Sherry Hill

Written by admin   // August 5, 2011   // 0 Comments

Sherry is a change agent. Since the 80s she has worked diligently—and not always quietly— behind the scenes, facilitating change in Milwaukee.

Hill moved to Milwaukee from Florida in 1953, as her mother sought a better quality of life for her family. After graduating from Lincoln Junior and Senior High School, Hill attended college, first at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and then transferring to UW-Milwaukee, where she earned a degree in social welfare with a concentration in political science.

While taking classes in political science, Hill developed a keen interest in politics, which she continued throughout her life. Proof of that is the fact that she has worked in the political arena in some capacity, volunteered to work on a politically charged issue, or served on the fringes of the political process.

Hill has held a number of high profile positions in Milwaukee and Wisconsin, including Director of Employment and Training with the YWCA, Program Director for the Next Door Foundation and Director of former Governor Tommy G. Thompson’s Milwaukee District Office. She’s also done consulting with the Boys and Girls Clubs, and served as a job placement specialist for the State of Wisconsin.

Hill recalls attending a conference on domestic and family abuse and the speaker advised that if you want to facilitate change, the League of Women Voters was a good place to start. Hill returned from the conference and did just that. At the time, she and Freida Webb, who joined with the League with her, were the only two Blacks in the organization. Hill ended up serving on the Board of Directors and attributes the League, under the direction of then President Fran Swigart, for teaching her much of what she learned about the political process.

Always up for a challenge, Hill joined with Agnes Cammer, an Asian woman living in Madison, to found the Wisconsin Women of Color Network (WWOCN), an organization with exists today, primarily in Madison, to empower women of color through employment and training. As a tribute to its founders, the WWOCN offers the Cammer-Hill Grant to provide financial assistance to women of color to continue their studies at a vocational, technical and community college.

Hill has managed or been involved with a number of political campaigns, including those of Michael McGee, Sr., Helen Barnhill (who ran for Congress), and former County Supervisor Bernice Rose, to name a few. She was also selected to direct a census effort that challenged the State’s claim that Milwaukee’s population had decreased—a fete that saved the city more than $40 million, after her outreach efforts proved the State was wrong.

Of all her opportunities, Hill most enjoyed working in the Governor’s Office for six years because it placed her in a position to impact policy. She was the first African American in the State to serve in this. Under her direction, the Governor’s Central City Initiative was launched, which took all State-run programs and services and made them available to constituents in a one-stop-shop facility, an initiative that won the State of Wisconsin a first place award in its region.

Hill left the Governor’s office to return to school, but ended up starting a small consulting business instead, where she provides organizational management services to non for profits and churches.

Over the years Hill has received numerous awards and honors, but she most treasures the award she received from George Watts, delivered from ‘over the pond’ by Lord Wedgewood. The award is for civic heroism. Previous award recipients of this award included Bo Black, Howard Fuller, and Governor Thompson.

Hill wants to be remembered for being a servant, noting that it has been a privilege to serve and be used in a capacity where other people benefit from her gifts and talents. She wants to be remembered as a person who is compassionate and does deeds with no expectation of reciprocity. She said that all gifts come from God and, because she believes that “freely you give, freely you receive. And Sherry gave.

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