Michelle Feldman – 2004

Rising Star

This award recognizes an alumna or alumnus with less than ten years since graduation who has achieved significant success in her/his paid profession/career.

Rising Star Award

Mara Henningsen ‘11


We selected Mara for her energetic and impactful leadership that is quickly making a difference in our community by advancing opportunities for entrepreneurial women in Wisconsin.

Mara is a rising star in the Milwaukee area. Notified by an Alverno professor of a position at the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), Mara was hired as the vice president of client programs and services in 2012. Since then, she has demonstrated significant leadership and managerial acumen in a position where she is responsible for directing and expanding client services and externally-focused programs.

In her role overseeing statewide staff, Mara sets agency direction and establishes policies and procedures for best practices. In her first 18 months at WWBIC, Mara and her team worked closely with business people to increase entrepreneurialism. Total loan closings increased by 83 percent, capital disbursements increased 49 percent, and one-on-one counseling hours to clients increased 187 percent. 

The mother of two, Mara also donates her time outside of work to the community. She is a volunteer for public schools and community improvement programs, and serves as a legislative policy advocate for healthcare quality and access with children of all abilities. In 2014, Mara was named one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.”


Michelle Feldman Alverno College Rising Star Award Recipient

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