We’re excited to introduce you to our three Issue Spotlight panelists moderated by Hayley Tenpas with WHBY for our Women’s Fund Luncheon, Chief Polly Olson, Dr. Pam Her, and Judge Yadira Rein. These local women embody the theme of the Luncheon, Women First, as they were the first woman to be in their role.
Read more about these extraordinary women below and can’t wait to see you at the 23rd annual Women’s Fund Fundraising Luncheon!
Chief Polly Olson
Chief Polly Olson has been employed with the Appleton Police Department for over 20 years. She oversees this agency with 114 sworn officers and 27 civilian employees. The APD handles more than 33,000 citizen-initiated calls for service per year.
Chief Olson held a variety of different positions during her time with the APD:
- As an officer: Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, and SORP Specialist.
- As a Lieutenant: Night shift supervisor and Investigative Services Coordinator.
- As a Captain: Patrol District Commander and the Investigative and Support Services Commander.
She was then promoted to Assistant Chief, and now Chief of Police in January of 2023 – being the first female at the Appleton Police Department in each of these roles.
Polly has a passion for issues surrounding mental health and well-being in our community and department. She was instrumental in creating a county-wide Peer Support Team, one of the first in the State of Wisconsin that has been replicated many times since.
She was an adjunct instructor with Fox Valley Technical College, teaching sexual assault investigations and domestic investigations in the Recruit Academy. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. Polly is proud to be serving as Chief of Police in her hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin.
Dr. Pam Her
Dr. Pam Her is a former executive leader that has worked in corporate, government, and non-profit. She is currently the CEO and owner of 4Chi Business Solutions, LLC and a consultant/ trainer/thought leader to several corporations, government agencies, and non-profit groups in the areas of cultural competency, EDI, strategic planning, and organizational leadership and development.
She has also taught as an adjunct professor with Rasmussen College in the School of Business in areas of management, leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship, business ethics, sales, and professional communication. Dr. Her completed her dissertation on Asian Women Managers and Microaggressions in the Workplace at Capella University where she received her PhD, with distinction, in Organizational Management.
Dr. Her helped create and became the first DEI coordinator for the City of Appleton in 1997 and has extensive experience in cultural competency journeys, grassroots organizing, community engagement, and community advocacy. She is currently on the board for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, and Outagamie County Health & Human Services. Additionally, she is the founder and advisor to Northeast Wisconsin Hmong Professionals. Her past community service includes serving on the board of directors for United Hmong American Association, United Way Fox Cities, American Red Cross-Outagamie County, Fox Valley Literacy Council, and BABES Respite and Counseling.
She has acted as an advisor to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court on interpreters in judicial proceedings as well as the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Department of Justice in DC, and local and state governments on issues related to refugees, immigrants, and communities of color. She has also worked extensively as a conflict resolution mediator at the local, state, and national levels for municipalities and communities of color. Additionally, she has advised many economic development organizations and initiatives on recruiting and retaining diverse talent.
Dr. Her has given over 400 presentations, trainings and keynote addresses on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, cultural competency, intercultural communications in organizations, privileges, microaggressions, unconscious/implicit bias, authentic and servant leadership, community engagement, maximizing a diverse workforce, double consciousness, Hmong culture & history, Hmong mental health and interpreting issues, Hmong and the legal system, and integrating Hmong employees into the workplace.
Most recently, in 2020, Dr. Her was named as one of Wisconsin’s 48 Most Influential Asian American Leaders by Madison 365. Some of her other awards and recognitions include Rasmussen College Exceptional Educator Award, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity in Diversity Award, and Wisconsin Community Action Program’s Exceptional Volunteer Advocate Award.
Judge Yadira Rein
Judge Yadira Rein is the first person of color, specifically, the first Latina to serve as judge in the 8th judicial district of Wisconsin. Judge Rein was born in El Paso, Texas and was raised in a small town in northern Mexico by her grandparents. It was there that Judge Rein learned the values of love, sacrifice, and hard work at a young age as she witnessed her grandparents raise a large family. When Judge Rein was nine years old, she moved to Wisconsin where she had to learn to speak English, embraced a new culture and adapt to the cold Wisconsin winters! Judge Rein has been a proud resident of Wisconsin ever since.
Judge Rein is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she obtained both her undergraduate and law degrees.
After graduating from law school, Judge Rein returned to the Fox Valley to raise her family and to begin her legal career. Prior to being appointed, she had the privilege of working at two well-respected law firms in the Fox Valley, Sigman Janssen Law Firm and most recently McCarty Law LLP. While in private practice Judge Rein represented clients throughout a variety of family law issues which included guiding people through what was often the most difficult period in their lives. Judge Rein advocated for children’s best interests as court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem.
Judge Rein lives in Appleton with her husband, Bill, where they are busy with their children, Charlie, Owen, and Ellie, and their sock-loving Goldendoodle, Raji.