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Honoree Headshot

Carmen Pitre

President & CEO
Sojourner Family Peace Center

Location: Milwaukee, WI
Founded: 1975
Industry: Victim services

Carmen Pitre’s journey and perseverance are both remarkable and admirable. She grew up in a violent home in a small town in the bayou south of New Orleans. From those humble beginnings, she rose to become president and CEO of Wisconsin’s largest nonprofit provider of domestic violence prevention and intervention services.

In 1992, Pitre was hired as a training and curriculum specialist for what was then the Milwaukee AIDS Project. She worked at several agencies, addressing an array of social causes including the Fighting Back anti-drug initiative, the City of Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Milwaukee County’s Judicial Oversight initiative. She was integral in the 2009 merger of Sojourner Truth House and the Task Force on Family Violence when she became co-executive director of the new agency, Sojourner Family Peace Center, which she continues to lead today.

“Carmen draws on decades of work and personal experience to improve the way the community supports families impacted by domestic violence,” the nonprofit said. “Carmen believes, and data proves, a holistic approach of co-locating services and coordinating resources is effective, efficient and yields better outcomes for families.”

Under Pitre’s leadership, the Sojourner Family Peace Center has helped change the way the community addresses domestic violence. Ten years ago, a survivor might spend weeks or months navigating the different providers they need to get help. Now, 14 different co-located services ranging from mental health to legal assistance are available to survivors under one 72,000-square-foot roof.

Last year, Sojourner added a texting line for clients to reach them, and this year it added technology so clients can join a waitlist for quicker help with restraining orders. After five years in development, the nonprofit also launched new software that centralizes data collection from member agencies to save clients the trauma of repeating their stories to multiple people.

Above all, Pitre makes kindness and compassion a priority in her daily work.

“Be kind to people and do things with compassion,” she said. “We’re all wounded in some way. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”

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Carmen brings her lunch to the office in a Wonder Woman lunch bag, complete with mini cape!

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