Branch Programs and Events

2018-2019 Programs

Our monthly meetings are generally held on the second Wednesday of the month September through May.  Most of our meetings are held at the Sunset Playhouse Studio Theater, 800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove, Wisconsin.  A social gathering at 6:30 p.m. precedes the Business Meeting and Program, which begins at 7 p.m.  Prospective members and guests are welcome to attend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – Sunset Playhouse – 6:30 pm
     Voting!  Women!  Democracy!

With November mid-term elections just ahead, the subject of voting is most timely.  On Wednesday, September 12, at our first branch meeting of the season, we look forward to hearing from Mary Kae Nelson of the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County.

Her topic, “The Story of the League of Women Voters,” will focus on the history of this nearly 100-year-old organization as well as its ongoing mission. The League of Women Voters (LWV) was founded in 1920 during the convention of the National American Suffrage Association – just six months before ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Women were finally given the right to vote, after a 72-year struggle.  The League is non-partisan, neither opposing or supporting individual candidates or political parties.

Mary Kae Nelson has been a member of the LWV and a community volunteer for nearly 40 years. As past president of the Milwaukee County branch, Ms. Nelson represents the LWV on several coalitions that focus on social justice and voting rights.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and biology and a master’s degree in early childhood special education.  She is a retired educator in the Milwaukee Public Schools and was an adjunct instructor at Carroll University.

Program chair for September is Carole McFarlin, who serves as Public Policy Chair for West Suburban-Milwaukee branch.


Saturday, October 13, 2018 – Tea and Tantalizing Author Tales –                                             10:45 am (Local Scholarship Fundraiser)

The Author Tea on Saturday, October 13, is a major fundraiser for our branch’s local scholarship program. It will be held at the New Berlin Public Library, 15150  Library Lane, New Berlin, beginning at 10:45 a.m. The lunch will be catered by The Gingerbread House in Muskego. This is the 9th year of holding the author’s tea. It has become so popular that this year reservations are full.

This year’s tea will feature Christine DeSmet, noted for her Fudge Shop Mystery Series set in Door County. Ms. DeSmethas written many other books as well as screenplays and stage plays. She is a graduate of UW-Madison, where she earned two journalism degrees. She has also shared her writing skills through teaching story develpment to adults in continuing education settings and coaching aspiring writers who wish to polish their craft. Christine is currently the director of the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat, and she is a member of several writer’s organizations, which include the Wisconsin Writer’s Association, the Mystery Writers of America, and the Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum.

You can learn more about Ms. DeSmet at her website


Wednesday, November 7, 2018 (first Wednesday of the month) –Providing Trauma Care to Children:  “What Happened To You?  How Can We Help?”

Our speaker for November 7 will be Tim Grove, Chief Clinical Officer and Senior Trainer in trauma-informed care for SantA, Inc.  Tim has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Wartburg College and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a mentor with the Child Trauma Academy, a master trainer in ACE [Adverse Childhood Experience] Interface, and a Mandt instructor. He provides training and consulting to a broad range of disciplines in trauma-informed practice.

Trauma-informed care centers around “Seven Essential Ingredients,” which help professionals best understand and implement care for children in resilience, healing in relationships.

SaintA is an agency created in 2014 by the merger of St. Aemilian-Lakeside and Integrated Family Services. It is certified in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, created by Dr. Bruce Perry and the Child Trauma Academy as a biologically informed way to assess when trauma occurred in a child’s development and to create ways to mitigate its effects.

Claudia Meyer, of the program committee, will introduce the speaker.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019 (third Wednesday of the month) –                                                                          Sunset Playhouse – 6:30 pm

Perseverance and Pastries with Molly Sullivan, Owner and Pastry Chef of Miss Molly’s Cafe & Pastry shop where she leads her all-woman run team in creating from scratch food and bakery in a welcoming and friendly environment.  

While Molly was building her career on the Milwaukee restaurant scene, she was also building her business.  She founded her company in 2012 by catering weddings in her free time.  Molly will tell us her story about starting a business at a young age, including the obstacles and challenges she experienced.  Learn why and how she developed a workplace that is a positive, safe, and welcoming environment for women and girls.


Saturday Winter Breakfast Meeting, February 9, 2019 –                                                                                 Panos Banquet Hall – Crystal Room – 9 am

     The State and Future of Our Great Lakes with Dr. J. Val Klump who joined UWM in 1980 and is currently a Professor and Dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His research on how nutrients and carbon are cycled in lakes has taken him from the deepest soundings in Lakes Superior and Michigan aboard a research submersible, to the largest and oldest lake in the world — Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia.  Recent research has highlighted the presence and dynamics of “dead zones” in Green Bay including the impact of climate change on their extent and duration.

He is a member of several regional and national organizations including: the International Joint Commission’s Science Advisory Board Research Coordination Council, the NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System Federal Advisory Committee, the Wisconsin Sea Grant Advisory Council, and the Discovery World Board of Directors.  Dr. Klump holds a B.S degree in Zoology from Duke University, a degree in Law from Georgetown University, and a PhD in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  


Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Sunset Playhouse – 6:30 p.m.

Our speaker for the branch meeting on March 13 will be Susan Loris, Executive Vice-President for Institutional Advancement for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO).

At MSO, Ms. Loris oversees the Education, Marketing, and Public Relations Departments and manages the MSO’s overall operations. She also oversees the MSO’s educational programs, which provide opportunities in the arts for more than 30,000 children every year in approximately 250 Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois Schools.

Ms. Loris earned her bachelor’s degree in Music and Government from Lawrence University. Before joining forces with the MSO, she has held marketing and communications positions at the Milwaukee Ballet and the Florentine  Opera Company.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019 – Sunset Playhouse – 6:30 pm
    Ending Hunger in Milwaukee with Sherrie Tussler, Executive Director of Hunger Task Force.

What idea or effort founded Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force?  The simple answer is that parents banded together in 1974 to fight for healthy, universal school breakfasts for children in the Milwaukee Public Schools.  This group of individuals continued promoting important local policies to support food security in Milwaukee and its communities.  Food “banking” then followed in 1982, when a local television station held the first Food For Families food drive.  From that effort, the free and local food banking model was born.

Please bring donations of food that we will pass on to Sherrie Tussler.


The Garden Gala, Saturday, April 13, 2019

We cordially invite you to attend our Luncheon & Style Show.  Featuring budding trends & Styles in Full Bloom.  Proceeds to benefit scholarships for women.


Cocktails, Shopping & Raffles begin at 10 a.m.

Lunch is at 11:45 a.m. with a Style Show at 12:30 p.m.

Guests are welcome – Valet Parking – Headwear Encouraged!

Featuring Fashions by:  Mainstream Boutique, edie, cabi and Access Boutique.  Hair & Makeup graciously donated by:  The Institute of Beauty and Wellness.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019 (fourth Wednesday of the month) – Sunset Playhouse – 6:30 pm

Andrea Bequest, one of our own members, will be our last branch meeting speaker for this season.  She will be speaking about her Journey into Medicine. Andrea will describe her path to becoming a Physician Assistant.  We’ll learn what a PA is and how hospital medicine PAs function at an academic facility, including the barriers they face daily in taking care of and discharging patients. 

Andrea works in internal medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and
Froedtert Hospital. She graduated from Carroll University in 2009 with a biology and biochemistry degree, and she went on to complete Physician Assistant school at Marquette University in 2012. She has been working as a PA for seven years. Prior to working at Froedtert Hospital, she worked in an outpatient internal medicine clinic and at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital.

Andrea’s passion is contributing to the education of future Physician Assistants, particularly students from area programs around Wisconsin. Andrea is a great example of someone who lives our AAUW mission every day by advocating for women’s education, especially in STEM fields.