City Life

The M List 2016: Mary Burke

Bold confidence: Mary Burke of Building Brave is one of 32 mentors and teachers who made the 2016 M List.

Mary Burke, who lost a race for governor two years ago, says she's more confident today than she's ever been. And she wants to share that confidence with others on a global scale. That's why she started Building Brave, an online platform and mobile app for women to discover their most confident selves.

Confidence, says Burke, "has been called by many our greatest personal resource. It's how you overcome challenges." Burke shares the lessons she learned in the governor's race and in a book, "The Confidence Code." Building Brave, which launched a website and is developing an interactive mobile app that is expected to go public next spring, is her way of helping women integrate self-assuredness more fully into their lives. Her vision: a global, online community of millions of women providing the "inspiration, the encouragement, the know-how, the awareness for women to discover their most confident self." In other words, companions in the quest.

"We're blazing a new trail here," Burke says. The platform will have a variety of customizable options: small groups and private groups, discussions, advice and input from experts. Accountability and goal setting are also part of the platform.

Burke has been involved in mentoring in Madison for 20 years. While working at Trek Bicycles, the family business, she mentored two boys who attended the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Through them, she got involved with the organization. That involvement eventually led her to bring to Madison schools AVID/TOPS, a college prep program with a mission to close the achievement gap.

What inspires Burke? As she walks to work each day, she sees Lady Wisconsin atop the Capitol. "She's standing right out there, and it's bold, and it says to me: ‘It's OK for a woman to do that.' I'm like, yeah, I want it. That's me."

The M List

Madison Magazine's M List is a who's who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its fourth year, the M List recognizes those making strides as mentors and teachers. Last year's list of honorees were making impacts in the area of social innovation. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored "Foodtastic" entrepreneurs and innovators.



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