The Women’s Center 2023 EmPower Luncheon 

This annual event honors the courageous voices of survivors, those who advocate for survivors, and those who speak out to effect change. 
The 2023 EmPower Luncheon will bring together more than 500 individuals, companies, community influencers, and business leaders from Southeastern Wisconsin. 
Buy Your Tickets Now



Sponsorships start at just $500 and provide many opportunities to promote your business. Contact Hannah Harris at or 262.542.3828 for questions or more information. 

CLICK HERE to view the list of sponsorship levels and benefits. 


  • Our 2023 Silent Auction is LIVE and open for bidding!
  • Closes during the event 
  • Features dozens of fantastic items from local businesses and individuals 


We are pleased to welcome our 2023 keynote speakers Rachel Lovell, PhD, and Sara McKinnon, PhD, who will speak on two of the most contentious issues within the sexual assault field today. 

Did you know that in 2017, Wisconsin had over 6,000 untested rape kits? And it was only in May of 2022 that a state-wide tracking database went live for survivors to track the status of their kits. Dr. Lovell is an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Director of the Criminology Research Center at Cleveland State University. She is a leading expert on the issue of untested rape kits and what the real-life consequences are for survivors and our communities when backlogs occur.  

When someone mentions human trafficking, do you immediately think of someone being snatched and bundled into a car trunk? Do you think of young foreign women? Would you be surprised to learn that most of your preconceptions around trafficking are wrong? Dr. McKinnon is an Associate Professor in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has spent much of her career researching the language and rhetoric used around human trafficking and how it can be harmful to trafficking survivors and prevent systemic change in order to protect victims going forward. 

Their combined knowledge and expertise will give attendees a unique chance to learn and engage with two experts in the field of sexual assault and give an insight into some of the many struggles faced by survivors and how the work we do at The Women’s Center intersects daily with the issues they will raise. 


This year we are thrilled to honor Jrue & Lauren Holiday, The Milwaukee Bucks, and Kohler Co. for their support and involvement in our shelter bathroom renovation project.


Parking for Wisconsin Center guests is available at the Hilton Hotel Parking Garage, located at 600 N. 5th Street, Milwaukee. Please park on the third floor or above. Parking rates are posted. See below for additional parking & rideshare options.

For indoor access to the Wisconsin Center (dotted line):

  • Take the parking elevator to the second floor. Turn right toward the Hilton and follow the hallway to the double doors. Turn right then a quick left. If you reach the Hilton hotel lobby, you’ve gone too far.
  • The escalators up to the Wisconsin Center skywalk will be on your right. Take the escalators to the third floor, where you’ll see the doors to the Wisconsin Center skywalk.
  • Take the skywalk into the Wisconsin Center, then take the escalator to the first floor. From there, signs will direct you to the EmPower Luncheon in the Ballroom (teal star).

Additional Parking Options

Rideshare Information (full)

  • Bus transportation is FULL for EmPower Luncheon attendees from Waukesha to Wisconsin Center.
  • Pick up is at 10:00AM at The Women’s Center (505 N East Ave, Waukesha, WI 53186)
  • The shuttle will leave the Wisconsin Center after the event, approximately 1:45PM.

What is Denim Day?

Join us on April 26, 2023, when millions of people across the world will wear jeans with a purpose, support survivors, and educate themselves and others about all forms of sexual violence. For more information on the global movement visit

Thank You to Our Sponsors