11:01 AM

American Family’s Leana Nakielski named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40

Leana Nakielski, American Family’s strategic partnerships director based in our Milwaukee office, was recently named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. She was honored at an event on March 2 along with the other winners.

The popular 40 Under 40 award honors high-achieving young business leaders like Leana, nominated by business and other leaders in the community. The winners are young professionals who are not only having an impact in their professions, but in their communities as well.

Nominators are asked to provide a statement detailing the candidate’s accomplishments and qualifications. There were 350 nominations submitted this year.

To be eligible, candidates must have not turned 40 before Feb. 28, 2020, and work within Milwaukee, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington or Waukesha counties.

Judges select the 40 winners each year based on their professional accomplishments, community contributions and demonstrated leadership.

The Milwaukee Business Journal asked the 40 Under 40 winners several questions, including, what would you tell your teenage self? Leana’s reply was, “The world is yours.” She also said taking her kids to Japan and China and learning two more languages - Mandarin and coding - were at the top of her bucket list.

See more about the entire 2020 class of 40 Under 40 winners. (Leana is thumbnail 5.)

Leana describes her role with American Family as championing the Milwaukee Initiative through convening internal and external partners as well as building authentic partnerships to create deep, diverse talent pipelines and support a thriving inclusive professional talent ecosystem in Milwaukee and beyond.

"One of my favorite quotes is 'team work makes the dream work,'" said Leana. "This is the philosophy in which I engage with my team, our partners, and my colleagues each day, every day. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it also wasn’t built equitably. Working towards social justice isn’t easy, it will take time. There are challenges, obstacles, and need for great change. Each day I hope that the work accomplished is one more step on this journey towards social justice for all."

Before joining American Family in January 2019, Leana held leadership roles with several nonprofits over the past 15 years, including with the Greater Milwaukee Committee and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.


Pictured at left with Leana at the March 2 event honoring the 40 Under 40: Ranell Washington, inclusive excellence development advisor; Justin Cruz, diversity recruitment vice president; Judd Schemmel, associate vice president of community investment and sponsorships/partnerships; Maritza Contreras, inclusive excellence advisor; Joanne Sabir, inclusive excellence advisor; Camille Ridgeway, associate planning/project manager; Jilly Gokalgandhi, inclusive excellence advisor.

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About American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 306 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes American Family Connect Property and Casualty Insurance Company, the proposed new legal name of Ameriprise Auto & Home, The GeneralHomesite and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.