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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Professional Studies Recipients

Leadership Excellence Award

PROF ST '05, GRAD '08

Cedarburg, Wis.

For Sheila Bernhardt, solving problems and making other people’s lives better has proven to be a very rewarding career. She is founder of and principal consultant for the Bernhardt Co., which provides consulting services to manufacturing and financial institutions and is a preferred provider to the Wakefield Co. 

“I have had the ability to influence change in leadership, employees, process and technology in every job I have had,” she says.

Sheila earned her bachelor’s degree in leadership and organizations in 2005, then a master’s in leadership studies in '08. Before establishing her company, she served in a variety of leadership positions at Textron, Rockwell International, Honeywell, Pacific Scientific and J.W. Speaker.

In addition to Sheila's professional work, she has made a commitment to serving others. Her passion is volunteering at agencies dedicated to transitional living programs for individuals and families who are homeless. One of her newest endeavors is serving as a leadership adviser for Pivotal Directions, an organization that offers teens an opportunity to travel internationally, engage in service and discover their leadership skills.

Though Mother Teresa serves as an inspiration to Sheila, especially as she serves others, it is her mother who made her feel like she could accomplish anything and her husband Steve, Eng '83, who encouraged her to pursue a degree from Marquette.

“My mom had an eighth-grade education, but she was one of the wisest people I ever knew,” she says. “Mom also taught me to be a servant leader, and for that I am grateful.”

Fun facts about Sheila:
Hometown: Cedarburg, Wis.
Favorite book: Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge
Someone alive or dead she’d like to have dinner with: Mother Teresa
The Marquette faculty member who had an impact on Sheila: Dr. Jay Caulfield
Favorite Marquette memory: There are so many really great memories that she couldn’t think of just one!
Most influential person in her life: Her mother