WIN visits Sherman Phoenix


Photo by Natallie St. Onge

Students gather in the 707 Hub to eat a chicken and waffle breakfast sponsored by WIN before heading to Sherman Phoenix.

Women’s Innovation Network, a network designed to support women and others under-represented in innovation and entrepreneurship activities as innovators and leaders based in the 707 Innovation Hub, visited the local businesses within Sherman Phoenix Saturday. 

Sherman Phoenix was built from the fire-damaged BMO Harris Bank building located at the eastern gateway to the Sherman Park neighborhood, according to the website. The building was damaged after riots broke out after a fatal police shooting that rocked the community in August of 2016.

According to the website, the building is now a high-quality space for small businesses owned by people of color, offering diverse foods, wellness services and cultural activities.

“I like to bring a lot of inspirational stories to campus, especially stories about women who have done amazing things,” Sasha Parsons-Waters, coordinator for WIN, said. “I want people to be aware of this project.”

Parsons-Waters said she wanted to provide bus transportation to Sherman Phoenix so students would be able to have this opportunity. The trip to Sherman Phoenix started with an informative breakfast in the 707 Hub.

“Seeing these examples of all of these business owners is a way to start shifting the mindset and how people perceive women and minorities,” Parsons-Waters said.

Lex Rhodes, a junior in the College of Communication and a member of Black Student Council, attended the event. It was her first time going to Sherman Phoenix.

“I’m in the Educational Opportunity Program and Sasha came to talk about WIN and the events,” Rhodes said. “I heard about it and got excited, RSVP’d and showed up.”

Taylor Valencia, a graduate student in the College of Engineering, said she has heard good things about Sherman Phoenix. She also attended the breakfast and said she was excited for the visit.

“It’s nice to see Marquette’s name on an event like this, to go visit an establishment where there’s a majority of black-owned businesses,” Valencia said.  

Rhodes said Tyanna McLaurin, assistant director for the service learning program, told her WIN’s trip was a chance to explore Milwaukee communities outside of Marquette’s campus.

“I’m excited to learn more about the opportunities and the businesses and the women and the people of color there,” Rhodes said.

Valencia said after visiting that she had no clue how many businesses were within Sherman Phoenix.

“The Sherman Phoenix is a new spot on my list that I’ll be showing off to folks who visit me here in Milwaukee,” Valencia said in an email.

Rhodes said she appreciated the opportunity to experience the assets of the Milwaukee community and seeing so many women and people of color work together on things that serve the community in a positive way.

“I look forward to visiting regularly. This was a great time to network as a member of the Black Student Council here on campus and it was an overall great experience,” Rhodes said in an email.