Meet The Ladies
After spending their formative college years in big metropolitan areas, co-founders Kristen Hardy and Makda Fessahaye met as students at Marquette University Law School. During law school, they often reminisced about the joys of "big city living," including the cities' knack of turning simple outings into grandiose events. After graduating and beginning her career in Milwaukee, Kristen came up with the idea to blend the big city brunch scene with other professional women in hopes of empowering and supporting one another. As a Milwaukee-native and social butterfly, Makda collaborated with Kristen to flesh out the idea, ultimately founding Brunch of Professionals.
Meet Kristen - Co-Founder
Although always a proud Michigander, Kristen enthusiastically made the transition across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee after graduating from Seton Hall University (NJ). Embracing Milwaukee as her new home, Kristen sought out ways to become more involved in the MKE community, and in particular, with other professionals upon graduation. Frustrated with the limited (and dated) options for building professional networks, Brunch of Professionals was born.
Throughout her academic career, Kristen regularly volunteered in her community, holding executive board positions within several community and university based organizations. Her appetite for professional and community involvement continued beyond graduation - she currently sits on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers, chairs the Professional Development Committee for one of her Company's ERGs, and serves as Chair of the non-profit PeppNation Sports Leadership Camps.
Professionally, Kristen has spoken at several national events, including the Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting and the Chief Litigation Officer Summit. She was also featured in the Wisconsin Lawyer's 10 Question segment in 2016. Kristen was the recipient of the 2017 National Summit of Black Women Lawyers Emerging Leader Award
As a self-proclaimed amateur chef and dinner host extraordinaire, Kristen's love of a well-executed event (complete with delicious food options) comes second only to her drive for professional success. Realizing how difficult the transition to a new state can be, Kristen developed Brunch of Professionals in hopes of helping Milwaukee newcomers feel welcomed, connected, and supported.
Hobbies: Family activities; Traveling; Reading everything from Psychological Thrillers to daily WSJ articles; Cooking/Baking; Running; Hosting Dinner Parties; Vigorously advocating for the use of Oxford commas.
Favorite Brunch Food: French toast
Meet Makda - Co-Founder
Raised in Milwaukee, Makda left to attend Northwestern University in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. Filled with an enormous amount of purple pride, Makda returned to Milwaukee to attend Marquette University Law School. Moving back as a young adult, Makda was hesitant of what the city could offer her. Unbeknownst to her, she would soon fall back in love with Milwaukee's gems and take pride in its rapid transformation. For Makda, Brunch of Professionals is one way of adding to the city's evolution.
Currently, Makda sits on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers, serves on the State Bar of Wisconsin's Leadership Development Committee, and is a Volunteer Attorney for Madison's Unemployment Appeals Clinic. Outside of the legal profession, Makda serves as a music minister at her church, is a member of the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals, Women in Focus, Inc. , and the NAACP of Dane County. In 2017, Makda was honored by The Business Forum at the ATHENA Young Professionals Awards.
Makda is confident that Brunch of Professionals provides a venue for those starting and building their careers in Milwaukee to (re)discover the gems of the city, expand their network, invest in and support the community, and cultivate long lasting relationships with those around them.
Hobbies: Planning Events; Traveling; Reading Historical Fiction and Autobiographies
Favorite Brunch Food: Hash browns