Unity Award recipient Corry Joe Biddle works to make Milwaukee for everyone
This month’s issue of Milwaukee Magazine features the winners of the 2022 Unity Awards. The awards highlight six people and organizations that are making Milwaukee a better place for all of us.
One of the recipients is Corry Joe Biddle. She's the vice president of community affairs for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association Chamber of Commerce and the executive director of FUEL Milwaukee - an organization that connects local professionals with the community.
Biddle’s work concentrates on connecting young professionals to the communities they live in and expanding their networks to help reflect the region’s diversity. Biddle says she's motivated by the unique and thorough sense of community that Milwaukee elicits.
“You just develop these really genuine connections with people and the barrier to entry aren’t as high, I feel like people are really open to connection in a way that I haven’t experienced in other communities,” says Biddle.
Biddle feels that some aspects of Milwaukee's beauty and excitement may be going unacknowledged or unseen.
"You know it’s so funny because I definitely felt like I knew Milwaukee growing up, but I didn’t. And I didn’t realize that I was missing out on the fulness of what the city had to offer until I started working for MMAC and FUEL,” says Biddle.
This desire to embolden Milwaukee is something that is woven into the fabric of how she approaches and executes her work with FUEL.
“There is more to Milwaukee than I realized and it makes me really passionate about FUEL, so something that was a cool marketing job really did turn into a passion because it actually worked on me,” says Biddle.
Biddle says there are challenges that she has to acknowledge and fight against in the city. The biggest problem she identifies is segregation.
“Segregation is a huge problem because it affects how we think about ourselves and each other everyday and because nothing is saying it, we think that we are not doing anything bias, that we are not separating ourselves but we are everyday,” says Biddle.
Biddle says her works is defined by two things: realism and optimism. Specifically a realism about the socio-economic disparities that plague Milwaukee, but also an optimism that something can be done to correct these disparities.
“We’re here now and whatever the reason we are here now I think it’s a real opportunity to look at our system and the way that power is gained and maintained and the redistribution of that and the way that it is equitable and fair,” says Biddle.
Biddle believes that an equitable and inclusive future for Milwaukee will not only help people of color, but it will help everyone.
“If we get it right we will benefit from it,” says Biddle. “If we don’t there are other cities out here that are going to get it right and those will become the regions of choice — I just want it to be us, I want it to be Milwaukee.”