Course Description



The City of Madison’s Women+ Leadership Series is designed to increase representation of women and other marginalized genders in the highest levels of leadership and close the leadership gender gap at the City of Madison by continuing to create a learning and development space that uniquely challenges and supports women and other marginalized genders.

Why the plus (+) in Women+ Leadership Series?

At the City of Madison, we are working on inclusivity in our trainings. We know that marginalized genders such as transgender and cisgender women, as well as all transgender and non-binary people, are underrepresented in our workforce and in leadership positions. With diverse speakers and topics this year, our series offers concrete leadership development skills that can benefit people of all marginalized genders.

In 2020, we recognize and accept the challenge of COVID-19 and our new normal. The new normal is uncertain yet we have decided to pivot and reimagine W+LS. We ask ourselves what it means to lead with courage and vulnerability in spite of uncertainty. We are ask ourselves what it means to connect and create space virtually. We ask ourselves what it means to consider all marginalized genders, including non-binary people, trans women & men, and those who may be questioning their gender.

2020 Series Goals

The Women+ Leadership Series (WLS) will:

  • Deliver learning and professional development that is responsive to the intersection of people’s identities specifically gender, race, class, sexuality, and ability
  • Promote well-being and a holistic approach to employee development and acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 on participants specifically those who are caretakers
  • Provide practical guidance for participants to navigate their individual leadership development and identify skills needed to advance their careers
  • Grow networks across departments and job type by deepening connections among participants, and create a supportive space for participants to share unique challenges in the workplace


September 15
8:00-12:30 pm
Day 1: Planting new seeds Presenter
Session 1 Leading beyond binaries Alex Iantaffi (they/them) Family Therapist, Author, Podcaster
Session 2 Trusting Your Gut: Wellness in Quarantine Dr. Dana Stubbs (she/her) Doctor Stubbs Chiropractic
Session 3 Embrace Your Truth Gabrielle E Claiborne (she/her) Co-founder & CEO Transformation Journeys Worldwide, LLC
September 17
8:00-12:30 pm
Day 2: Nurturing Presenter
Session 1 Nothing for us without us! Accessing and Integrating the voice of lived experience Tara Wilhelmi (she/her) Certified Peer Specialist EOTO, LLC
Session 2 Time-out! COVID Edition: Fit to Lead Nadia Bourne (they/them) Standing in Our Power, Jahjee Sisters, Media Sutra
Session 3 Ethical Communication for Teams and Leaders Micah Lê (they/them) Laboratory Manager, Community Organizer, Activist WI Institute for Discovery, UW-Madison
September 22
12:00-4:30 pm
Day 3: Digging Deeper Presenter
Session 1 Make disability part of your work Emily Blum (she/her) Executive Director ADA 25 Advancing Leadership & Nakia Green (she/her) ADA 25 Advancing Leadership
Session 2 Merit based leadership and the original instructions Yunuen Rhi (she/her) Founder of Isuini
Session 3 The White Gaze and the Poetics of Trauma Quanda Johnson (she/her) Doctoral Student, UW-Madison; Creative Maker, Poet, Performance Activist The Quest Factor
September 24
12:00-4:30 pm
Day 4: Synthesizing Presenter
Session 1 & 2 Demystifying Mentorship and Mentoring with Purpose  Ananda Mirilli (she/her) Director nINA Collective
Session 3 Business Leaders as Healers: Not a Dichotomy Samuel Gonzalez (they/them) Co-founder/Co-lead, Creative Strategist, Digital Wizard Sweet Livity, LLC

Meet Our Conference Presenters

  • Alex Iantaffi, a person with light skin, short hair and glasses.

    Alex Iantaffi, PhD, MS, SEP, CST, LMFT (they/them) is a certified sex therapist, family therapist, Somatic ExperiencingⓇ practitioner, clinical supervisor, author and scholar. They are adjunct faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, chair elect for the Trans and Queer interest network of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and past Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy. They have researched, presented and published extensively on gender, disability, sexuality, relationships, and HIV. Alex is a trans masculine, nonbinary, bi queer, disabled, Italian immigrant who lives on Dakota and Anishinaabe territories, currently known as Minneapolis. Alex is the author of various books on gender and hosts the podcast Gender Stories; you can find out more about them at or follow them on Twitter @xtaffi.

  • Ananda mirilli, a person medium brown skin and short hair.

    Ananda mirilli (she/her) is a native from Brazil and has a long history of working with communities in the U.S. and abroad. At age 14 she engaged in social justice movement advocating for children with multiple abilities, seniors and youth experiencing poverty and homelessness. After moving to the U.S., ananda became an educator and found her passion facilitating learning spaces for individuals, groups and organizations engaging in transformative work. As a skilled facilitator, ananda has engaged with thousands of youth, women and diverse professionals, building coalition and solidarity.

  • Dr Dana Stubbs, a person light skin and chin length curly brown hair.

    Dr. Dana Stubbs (DC) (she/her) was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome which affected the development of both hands and her right foot. After many surgeries from birth, she was cleared to live a “normal” life at age 12, but the universe had other plans. She continued to experience traumas as a person with a disability, lesbian, and survivor, but later discovered that her traumas were preparing her for a life of healing. Dr. Stubbs went on to earn her Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College and is one of two limb-different women practicing chiropractic in the United States. She now proudly owns and operates Stubbs Chiropractic with her wife in Lincoln, Nebraska, providing patients with holistic healthcare options in an open and affirming environment.

  • Emily Blum, a person with light skin and shoulder length brown hair.

    Emily Blum (she/her) is Executive Director of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, a network of positive disrupters who are using their power to create equitable communities. She has a passion for helping people and organizations use their voice to create a better, more inclusive Chicago region. A seasoned nonprofit leader, she has more than 20 years’ experience bringing stakeholders together to create and implement effective communications strategies around complex social and political issues.

  • Nakia Green standing with her hand on her hips. She has medium dark brown skin and short black hair.

    Nakia J. Green (she/her) is the founder of Culture Solutions and Culture Solutions In Action, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations designed to decrease unemployment and underemployment amongst minority and disabled college graduates. She also founded Nakia J Consulting, a consulting firm with specialized capabilities in Leadership Development, Organizational Development, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Nakia hopes to further the conversation on invisible disabilities in the workplace and its impact on minorities.

  • Headshot of Gabrielle Clairborne, a woman with light skin and long blonde hair.

    Gabrielle Claiborne (she/her): Having found the courage to embrace her truth, her transgender identity, Gabrielle is passionate about inspiring others to live their authentic lives. As a keynote and TEDx speaker and co-founder of Transformation Journeys Worldwide, Gabrielle helps organizations create cultures that allow all people to show up as their true selves. She serves on the boards of local and national LGBTQ organizations and her work has been honored by the Small Business Administration, the OUT Georgia Business Alliance, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and featured in Forbes. Gabrielle is the proud grandparent of one new grandbaby, and the parent of three adult children and one Bengal kitty.

  • A person standing on a beach with their hands held in front of them. They have light brown skin and shoulder length black hair.

    Yunuen Rhi (they/them), founder of Isuini, is a martial arts philosophy and movement instructor, as well as an anthropologist, artist and healer based in Los Angeles, California. In addition to Bagua, they have served to support eastern, western and native medicine ways of North America. They have worked as a Registered Dental Assistant and have advanced training in humanistic psychology methods such as Logo therapy and Family Constellations. Their applied anthropology work has led them to connect to and serve Native Healing Traditions and Elders in both the US and Mexico.The convergence of their diverse healing techniques have equipped them to be a translator of eastern and indigenous healing systems to the west to help better understand our place within ourHer applied research in anthropology provides a direct relation to Native Healing Traditions and Elders in both the US and society and ecologies.

  • Headshot of Micah Lê, a person with light brown skin and short brown hair.

    Micah Lê (they/them) is a transgender Vietnamese-American with a passion for science and teambuilding. By synthesizing their experiences in lab management, mediation, and community organizing, Micah has become one of many proponents in a growing movement advocating the use of ethical communication skills to navigate professional relationships. holistic approach support

  • Quanda Johnson, a person with medium brown skin, wearing a purple and gold head covering.​​​​​​

    Quanda Johnson (she/her) is a Fulbright Scholar and a current doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at UW – Madison. A performer from Broadway to grand opera, she seeks ways to utilize performance to disrupt and consequently alter entrenched, cyclical conversations about Blackness and the African Diaspora. An AUDELCO Award nominee for her portrayal of Marian Anderson, she appeared in Broadway's Tony award winning Ragtime and made her New York City Opera debut in The Mother of Us All with Lauren Flanigan. Her work is dedicated to the memory of the first artist in her life, her mother, Vernetta.

  • Samuel, a person with light brown skin and curly black hair and beard.

    ​​​​​​Samuel (they/them) has spent their life finding ways to reconcile the intersecting identities that reside within. Bringing art, coaching, creative strategies, healing practices, and digital wizardry to Sweet Livity’s work, Samuel is helping transform how people do business. Because of Samuel’s intersectional nature, they have been able to create transformational spaces in many areas, including higher education, the nonprofit sector, corporate environments, etc.

  • Tara Wilhelmi, a person with curly brown hair and light brown skin.

    Tara Wilhelmi (she/her) is the founder and lead Peer Specialist at EOTO, LLC which stands for each one teach one. She believes that often the simplest way to solve a problem is by listening to those who are most impacted by it. She has over a decade of experience in area nonprofit and enjoys acting as a connector and "seed planter" in her community.

  • Nadia, a person with medium brown skin and  curly dark brown hair.

    ​​​​​Nadia (they/them) is intimately familiar with how we allow the human condition to overshadow the human spirit as a survivor of many traumas who navigates the liminal space of multiple oppressed identities. The apparatus for their work spanning over ten years— intent on the advancement of humankind, particularly underserved and marginalized communities— centers authenticity, love, and connection as a throughline. Nadia culls from a range of methodologies, tools, and a Mise-en-scène approach to incubate personal and organizational metamorphosis. Nadia engages in an active and continuous pursuit of self-transformation that grounds wisdom in their body, mind, and quotidian existence. A heartivist-of-center, Nadia uses their innate faculties and motivated-skills to lead with intimate dexterity, and build power to create lasting change.

Virtual Backgrounds

Bernadette Witzack - 1

Bernadette Witzack

Bernadette Witzack - 2

Bernadette Witzack

Bernadette Witzack - 3

Bernadette Witzack

Bernadette Witzack - 4

Bernadette Witzack

Isha Camara - 1

Isha Camara

Isha Camara - 2

Isha Camara

Rachel Werner - 1

Rachel Werner

Rachel Werner - 2

Rachel Werner

Rachel Werner - 3

Rachel Werner

Shiloah Coley - 1

Shiloah Coley

Shiloah Coley - 2

Shiloah Coley

Shiloah Coley - 3

Shiloah Coley

Xizhou Xie - 1

Xizhou Xie

Xizhou Xie - 2

Xizhou Xie

Xizhou Xie - 3 Conversation

Xizhou Xie

Xizhou Xie 4 - Emerald Phoenix

Xizhou Xie