Marianne Morton, executive director at Common Wealth, has been nominated for the ATHENA Award. Marianne is one of ten finalists with the award to be presented on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison.
The purpose of the award was to bring into focus the outstanding professional and business women in the community and to encourage the opening of leadership opportunities for women in the workplaces of the Chamber and the community. The ATHENA Award is presented for outstanding achievement, service and assistance to women in reaching their full personal and leadership potential. In addition to recognizing one ATHENA recipient, the process also allows for the recognition of the many nominees who contribute so much to our community.
Marianne first started at Common Wealth as a VISTA volunteer in 1981, and was hired permanently on staff in 1983, where she has been ever since. She has guided the organization through many transitions and projects, always leading and working with staff to build better neighborhoods and create economic opportunities for people throughout Dane County. As executive director, her responsibilities involve supervising Common Wealth’s Program Managers, carrying out strategic planning, and developing/monitoring the organization’s budget.
Some of Marianne’s professional accomplishments at Common Wealth include:
- Development of Common Wealth’s small business incubators – the Madison Enterprise Center and Main Street Industries
- Construction and management of 139 units of quality affordable housing for lower income households
- Successful operation of Common Wealth’s Youth-Business Mentoring Program serving 235 at-risk youth annually
Most recently, Marianne has helped establish the Southwest Partnership on the southwest side of Madison in collaboration with Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ and Joining Forces for Families. Job Shop provides employment training and resume services, and Southwest Transitional Employment Project (STEP) provides stipends for motivated individuals to work in community developed work placements that complement each participant’s employment goals.
Richard Sals of Johnson Bank describes Marianne as a passionate volunteer and tireless worker. They have served on the board at Community Shares of Wisconsin for about 20 years now so he has observed that Marianne is always up for volunteering to take on a task at hand, and her commitment is unwavering.
Emily Dickmann has served on the board of Community Shares of Wisconsin with Marianne since 2008. She says:
Marianne asks wonderful questions and models the importance of inquiry and group process in making decisions. As a newer leader at a local non-profit, I greatly appreciated the moments when Marianne would clarify our decision-making process so the group understood what we were trying to achieve and how we might work together to get there. I often modeled my meeting facilitation after her good example.