Meet Paula Phillips

Paula Phillips, Sr. Director of Race and Gender Equity

Paula Phillips’ mission is to actively build a society in which all of us are seen, heard, and cared for. Starting her career in ministry, she shifted her focus to the nonprofit sector through her service as an AmeriCorps member. She first came to Milwaukee to serve as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Public Allies, then continued to build her career in the nonprofit sector at City Year Milwaukee. Prior to joining the YWCA, she worked to empower women and promote diverse leadership at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her roles have included organizational change management, budget development/management, government relations, board development, staff development, office management, volunteer recruitment and management, talent acquisition, and strategic planning.

Paula served a four year term as an elected to the Milwaukee Board of School Directors from 2017-2021. Serving as the finance chair, representing over 74,000 constituents and overseeing a 1.2-billion-dollar budget. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her leadership centered public health for all of Milwaukee’s citizens. She has developed a lifelong passion for education after seeing the tremendous impact it had on her own life and the stabilizing influence it can have on those who have difficult lives at home. She ran for office because a woman asked her to run. In 2020, she served as the Women’s Outreach Director for the Biden Harris campaign in Wisconsin.

Paula is a first-generation college graduate who attended Milwaukee Area Technical College and received her B.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics with a certificate in Global Health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives on Milwaukee’s southwest side with her spouse and active toddler. She enjoys being creative in the kitchen, group fitness, and reading a good book.