MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee native is using her platform to give CEOS and young professionals a space for courageous conversations.
As a little girl, Corry Joe Biddle had big dreams of working in corporate America. Growing up on the northside of Milwaukee, a dream job downtown never crossed her mind, though it was only five miles away from her Havenwoods playground.
"My mind said when I graduate from college, I'm going to become a businesswoman. I have to go somewhere else. Havenswoods wasn't telling that story. I didn't see it," said Biddle.
An internship changed everything for her. Now, as the vice president of community affairs for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association Commerce and executive director of Fuel Milwaukee, downtown is now her playground.
In her dual role, she works with CEOs and a 7,000-member young professionals group.
Finding programming to engage and retain young talent is her goal, but the mission shifted last year.
With the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer and a societal shift to address the impacts of systemic racism, Biddle noticed her young professionals were in need of a space to listen, learn and lean in.
"Many of Fuel [Milwaukee]'s white members had never heard people speak so candidly about their personal experiences with racism, and hearts and minds were open," said Biddle.
She created a virtual meeting space and called it Race Bridge.
"We were able to do it twice a week and have anywhere from 200, 900 people on those calls, depending what the topics were. This opportunity was exciting to me. I felt like we were all expanding and growing together," said Biddle.
Biddle has seen transformative dialogue take place in a way she has never seen before.
"I have never heard so many CEOs say systemic, anti-black racism, dismantle racism - is this a social justice movement or an MMAC meeting? They are really leaning into this, because it is not about numbers anymore, it is about their actual talent.
As an MMAC executive, Biddle wants to make sure the next generation of talent, no matter their race, creed or ethnicity, feels welcomed in the spaces they occupy.