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September Letter from the President

At our most recent membership meeting, Jonas Prising and the panel (list panel members) clearly defined the importance and role of corporate culture. Locally and internationally, Manpower’s purpose is defined as “meaningful and sustainable employment has the power to change the world.”

Corporate culture is defined as the set of attitudes, values, goals, and practices that that characterize an institution or organization. It is the values we publicly share with the outside world, shaped by the actions inside the four walls. It is our responsibility as leaders to manifest our corporate culture into one of community culture. We work tirelessly on being innovative, attracting and retaining talent, growing our economy and businesses, and making Milwaukee a safer community. This is an incredible opportunity for us to take best practices for defining a corporate culture into defining a culture for our community.

Recently, the Public Policy Forum released its newest report “Cultivating Innovation: Is metro Milwaukee prepared for the new knowledge-based economy?” With the participation of GMC’s Elmer Moore on the PPF Viewpoint Panel, we learned how Milwaukee is trending with peer cities in regards to talent and an educated population, factors that have shaped the goals and culture of our region for the past decade.

The key findings of the research were:

  • The Milwaukee area’s talent pool is strengthening and appears to be competitive with our peers. Educational attainment is rising and the region’s workforce is competitive with our comparison metro areas in its concentration of individuals employed in occupations associated with knowledge and innovation.

  • Our region is underperforming in its rates of business development and business survival. While entrepreneurship activity appears to have slowed nationally over the long term, the problem appears to be particularly acute in our region. In addition, metro Milwaukee’s rate of business survival does not appear to make up for its sluggish pace of business creation.

  • Capital formation remains an area of concern for the region. Federal grants and federally-guaranteed loans for business startups, expansions, and R&D activities have declined at a faster rate in metro Milwaukee than nationally, and Milwaukee underperforms almost all of the peer metro areas in attracting venture capital funding.

It was also noted by all that Milwaukee is having an incredible moment right now, a moment that can and will define our future. What becomes of that moment will define our culture, and a strong engagement from community leaders will ensure a culture of success and innovation for all our businesses-start-ups and mature companies. At the Foxxconn bill signing, Governor Walker ended the event with a challenge to all of us, “Everyone is concerned about Foxconn living up to their promises; Wisconsin must also live up to our promises to Foxconn. Key to keeping our promises is aligning all our talent and innovation systems.”

We are in a time of new buildings, job creation, and international recognition for attracting Haribo and Foxconn. It is an opportune time to leverage this growth and create a culture that Milwaukee wants and needs, becoming a driving point for talent attraction and retention, economic prosperity, business growth and innovation.

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