College of Professional Studies Award Recipients
Spirit of the College of Professional Studies Award
JAMES M. MILNER, PROF ST '03
Jim isn’t satisfied with improving himself. As a strategic leadership and business intelligence coach, he has provided leadership and business intelligence coaching to corporate CEOs, CFOs, risk-management officers, chief learning officers, HR directors, boards of directors and supervisors/mid-level managers in succession or transition. He has also served in several leadership roles as a business owner and administrator.
Jim is deeply involved in business and community development, especially in Milwaukee’s central city. “Neighborhoods are transformed when diverse stakeholders are educated and bring their skills together to develop affordable housing and revitalize real estate, establishing and expanding businesses that create family-supporting jobs,” he says.
Jim is co-founder, president and CEO of Urban Strategies and founding principal of the Sector Management Consulting Group LLC. He’s also an active community leader who serves on the boards of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, the International Coach Federation-Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Area Technical College Foundation Board, the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corp., the African American Chamber of Commerce, and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. He’s also an advisor to Northcott Neighborhood House, among other roles.
Jim credits Marquette with turning him into a lifelong learner, and he has gone on to earn his M.B.A. and more than 20 certifications in his profession. His work is focused on people, organizations and systems, from designing talent-management workshops to shaping business acquisitions and mergers strategies, and he’s a sought-after speaker on topics such as leadership, team building and organizational change.
“My long-term goal is to be the world’s most influential strategic leadership and business intelligence coach, taking my local and national work to a global scale while serving as an executive managing partner to startup and expansion business owners,” he says.
Hometown: Fulton, Ky.
Favorite quote: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dream dinner guests: His mother, Carrie B. (Jones) Milner; President Barack Obama; and Oprah Winfrey.
Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact: “Dr. Jay Caulfield teaches with passion and is committed to inspiring others. Sandi Cleveland for her determination to see me through the program. Gene Krueger, who told me, ‘You can do any damn thing you want to do,’ and Dr. Julie Helmrich, who inspired me to do my life’s work as a strategic leadership and business intelligence coach.”
Favorite Marquette memories: “Being selected by Dean Bob Deahl of the College of Professional Studies to serve on the National Alumni Board and Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Professional Studies.”
Career he aspired to in grade school: “I wanted to be an entertainer and business owner.”
Most influential people: “My mother, Carrie B. (Jones) Milner, for the gift of intuition. My three fathers: George McGowan, my biological father, was a prisoner of war in Korea and left for dead, yet he survived. My stepfather, Robert Milner, who worked in a foundry for 30 years: He stands as my model of work ethic and accountability. My mentor, Ben Johnson, the first African-American president of Milwaukee’s Common Council, taught me the true value of education: ‘The degree is important, however, what will make the difference in your life is how you will learn to trust your abilities.’”