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New North Summit features leaps, leaders and legacies

performer, playwright, lyricist, composer and director of NOVA Programming for Northern Sky Theater Lachrisa Grandberry
The event’s second keynote speaker was performer, playwright, lyricist, composer and director of NOVA Programming for Northern Sky Theater Lachrisa Grandberry. Grandberry told her story of her ascent from a challenging upbringing to a flourishing career. New North photo

By Kaity Coisman

Contributing Editor

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN – The theme “Leaps, Leaders and Legacies” packed the Lambeau Field Atrium for the New North Summit on June 6.

New North region encapsulates 18 counties, including Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago.

Co-chairs Michelle Schuler, Sachin Shivaram and Mary Goggans opened the event with a recap of New North programs, business advancements and community highlights.

Goggans said this included 51 local projects and brought over $23 million in investment and leveraged over $346 million in personal and private investment as well as supported over 4,200 jobs in the region.

Another standout project was Environmental Social Governance (ESG), run by Goggans, which gathered like-minded people to brainstorm about sustainability and social inclusion in the area.

Goggans said this also includes expanding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to support these communities and bring them to northeast Wisconsin.

Governor Evers also made a virtual appearance during the event to share his excitement for the advancements throughout northeast Wisconsin, including but not limited to bridging the digital divide in schools and homes, bettering the roads across the region, investments in the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the 2025 NFL draft coming to Green Bay in April.

New North’s Workplace Excellence Award encompasses nine characteristics from forward-thinking leadership, the development of human resources and managerial experiences, and their ability to have lasting positive impacts on the community.

This year, the award went to Schreiber Foods.

Former Defensive Back for the Green Bay Packers and New North Keynote speaker Leroy Butler.
Former Defensive Back for the Green Bay Packers and New North Keynote speaker Leroy Butler. Kaity Coisman photo

“If you really want to get to know who Schreiber Foods is, you need to know our stories, our individual stories… If you want to get to know who we are, you have to know our stories because we are a collection of 10,000 stories and partners throughout the world, and we all have our own unique stories and contributions to Schriber Foods. There isn’t one title or one position that is more important than another,” said Schriber Foods President/CEO Ron Dunford, adding that the company was built on its values and responsibilities to the communities they serve.

The first keynote speaker — Microsoft Executive Vice President Mary Snapp — spoke about the innovation and technology behind Microsoft.

Snapp talked about generative artificial intelligence (AI), stating that companies are taking leaps in technology to make it better in the future.

Snapp described how the leaps in innovation behind generative AI sponsor growth in surrounding technology and create an economy expanded by its various uses.

She said that Microsoft has been using highly secure data centers around the world to become a leaders and create a lasting legacy in technology.

Some leadership initiatives include sustainability pillars of being carbon negative, water positive, zero waste and protecting ecosystems by 2030, in addition to offsetting all the greenhouse emissions since the founding of Microsoft by 2050.

The second keynote speaker was performer, playwright, lyricist and composer Lachrisa Grandberry.

Grandberry told the story of her ascent from a challenging upbringing to a flourishing career.

She was able to walk the audience through the importance of taking leaps toward advancement and having leaders who encourage growth.

This leadership has brought Grandberry to a place where she is now a leader to the younger generation and has been able to build a legacy of success after being named one of Wisconsin’s 52 most influential black leaders.

Other speakers included Green Bay Packers former defensive back and inventor of the Lambeau Leap, LeRoy Butler, and Co-founder and CEO of Axios Jim VandeHei.

VandeHei spoke about his entrepreneurship experience in creating a media company focused on breaking news and providing insight across business, politics, technology and the world.

VandeHei has led Axios to a digital media success story, and he discussed entrepreneurial leaps and how he has led his company to a successful future.

Butler spoke about how he leapt from growing up in a low-income community to the National Football League (NFL).

Throughout his journey, he had leaders who took a “leap of faith” to give Butler a chance at playing football in college and the NFL.

Butler played for the Green Bay Packers for 12 years and cemented his legacy with a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022.

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