Jeramey Jannene

Near West Side, Prism Have New Leaders

Lindsey St. Arnold Bell and Brenda J. Bowers taking over at two influential nonprofits.

By - May 10th, 2023 02:24 pm
Lindsey St. Arnold Bell and Brenda J. Bowers. Photos provided.

Lindsey St. Arnold Bell and Brenda J. Bowers. Photos provided.

Two nonprofit organizations with a strong economic development focus for Milwaukee’s West Side have new leaders.

Lindsey St. Arnold Bell is the new executive director of Near West Side Partners (NWSP).

NWSP was created in 2014 by area anchors Marquette UniversityHarley-DavidsonMolson CoorsAdvocate Aurora Health Care and Potawatomi Business Development Corporation. It’s focused on stabilizing and growing the neighborhoods, including Concordia, Avenues West and Merrill Park, between Interstate 43 and Wisconsin Highway 175 and W. Vliet St. and Interstate 94.

The organization is a key partner in the Concordia 27 redevelopment project and is supporting the Harley-Davidson Hub Park project.

St. Arnold Bell joined the organization as associate director in 2016 and became interim director in 2023 when inaugural executive director Keith Stanley resigned to take a job in North Carolina with a group seeking to replicate the NWSP model.

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead Near West Side Partners and continue to expand on the foundation we’ve built over the last 7 years,” said St. Arnold Bell in a statement. “The Near West Side is on the cusp of some incredible progress – progress that I look forward to shepherding in partnership with this community. Near West Side Partners has always existed to be a force multiplier, convening individuals and organizations and activating opportunities. That focus on partnership and collective action will be at the root of my role as Executive Director. I look forward to empowering my staff and community as we work together to further our mission of ensuring the Near West Side’s full potential as a vibrant destination to live, work and play.”

NWSP hosts the annual Rev-Up MKE business pitch competition, whose winners have supported NWSP’s effort to revitalize W. Vliet St. by leasing brick-and-mortar spaces along the street. The organization also backed the creation of the Vliet Street Oasis. Its sponsors have have led the push to develop a new state office building at N. 27th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave.

St. Arnold Bell previously served as the secretary for the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Prism EDC

The Prism Economic Development Corporation (EDC) also has a new executive director.

Brenda J. Bowers, Ph.D., is the 12-year-old organization’s new leader.

Founded by Parklawn Assembly of God (now Embassy Center MKE), the EDC owns and operates the UpStart Kitchen food-business incubator and the Brigade MKE culinary apprenticeship program.

“She is a proven leader, social influencer, change agent, innovative thought leader, lecturer, author, and strategic planner,” said the organization in a statement announcing her hiring.

Bowers, a registered nurse, previously served as an executive vice president with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, now part of Ascension, and was responsible for the professional development of the organization’s executive leaders.

More recently, Bowers has worked as a health care consultant through her firm AWord4U.

Glenn Matthews briefly served as Prism’s executive director in  2022 before taking a job with Milwaukee Area Technical College. Leo Ries, the retired leader of LISC Milwaukee, previously served as the executive director in a consulting role.

Pastor Darryl Seay serves as chair of the Prism board.

Categories: Weekly

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