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17 Women Business Owners from Across Wisconsin to Receive Awards

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and the Wisconsin Women’s Council today announced the recipients of the 2018 Governor’s Trailblazer Awards for Women in Business, recognizing women pioneers in the business community. Award recipients will be honored in a ceremony at the State Capitol in May.

“Women play a critical role in driving our economy, inspiring others, and leading our communities,” said Governor Walker. “Today, with our Trailblazer Awards, we recognize and honor female business owners for their achievements in business. These women set a great example in showing how to succeed in business no matter the obstacle. Our entrepreneurial Trailblazers are one of Wisconsin’s most valuable resources. We’re proud of and thankful for the hard work these women do every day to keep Wisconsin moving forward.”

This years’ 17 Trailblazer Awards recipients represent 19 counties and a wide range of industries, including non-traditional industries for women. These businesses have sustained families and anchored communities.  These Trailblazers bring leadership and lasting economic benefits to communities across our state, providing jobs and promoting innovation.

“We know women make the vast majority of household economic decisions, but we need to see women making more business decisions as owners and executives, using that same kitchen table common sense,” said Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. “These awards are an important opportunity to recognize the leaders and innovators who are on the front lines of the new, open economy, where growth happens organically and from the bottom up because men and women have the courage to step out and start new enterprises or to launch new product lines.”

Trailblazer Awards recognize the rich legacy of women's business ownership across Wisconsin.  Categories including family-owned businesses that are currently majority woman-owned and have been in operation for three generations or more, and businesses with sole or majority ownership by a woman, or series of women, for the past 25 years or more.  

Trailblazer Awards also highlight the impact of women’s business ownership in Wisconsin’s economy.  This year, the Trailblazer Awards program has launched the Forward Award – recognizing majority woman-owned businesses with over 100 employees.  According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, fewer than one-percent of women-owned businesses nationwide have 100 or more employees.  Indeed, the large majority of all female- and male-owned businesses with employees (other than the owner) have fewer than five employees.

To-date, 88 Wisconsin women-owned businesses, across 28 Wisconsin counties, have been recognized with Governor’s Trailblazer Awards.

"The value of these winners is not just in the past accomplishments we celebrate today – it is also in the women their trailblazing example will inform and inspire in the future to follow their own entrepreneurial passions and dreams,” said Mary Jo Baas, Chair, Wisconsin Women’s Council.

Woman-owned businesses were nominated for Trailblazer Awards through an open nomination process, including by business and professional associations, elected officials, colleagues, and employees. For more information, visit the Women’s Council website at

The Governor’s Trailblazer Awards for Women in Business are hosted by the Wisconsin Women’s Council in partnership with the Offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor;
and sponsored by BMO Harris Bank (lead corporate sponsor); The WIDGET Source, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), and the Women’s Business Certification Program of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Office of Supplier Diversity.

2018 Governor’s Trailblazer Awards for Women in Business (17 total, by county):       


Juliet Nowak
Managing Owner
Angels Loving Care, Inc.
Columbus | Special Recognition


Mary Beth Growney Selene
Founder & President
Ryan Signs, Inc.
Madison | Pioneer Award | est. 1987

Kim M. Lobdell, P.E.
KL Engineering, Inc.
Madison | Pioneer Award | est. 1991

Jocelyn Riley
Her Own Words, LLC
Madison | Pioneer Award | est. 1986

Charlene Blohm
President & CEO
C. Blohm & Associates, Inc. (CB&A)
Monona | Pioneer Award | est. 1991


Nancy Orth
Starr’s Sister Salon
Eau Claire | Pioneer Award | est. 1985


Lynn Seidl-Babcock, RN BSN
Owner & Administrator
HomeCare Health Services & Hospice
and Manitowoc HomeCare
Manitowoc | Forward & Pioneer Awards
est. 1974; woman-owned since 1991

Mary Floyd
Country Styler
St. Nazianz | Pioneer Award | est. 1976


Erica Herrera
President & Owner
EFH Trucking LLC | Special Recognition

Anne K. Maedke, DC, DABCI
Maedke Chiropractic Center
Milwaukee | Pioneer Award | est. 1983

Jane A. Svinicki
Svinicki Association Management Inc.
Milwaukee | Pioneer Award | est. 1981


Laurie W. Ziegler
Managing Member
Sass Accounting, LLC
Saukville | Pioneer Award | est. 1993


Kathleen Gionis
Gionis & Murtaugh Law Office, LLC
St. Croix Falls • Pioneer Award | est. 1984


Diane Everson
The Edgerton Reporter
Edgerton | Pioneer Award
est. 1874; woman-owned since 1992


Angela Goff Chmura
Goff’s Collision Repair Centers
Waukesha | Forward Award
est. 1967; woman-owned since 2005


Tammy Dannhoff
Kids Are Us Family Child Care
Oshkosh | Pioneer Award | est. 1989

Diane Penzenstadler
President & Owner
44° North Advertising & Design, LLC
Oshkosh | Pioneer Award | est. 1988