwardci.org

Read the bios of the four panelist below provided by Forward Community Investments:

Melissa Goins: Maures Development Group, has developed nine buildings that total 400 apartments and 20,000 square feet of commercial space, including the reborn America’s Black Holocaust Museum, a legacy of Dr. James Cameron.

JoAnne Johnson-Sabir: Juice Kitchen, is the co-owner of the Juice Kitchen and together with Juli Kaufmann, co-developed Sherman Phoenix, a vibrant and diverse business center that literally rose from the ashes of Milwaukee’s 2016 riots and fires.

Sharon Adams: HN Development, stimulated more than $25M in commercial developments in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood and is currently re-developing Adams Garden Park, an environmental hub including commercial space for organizations promoting green jobs in Milwaukee.

Juli Kaufmann: FIX Development, started her career with the Clock Tower Building and most recently re-developed the historic Wally Schmidt Tavern, 18th & Fond du Lac, which is home to FCI’s Milwaukee office along with The Tandem restaurant.