Doyenne is a movement to change the face of entrepreneurship in Madison and beyond.

The future starts now.

Doyenne was founded in 2012 by Heather Wentler and Amy Gannon because of the gender gap  they were witnessing within the entrepreneurial community and hearing time and time again “where are all the women” at entrepreneurial events in Madison, Wisconsin.

Doyenne is different than other entrepreneur organizations. Doyenne listens to entrepreneurs and takes an active developmental and individualized approach to all its programming and Evergreen Fund. Doyenne does NOT take a one-size-fits-all approach, instead we create transformative learning environments that is women-centric, and is about taking action and getting traction.

 

We are experienced, real and relentless about our mission.

Doyenne targets around four Pillars of Success for empowering and igniting the community to support women entrepreneurs

  1. Community Collaboration-Doyenne  is about helping build and mobilize the whole community, not working in a silo. We collaborate with other female entrepreneur organizations, the local entrepreneurial ecosystem organizations and corporations to offer partner programming that is inclusive and safe for all attendees. Check out our full list of Community Collaborators and sign up to be part of our network.
  2. Increase Visibility-Doyenne promotes our Ambassadors and Community Partners through specific opportunities to be seen and heard by broader audiences via the media, personal promotion, and speaking opportunities at events we organize.
  3. Develop the Entrepreneurs-Doyenne takes an individualized approach when working with entrepreneurs. Our programming is designed to promote networking, mentorship, business and entrepreneur development. Our signature Doyenne Retreats are unlike no other workshop you will ever attend or be part of and you’ll come away with a strategic plan to move your business into the next level of success
  4. Fund the Ventures-Doyenne’s Evergreen Fund is a one-of-a-kind Fund created to meet the needs of ventures based on where they are in their business. The Fund is completely funded by individual contributors, the City of Madison, WEDC, WWBIC and A Fund for Women. The Doyenne Evergreen Fund provides grants, loans and equity investments for women-led ventures based in Wisconsin. An “Evergreen Fund” is unique where all returns on investments cycle back into the Fund to be able to make further investments.

 

Founders and Board

Heather_0004-21Heather Wentler

Heather Wentler is Executive Director & Cofounder of Doyenne Group, Inc, the Founder of Fractal and Founder of Madison SOUP.

Heather has always been encouraging others to reach for what they want to become. Through teaching early-childhood through middle school in disadvantaged schools, her role was more than just teacher for the students and co-workers she spent her days with. She became a parent figure, role model, coach and educator all rolled into one to make sure the lives she was touching were creating impact on their futures.

Heather’s passion for entrepreneurship and supporting women in business became more prevalent in her career as she was founding Fractal and transitioning out of teaching in a traditional classroom. Personally, she already had found mentors from the community and entrepreneurial organizations she was part of, but was looking for a support system of female entrepreneurs who had been through similar experiences and could relate to the experiences she was having. While going through this personal struggle she met Amy and they co-founded Doyenne Group as a way for other women to never go through the same professional experiences and isolation she was encountering.

Heather is on the Playful Learning National Advisory Board, a current member of Capital Entrepreneurs, an organizer of Forward Fest, Secretary & Treasurer of Sector67 and is involved with numerous other Madison-based organizations whose mission is to support everyone in the Madison & Dane Co. community.

Heather graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BA in Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence Education. Previously she had taught in the Madison Metropolitan School District, held consulting positions with local start-up ventures and volunteers in the community to speak, teach and conduct workshops about entrepreneurship.
Heather lives in Madison with her husband and furbabies.

To contact Heather please send emails to: heather@thedoyennegroup.com
To schedule a meeting with Heather please visit our Office Hours Page (Monday & Friday)

 

Dr. Amy Gannon

Dr. Amy Gannon is the Co-founder of Doyenne Group. She helps organize developmental opportunities for women entrepreneurs, including strategic planning retreats, and offers one-on- one coaching.

Amy is on the organizing committees of Startup Weekend Madison, Startup Weekend Madison EDU, the Social Good Summit, Forward Festival, and serves on the MadRep Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advisory group. She is on the advisory board for Health Decision, a local health IT startup, and Infamous Mothers, a social venture changing the narratives around Black mothering.

Amy is also an Assistant Professor at the Edgewood College School of Business in Madison, WI. She teaches courses in entrepreneurship and organizational behavior. She offers training for K-12 educators interested in learning more about teaching entrepreneurship. For two years (2014-16), Amy served as the interim dean, providing leadership in all administrative and curricular aspects of the school.

Amy also works with select organizations on a freelance basis to provide leadership development, strategic planning facilitation and support with diversity and inclusion initiatives. Amy’s research explores the venture creation process, in particular how entrepreneurs’ different identities shape the experience of becoming an entrepreneur and growing a businesses. She is particularly interested in helping individuals construct an identity as an “entrepreneur” “founder” and/or “CEO” in a way that leads to success – both personally and professionally.

Amy has BA in International Studies and Economics from The American University, a MBA from Boston College, and a Doctorate of Business Administration in Organizational Behavior from Boston University. Prior to becoming educator, she worked in government, non-profit and private sector organizations launching new programs. She lives in Madison with her husband and two children.

To contact Amy please send emails to: amy@thedoyennegroup.com

To schedule a meeting with Amy please visit our Office Hours Page (Wednesdays)

 

Doyenne Group Board of Directors:

 

Liz Eversoll (Chairperson) is the chief executive officer of SOLOMO Technology.

She has spent the last 20 years in the IT industry and has extensive experience as a business owner, IT executive, technology services and reseller executive, and consultant. Eversoll has led startups and multi-billion dollar businesses to success. She is active in the WI IT ecosystem – Chairman of the Board for the Doyenne Group, an organization and fund for women entrepreneurs, serves on numerous boards, is Chairman of the board for mobile gaming and sensor toy companies Mobile Mesh Games, V2 Leagues and Meeper Technology, and is a member of Wisconsin Investment Partners. Her passion is building businesses with great teams, strong vision and disruptive potential.

Sarah Botham is a writer, entrepreneur, marketer and public relations consultant.

A science, agriculture and business writer, entrepreneur, marketer and public relations consultant for more than 20 years, Sarah began her career as a daily newspaper reporter. She left the newspaper business to pursue a position in the political arena, working as a media analyst, writer and photographer in Wisconsin’s Assembly Caucus. Following a two-year stint as managing editor of In Business magazine in Madison, she launched Sarah J. Fletcher & Associates (now Botham, INK.), a marketing and public relations consulting firm that specializes in branding and strategic planning for business. She is also co-owner, vice president and director of marketing for Botham Vineyards & Winery, and president and founder of Acala Farms, a food products business launched in 2012 and president and founder of WiscoBoxes™, launched in 2016.

Additionally, in 2000, Sarah joined the Department of Life Sciences Communication in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Faculty Associate.  Her unique blend of business acumen and agriculture and life sciences marketing and communications history augments a typical theory-based curriculum with more than 30 years of real-world experience, engaging students with hands-on learning and broad industry exposure.  As advisor for the UW-Madison student chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), Sarah oversees the organization’s activities and functions as competition coach for the nationally ranked NAMA student marketing team. She was recognized as Outstanding Student Advisor by the NAMA professional organization in 2008.

Sarah holds a BS in Public Relations and Speech Communications with a minor in geology/engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and is a licensed private pilot. She and her husband, Peter, have one son, Mills, who is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Mary Romolino is the Owner of Acme Nerd Games.

Mary has an extensive background in marketing that began at ad agencies on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. There she worked on major pharmaceutical and consumer brands before being charmed by Madison and escaping to Wisconsin in 1987. Once here, Mary made the leap to the corporate world as VP of Marketing for US Bank in 1995 where she led their Private Banking initiatives in eight states. After a short break to spend more time with her two young children, Sally and Enzo, she joined 6AM Marketing and later became the agency’s CEO. In that role she worked closely with the agency’s healthcare clients: Marshfield Clinic, Divine Savior Healthcare, Physicians Plus, and WEA Trust and came to believe that there is a better way to engage patients and members.

With a small team of experts, Mary launched Acme Nerd Games in order to unleash the power of games for learning and self-efficacy; designing games that help kids thrive while having fun. The team’s initial focus is on two subjects desperate for improvement: nutrition literacy and financial literacy. However, they believe there’s no shortage of game-based learning subjects and player age groups to engage.

Acme Nerd Games’ first app, “Houston, We Have Spinach!” is a 2D rocket building game designed to promote nutrition literacy and teach kids the nutritional facts about various foods without preaching or scolding or mentioning obesity and wellness. Players build a rocket and fuel it with food. Like their own bodies, the better the nutrition is going in, the better the rocket will fly. To succeed, players must learn which foods contain high levels of certain nutrients and combine them to create the ultimate “rocket fuel.”

Mary is on the Board of Directors of the Doyenne Group, an organization dedicated to creating the infrastructure and pathways for women entrepreneurs, and is also a member of Downtown Madison Rotary where she was named the club’s 2016 Vocational Service Award recipient.

 

Valerie Hildebrandt Wulf is a Senior Director of Development for the UW Foundation and Wisconsin School of Business.

She is also the President and Co-Manager of Midwest Venture Capital Managers, LLC, a General Partner of the Phenomenelle Angels Fund I, LP, and an independent Director of an international women’s business organization. Valerie previously practiced as an attorney with national law firms in San Diego and Chicago and has invested and mentored private venture businesses for 27 years. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Greater Bucky Open, a charitable foundation benefitting the American Family Children’s Hospital. Valerie received her BBA with Honors from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

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