Milwaukee Succeeds
Press Release

Milwaukee Succeeds Names Danae Davis New Executive Director

Dynamic Nonprofit Executive Takes Lead Role in Community Partnership

By - Apr 10th, 2015 08:32 am
Danae Davis. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Succeeds.

Danae Davis. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Succeeds.

MILWAUKEE – April 10, 2015 – Milwaukee Succeeds, the broad-based community partnership of educators, business leaders, government entities, nonprofits, parents and other civic and community leaders, today announced the selection of Danae Davis as its new executive director.

Davis, who has evolved from the executive director to the CEO at PEARLS for Teen Girls, Inc. since January 2006, will assume her new role at Milwaukee Succeeds on May 11, 2015.

“I’m thrilled to work even closer with these dedicated community leaders committed to making sure every Milwaukee child who starts preschool is college and career ready by the time he or she graduates from high school,” said Davis. “This wonderful opportunity expands my passion for helping at-risk girls succeed in school to a much bigger platform throughout Milwaukee.”

Milwaukee Succeeds is a collaborative effort launched in summer 2011 by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation in partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Milwaukee Urban League, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and the Helen Bader Foundation as a way to unite the community around a common goal: making education work better for children in Milwaukee.

Davis has been involved with Milwaukee Succeeds since its beginning, most recently as the co-chair of its Operations Committee and active member of the Leadership Council.

“We’ve made progress in so many areas – third grade reading outcomes, improved ACT scores, tutoring resources and parent engagement,” said Davis. “We have engaged hundreds of individuals and organizations in our community to work toward a set of common goals that will improve the lives of our kids – no matter what school they attend.”

Milwaukee Succeeds Support

Milwaukee Succeeds’ leadership has enormous respect for Danae Davis’ dedication to the children of Milwaukee and believe she will take this education partnership to the next level.

“Milwaukee Succeeds works because of the sustained and enthusiastic commitment of its partners and stakeholders,” said Ellen M. Gilligan, President and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “Danae’s leadership will amplify this momentum and inspire further opportunity for our community to invest in the education and the future of our youth.”

“I am confident that Danae will help us achieve our shared vision of success for every child, in every school, cradle to career. We will rally around her strong leadership to ensure that students succeed in school and then to go on to a full life,” said Jacqueline Herd-Barber, Milwaukee Succeeds Co-Chair and Greater Milwaukee Foundation Board Member.

Dr. Darienne Driver, Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, Mike Lovell, Milwaukee Succeeds Co-Chair and President of Marquette University and John Schlifske, Milwaukee Succeeds Co-Chair and Northwestern Mutual Chairman and Chief Executive Officer served on the selection committee that recommended Davis lead Milwaukee Succeeds.

“Danae is a transformational leader who has done exceptional work in our community,” said Dr. Driver. “She is a true change agent, and I look forward to continue partnering with her to improve student achievement.”

“Danae is a force of nature who is impactful, influential, and delivers results,” said Lovell. “I know she will help us be successful in making sure all Milwaukee students are prepared to succeed in whatever career they choose.”

“I’m so pleased that Danae will be leading the next stage of our efforts to improve education in Milwaukee,” said Schlifske. “She has proven to be a results-oriented team builder with a strong commitment to Milwaukee children.”

Davis, a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and the University of Wisconsin’s law school, is a former legal counsel for the Governor of Wisconsin, a former executive at Miller Brewing and Kraft Foods, and the former director of the Department of Employee Relations for the City of Milwaukee.

Davis will succeed outgoing director Mike Soika, who now leads his own national consulting firm for collective impact, organizational development and creating community change.

About Milwaukee Succeeds
Milwaukee Succeeds is a broad-based, community wide partnership created in 2011 that aims to improve educational outcomes for every child in Milwaukee, in every school, cradle to career. Using a data-driven process that focuses resources on high-impact strategies, Milwaukee Succeeds, together with our community, will begin to move the needle on what works for kids, and better position our children and community for a successful future. More information at

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