2016 Panelists


Karen Michel | Editor, Madison Magazine

Karen Lincoln Michel is editor of Madison Magazine, a monthly magazine covering business and lifestyle in Madison and in the region. She is also vice president of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism board of directors. Previously, Michel was the executive editor of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, Louisiana, and prior to that, was the assistant managing editor at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. From 2005 to 2008, she covered state government and politics as the Madison bureau chief for the Press-Gazette. Michel began her daily newspaper career in Wisconsin as a reporter at the La Crosse Tribune and went on to The Dallas Morning News in Texas. She has written extensively about Native American issues as a freelancer and was a columnist for The New York Times Syndicate. Michel is a member of the Ho-Chunk tribe in Wisconsin and is a past president of the Native American Journalists Association and UNITY: Journalists for Diversity. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Marquette University.

Chris Taylor | 76th Assembly District, State Representative

Representative Chris Taylor was first elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in a special election to fill Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s Assembly seat in 2011. She was later redistricted into the Assembly seat previously held by US Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan, representing downtown Madison, including a substantial part of UW-Madison and the near north and east sides of Madison. Since being elected, she has passed bipartisan legislation into law creating a more independent process for officer-involved deaths and creating an address confidentiality program for victims of domestic abuse, stalking and human trafficking.

Gregory St. Fort | Executive Director, 100state

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, NY, Gregory St. Fort has a passion for community building, marketing, and event production. He believes we can fight for social justice, impact disparities in racial equity and education through entrepreneurship. He founded LetsKeepBuilding Inc, also known as LKB, in 2013. LKB is an entrepreneur lifestyle brand and connects entrepreneurs by creating events, technology and community initiatives. In June 2015 Greg became the Executive Director of 100state. 100state is Wisconsin’s largest coworking community. He works with all of 100state partners, sponsors, staff and board. He creates and pushes 100state’s vision. Greg is also on the board of directors.


Eric Pennington | High Arbiter, Mourningstar Collective

Eric is an entrepreneur, data scientist, art advocate, and amateurish collector. Through his recent venture, the Mourningstar Collective, Eric strives to enhance local and global communities through industry, art, outreach, and activism.