MILWAUKEE: Milwaukee Repertory Theater has announced the expansion of its leadership team to include Tammy Belton-Davis, who will serve as the theatre’s loaned executive chief diversity officer for a 10-month appointment focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) strategies, engagement, and communications. Belton-Davis, a founder of brand management and communications firm Athena Communications, will work with artistic director Mark Clements, executive director Chad Bauman, the Milwaukee Rep board of trustees, and the consulting firm the Kaleidoscope Group on developing, implementing, and measuring the theatre’s EDI goals.
“We are facing two crises at the same time—one acute with COVID-19, and the other chronic, stemming from hundreds of years of systemic racism,” said Bauman in a statement. “Our theatre is not immune from the systems of inequality in Milwaukee, and we must meet both challenges head on. Tammy has worked with Milwaukee Rep as both a volunteer and consultant for more than seven years. In that time, she has been a passionate advocate for our work, a strategic partner in our growth, and a mentor to me. I’m thrilled she will be joining our team as a loaned executive from Athena Communications and will serve as our theatre’s first chief diversity officer as we continue our work to ensure that our theatre is welcoming and inspirational to all.”
The Milwaukee Rep board of trustees adopted a new five-year strategic plan in 2019 which centers EDI as one of the theatre’s top priorities. Funding was authorized to work with the Kaleidoscope Group, a consulting firm based in Chicago specializing in diversity and inclusion. Recognizing the need to expand the Milwaukee Rep leadership team as part of these EDI efforts, Belton-Davis was brought on to assist in these efforts and help the theatre transition to a more permanent staffing structure to lead EDI efforts in the future.
Belton-Davis launched Athena Communications in 2009 and has a background spanning more than two decades in government, education, and public relations. Athena, which delivers strategic and impactful communications to its corporate and government affairs partners, was awarded with a diversity in business award by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
“Milwaukee Rep is a vibrant cultural cornerstone of Milwaukee, and I am honored to join the leadership team over the next 10 months,” said Belton-Davis in a statement. “We are living through incredible times, and in this moment in history our community is looking for leadership to drive systemic change. I applaud Milwaukee Rep for exercising the accountability, courage, and commitment required to achieve equity that truly represents our ideal community. I am committed to working with the team to successfully implement the ED&I work Milwaukee Rep has already begun. Together, we will build a better theatre for the future of Milwaukee and this community.”