Meet the Speakers

We’re bringing you speakers rooted in Milwaukee, in purpose, and in community. We’re a little biased, but we think they’re awesome. You could just take our word for it, or get to know them yourself:

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As the founder and CEO of We Restore Humanity, Anna Oakes coaches leaders and entrepreneurs to reach their goals in a sustainable, meaningful way. Her approach combines dreaming big and a practical can-do attitude. The product of a hippie upbringing and a professional with 20+ years of corporate experience, Oakes is motivated to empower leaders not just to maximize profits but to be their best and truest selves. Whether she’s flexing her MBA or her yoga therapy certification, Oakes brings innovation, strategy, and relationship together to ignite passion and positivity in teams. She encourages us to embody intrapreneurship to maximize impact today and open opportunities for tomorrow.

Bria Smith is a youth activist, March for Our Lives representative, and President of the Milwaukee Youth Council. A resident of Milwaukee’s Harambe neighborhood, Smith attends high school in the suburban Franklin School District. In 2018, she founded Honey For Your Tea, “a platform for young women of color to express their experiences with oppression, discrimination and identity misrepresentation.” At eighteen, Smith has already spoken at Harvard and has established herself as an unstoppable force and advocate for youth. In the face of backlash, Smith relentlessly advocates for inner-city youth. She delivers a story of self confidence, the journey to activism and the importance of youth engagement.

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As President and CEO of Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, Griselda Aldrete lives by the advice, “Success is a responsibility.” Aldrete has a proven record of working to advance the Hispanic community and make leadership more inclusive in local and national, corporate and nonprofit contexts. Aldrete is a recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award, Marquette University College of Art and Sciences’ Young Alumna of the Year, and Wisconsin’s “Top 48 most powerful Latinos” list. She inspires us to recognize, receive and accept mentorship at any stage of our lives. Through mentorship, we can not only to better ourselves, but propel our communities forward.

As the author of The New York Times Best Seller Networking Is a Contact Sport, a former sports agent, an entrepreneur and investment banker, Joe Sweeney has some experience creating his own success. His passion and optimism for life came from what he describes as a “spiritual awakening” that occurred when he returned to Milwaukee after imitating a Jesuit mission, where he lived as a homeless man in Detroit for a week. Sweeney aims to share share his motivation and passion for life, stressing the role authentic connections play in finding one’s purpose. He emphasizes how the quality of our businesses and the quality of our lives are based on the quality of our relationships.

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Paige Peters is an engineer and CEO who has put her passion for protecting water into action to solve real-world community problems. Peters’ research while pursuing her Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at Marquette led her to found Rapid Radicals Technology, LLC in 2014. Peters has also taken her interest in sustainability global through collaboration with the R&D Chair for Global Water Stewardship the Madison Area Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, where she focuses on water supply and distribution projects in Guatemala. Peters shows us that we all have the ability and responsibility to impact others. Her work is founded on passion, fueled by talent, enforced by action, and never taken for granted.