Raised in Milwaukee, Kanisha Phelps has more than 18 years of DEI work and 20 years in the talent management industry. Phelps got her start working for Manpower’s corporate office creating and implementing training for staff while offering process improvement ideas to the organization with regard to leadership.
While taking a break from corporate America, Phelps pursued a lifelong dream to teach children and worked in the Milwaukee Public School district. She taught special education for grades 6-12, serving students with social-emotional and behavioral deficiencies and advocated for schoolwide respect of those students. She also helped shift the perspectives of staff to replace the mindset of “the bad kids” to “students in need of patience and social skills.” Phelps was awarded Teacher of the Year for her work advocating for the needs of children in 2015, being one of the first special education teachers to earn that honor in the state of Wisconsin.
After eight years in education, Phelps returned to the world of nonprofit work. She worked for six years at SaintA as its learning and talent development supervisor and was pivotal in advancing the organization’s work around diversity, equity and inclusion. Phelps currently is the director of talent management and DEI for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. She is also the chief strategist and master facilitator for her own organization Kaykenal Inc., where she assists, consults and guides organizations in the areas of leadership development, process improvement, trauma informed care and a variety of DEI topics.
Phelps has a Masters in administrative and instructional leadership from UW-Milwaukee.