Microsoft’s Michelle Schuler, who holds more than two decades of strategic economic development and entrepreneurial experience, has been announced as the incoming co-chair of New North Inc. She will take over for Vicki Updike, co-chair since 2016, who will remain a member of the organization’s board of directors and executive committee.
Schuler joined the New North board of directors in August 2018 and was named as secretary on the organization’s executive committee in August 2020. She becomes the sixth co-chair in the 16-year history of the regional marketing and economic development corporation which serves the 18 counties of northeast Wisconsin. She joins past co-chairs Kathi Seifert (2005-16), Bob DeKoch (2005-17), Updike (2016-21) and Bill Bohn (2017-19), along with current Co-Chair Tim Schneider (2019-present).
Schuler has served as manager of TechSpark Wisconsin at Microsoft since July 2017. In that role, she spearheads technology-related initiatives focused on job creation and skills development within the New North region. Among those are gener8tor Upskilling, which is a free accelerator curriculum for individuals to learn digital skills needed for in-demand jobs; Microsoft TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), which connects high school classroom teachers with tech-industry volunteers to create sustainable computer science programs; CS Talent Ecosystem Youth (CSTEY); and TitletownTech, a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft which builds and funds early-stage, high-growth businesses.
She also has been immersed in regional efforts to expand broadband access, particularly in rural areas. Schuler also collaborates with the NEW Digital Alliance, a New North-associated organization whose mission is to help develop the next-generation digital workforce in northeast Wisconsin. Similarly, in 2014 she co-founded Women in Technology Wisconsin, a non-profit group with the goal to attract, grow and retain women and girls in technology, and today serves as its state president.
Schuler previously spent a decade working professionally in business development and client relations roles, primarily for technology-focused companies within the New North.
She received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Dr. Paul Carlsen, president of Lakeshore Technical College, has assumed Schuler’s prior position as secretary on the New North executive committee.