Abston creating a true melting pot.

Byline: Melody Finnemore

Ian Abston often meets older business leaders and Millennial employees and hears concerns about who will lead Wisconsin into the future. The older leaders ask who the next generation of leaders will be, and the younger ones question when it will be their turn.

"They both want the same thing, but building trust is a big issue. And Milwaukee is a small big city but everybody has their circles," he said. "My goal is to get people together, regardless of their backgrounds and their professions."

In 2016, Abston established the Hoan Group, named for the well-known Milwaukee bridge connecting downtown with the city's south side. His efforts resulted in a diverse group that gives more than 80 well-established leaders an opportunity to come together wtih small-business owners, emerging corporate leaders and non-profit executives.

Abston said the Hoan Group's success lies in its approach to building relationships and trust. Its gatherings sometimes stretch over several hours. Dinner and wine help people feel comfortable taling about difficult realities.

In 2017, he brough his idea from Milwaukee to Madison. Despite being in the same state, these two cities have generally operated separately. Now, though, Madison leaders are traveling to Milwaukee and vice versa through a program called NOLAN. These leaders include women, people of color and people of different sexual orientations and generations.

"Our goal is to...

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