Marquette’s Institute for Women’s Leadership announces 2024 Transformational Leaders awards 

Leaders will be honored at IWL Gala on March 7

Marquette’s Institute for Women’s Leadership will honor three community and campus leaders with its Transformational Leadership awards as part of the third annual IWL Gala on the eve of International Women’s Day, Thursday, March 7, at 5 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union. 

The Transformational Leadership award recipients are: 

  • IWL Transform Award, which recognizes a community leader: Wendy K. Baumann, president/chief visionary officer of The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation 
  • IWL Inspire Award, which recognizes a member of the Marquette campus community: Dr. Jacki Black, director of Hispanic initiatives and diversity and inclusion educational programming 
  • IWL Engage Award, which recognizes a Marquette student: Hope Moses, executive director of the Marquette Wire and a fourth-year journalism undergraduate 
Denise Thomas

Denise Thomas, an award-winning entrepreneur, will deliver the gala’s keynote address on its theme of “Unapologetically You.” Thomas is the founder and owner of The Effective Communication Coach, a consultancy focused on transforming emerging and existing professionals into extraordinary leaders by mastering the art of effective communication. She will speak on the importance of leading with your best self and unapologetically operating in your power. 

The Institute for Women’s Leadership builds upon Marquette’s historic role as the first coeducational Catholic university in the world beginning in 1909. The mission of the IWL is to advance women’s leadership locally and globally through pioneering research, innovative programming, and collaborative engagement. 

More information on distinguished guests, award honorees 

Thomas has been recognized for excellence in leadership from companies including General Electric and MolsonCoors. She continues her focus on coaching people by traveling and teaching effective communication to professionals worldwide, including in Tel Aviv, Israel; Cartagena, Colombia; and Cape Town, South Africa. With 20 years of experience within Fortune 100 companies, Thomas has honed the ability to deliver and receive messages across language, cultural, and communication-style barriers. 

Wendy K. Baumann

The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation is a statewide economic development corporation. As president and CVO since 1994, Baumann guides the WWBIC’s mission to uphold the philosophy of serving businesses owned by women, minorities and low wealth individuals in Wisconsin. Baumann previously served as director of small business development at The Milwaukee Enterprise Center and was executive director of The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin at a time when the chamber saw its membership increase by over 500% and was honored as “Hispanic Chamber of the Year” by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on many boards and committees that promote economic growth and personal financial development, including as chair on the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy. 

Baumann received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, which honored her as The Graduate of the Last Decade in 1998. She has also received Professional Dimension’s Imprint Award, BizTimes Media‘s Woman Executive of the Year, and Innovation on Main Street Award from the Association for Enterprise Opportunity. 

Dr. Jacki Black

Black leads Marquette’s Hispanic-Serving Institution initiative, which seeks to provide greater access and support to Latinx and other underrepresented students. She provides strategic leadership and learning opportunities for faculty, staff and students with the goal of fostering a more inclusive working and learning environment. She also contributes to the execution of other campuswide diversity and inclusion efforts. 

Black earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in education from Saint Xavier University, and a Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership from Marquette. Prior to her role at Marquette, she devoted 15 years to teaching, mentoring, coaching, and advising in Chicago and Milwaukee schools. Most notably, she spent 10 years at Marquette University High School, where she taught Honors Spanish for Native Speakers, advised the Orgullo Latino student organization and served as the Latino Family Liaison. 

Hope Moses

As executive director of the Marquette Wire, Moses oversees a student newsroom of over 70 staff members and volunteers who produce content across their newspaper, magazine, radio and television station. She is also a reporting intern for the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism and previously interned at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Urban Milwaukee and The Community newsletter. Moses was named the inaugural Foley Fellow for the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation in 2022. That same year, she co-founded the Advancement and Guidance for Journalists of Color group to create community and support within the media space on campus. 

Moses has volunteered at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts and Girl Scouts of America Southeast. She also became a peer counselor through the Educational Opportunity Program, which allowed her to mentor first-generation and low-income students through their college endeavors. Following graduation, Moses will attend journalism graduate school at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.