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Wendy Baumann is the President and Chief Visionary Officer of the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (known as WWBIC), a statewide economic development corporation. She’s just celebrated her 25th anniversary as WWBIC’s leader.
Wendy credits the roots of her success to her parents and the environment in which she was raised. Her Mom was the academic, a college professor of political science, a world traveler, a member of the Carter Administration and a political candidate who ran for congress in 1969. Her Dad was the entrepreneur in the family. She describes herself as a “make a positive difference” kind of person and, as you’ll hear – she starts every day with that mission in mind.
Before becoming WWBIC’s President, Wendy had Leadership roles at The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Goodwill Industries. When she joined WWBIC, the organization was struggling to get off the ground, having gone through 5 directors in its first 6 years of its existence. Wendy talks about what it was like walking into that environment and how she took a process-oriented approach to stabilizing the corporation and building a high functioning Board of Directors.
Next, she got out into the community to attract new advocates for WWBIC’s mission. During her tenure, the corporation has grown from an initial budget of $200k to $7.3MM, started 4770 businesses, created nearly 11,000 jobs and loaned $60MM to start-up and small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Mike and Wendy cover a ton of great stuff in this episode. She is one of the most connected people in Milwaukee and Wisconsin and serves on enough Boards to make a normal person’s head spin. When she makes it back to her log cabin home at the end of a long day, she uses her chef skills to challenge her creativity, release tension, have fun and eat well.
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