CYP Milwaukee




Conservative Young Professionals of Milwaukee is a group of young professionals and community leaders located in the greater Milwaukee area.  We believe that free markets, entrepreneurship, individual initiative, limited and efficient government, and educational opportunity are the keys to economic prosperity and human dignity.

Thanks to generous partnerships with America's Future Foundation and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, we provide networking opportunities and discussions on public policy and the economic issues facing our community and state. CYP Milwaukee members are invited to happy hours with local business leaders, private events and panel discussions on broad policy issues, and additional WPRI events

Our common principles unite us. All are welcome! Please check this page for future events and join our email list or like us on Facebook to stay in touch.


Upcoming Events

The Evolving Role of the Media: A Panel Discussion

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Milwaukee Athletic Club
758 North Broadway
5:30PM - 7:30PM

The role of the media is rapidly changing. Audiences regularly clash, the number of news outlets is growing, and content is increasingly judged for its accuracy.  So what does all of this mean for the future of the media in our country? And how will the “fourth estate” adapt to this shifting landscape?

CYP and AFF will discuss these issues on Thursday, June 15 at the Milwaukee Athletic Club during a panel-style dialogue with some of city’s leading members of the media: Associate Publisher of the Milwaukee Community Journal, Mikel Holt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Dave Umhoefer, and WISN talk show host, Jay Weber. The panel will be moderated by WPRI President Mike Nichols, with an audience Q&A session to follow. Cocktail hour will begin at 5:30 p.m.

To register:  Click here

Past Events

"Is There a Moral Case for Liberty?"
Tuesday April 11, 2017
5:30PM - 7:00PM
Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub

Special Guest: Roger Custer, Executive Director of America's Future Foundation
Are free markets and capitalism the best way to help the poor? Or should we increase government spending and benefits to help? Can we form a coalition to use what works to reduce poverty and increase opportunity for all?

Join AFF Milwaukee, the Conservative Young Professionals of Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute for a fun evening of networking and interactive remarks from AFF executive director Roger Custer about the moral case for freedom.


"How I Built My Business" series continues
Wednesday March 29, 2017
Great Lakes Distillery 616 W. Virginia Ave., Milwaukee

Special Guest: Paul Sweeney of PS Capital Partners

Our popular series on entrepreneurship returns with Paul Sweeney.  Join us for a conversation on private equity, venture capital and trends in business development, regional development and the hiring market in southeastern Wisconsin. Paul is also involved in local healthcare and education endeavors, including his work to start Milwaukee Scholars Charter School and welcomes discussion in these areas as well.


CYP Happy Hour - December 1, 2016
Sobelman’s Pub and Grill, Mi
Guest Speaker: Dave Sobelman

A few months ago, we began our “How I Built My Business,” Series.  Dave graciously agreed to not only speak to us but host us as well. 

Dave is an emphatic and outspoken political independent who built a business in Milwaukee from the ground up. He and his family own and operate three Sobelman's restaurants in southeastern Wisconsin, and the concept is in active franchise development. Sobelman's has been featured in local publications, as well as cable and broadcast television. 

Dave and his wife, Melanie, met in 1993 at a restaurant where Melanie was Dave’s waitress. For him, it was love at first sight, and within 1½ years, they were married and started a family.

Six years and two daughters later, the owner of that restaurant offered to sell the couple another business that he owned. It was one of Milwaukee’s original Schlitz taverns at 1900 W. St. Paul Ave, and we now call it Sobelman’s Pub & Grill.

Dave and Melanie, with high school educations and no culinary skills, were determined to make the most of a pub-and-grill cuisine (mainly burgers), offering the cleanest environment, friendliest service and most pleasant, cozy atmosphere possible. The result has certainly taken the pub-and-grill experience up a notch!


CYP Happy Hour - October 19, 2016
Mo's Irish Pub Downtown
Guest Speaker: Brian Sikma of Media Trackers

Brian shared with us his thoughts and predictions for the 2016 presidential election and key races in Wisconsin that could determine control of the Wisconsin Legislature and both houses of Congress.


CYP Happy Hour - June 23, 2016
The Comedy Café, Milwaukee
"How I Built My Business" series, featuring Tom Bentley,
owner and chairman of the Board, Bentley World-Packaging Ltd.

CYP Happy Hour -  May 25, 2016
Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub at The Brewhouse Inn & Suites, Milwaukee
Guest Speaker: Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander


CYP Happy Hour - April 27, 2016
Guest Speaker: Mike Nichols, WPRI president
Milwaukee Athletic Club

Mike discussed WPRI's Special Report, Putting the Squeeze on Consumers: Real-World Impacts of Wisconsin's Minimum Markup Law, and how Wisconsin's minimum markup law discourages competition and benefits special interests at the expense of consumers. 


CYP Happy Hour - March 24, 2016
Mo's Irish Pub, MIlwaukee
Guest Speaker: Rick Esenberg of Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

Rick is the founder, president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.  Rick gave his thoughts on President Obama's nominee to the United States Supreme Court, the late Justice Antonin Scalia and judicial races.


Milwaukee's 1st Happy Hour of 2016  - January 14, 2016
Hinterland, Milwaukee
Guest speaker: Kevin Nicholson on "Assessing and Responding to Risk: From ISIS to Iran to the US economy”.

Hinterland is located at:
222 East Erie Street, Suite 100 Milwaukee, WI

Kevin Nicholson is a principal at ghSMART. He serves leading Fortune 500 corporations and investors in the areas of management assessment and organizational change initiatives.


CYP Milwaukee - November 17, 2015
Distil, Milwaukee
Guest Speaker: Jon Hammes



An Evening with National Review's Charles Cooke
September 9, 2015

Milwaukee Athletic Club

Charles Cooke is a writer at National Review, author of The Conservatarian Manifesto and a graduate of the University of Oxford, where he studies modern history and politics.


Topic:  What a New Arena Means for Milwaukee and the Region
With Special Guest: Tim Sheehy

August 27, 2015
Mi-keys, Milwaukee

Tim is president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. The MMAC serves as an advocate for member businesses, which employ more than 300,000 people in the greater Milwaukee area. Tim will be on hand to discuss what the proposed arena will mean for Milwaukee and the region and other issues affecting the business community and economic development.


Conservative Young Professionals of Milwaukee Advisory Board

Jason Kohout, Chairman

Jason Kohout is a partner and business lawyer practicing with Foley & Lardner LLP. Jason is very involved in the community and serves as Secretary for the Harvard Club of Wisconsin, Secretary of Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, and the Director and Treasurer of CARMEN High School of Science and Technology Charter School. Jason graduated from Harvard College and recieved his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2007.




Shannon Sweek, Vice Chair

Shannon Sweek (formerly O’Connell) is Vice President of Clinical Operations for UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division. UnitedHealth Group is a Fortune 6 provider of health care services for employers, providers and government beneficiaries. Sweek oversees a team of 400 clinical and non-clinical resources, accountable for delivering population health management programs to greater than 9 million Medicare and Medicaid members. Sweek's 10+ year career with UnitedHealth Group is driven by her passion for helping seniors and disabled adults maintain health and independence.

Sweek is a graduate of Marquette University and received her Masters of Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota. She began attending Conservative Young Professionals of Milwaukee events in 2010. Networking with like-minded fiscal conservatives in the Milwaukee area is what drives Sweek to take an active leadership role in CYP.

Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis is Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce's legislative director. He is part of the advocacy team that lobbies on behalf of MMAC and its members at the federal, state and local levels. Davis came to MMAC after nearly a decade of government and political experience, including serving as Reince Priebus’ Wisconsin political director, and managing stakeholder and external relations for Gov. Scott Walker. He also held roles advising state Sen. Alberta Darling on policy issues and public relations and spent time in Washington, D.C., working in the marketing and communications department of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a degree in political science.


Mary Beth Gahn

Mary Beth Gahn is a sales professional with a background in retail and wholesale operations, and the nonprofit, fashion and food manufacturing industries. When she's not selling something, she enjoys policy discussions surrounding a pro-human platform, volunteering for disability rights and awareness, and serving the congregation at her Catholic parish. Gahn also enjoys learning about wine and its cultural influence, cooking for friends, and looking for a good reason to go to the gym before work. She is a magna cum laude alumna of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO.



Nick Kitzman

Nicholas W. Kitzman is an associate with the Milwaukee law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP, focusing on real estate law. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his J.D. from Duke University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal. Prior to law school, Kitzman worked in a variety of roles for key Wisconsin policy-makers including Sens. Alberta Darling and Luther Olsen and for Gov. Scott Walker as assistant legislative director. While in the state Capitol, Kitzman focused on the areas of health care, K-12 education and entitlement reform. He also has experience in economic development, having worked for the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. and having spent a year living in Yerevan, Armenia, while developing rural cooperatives and teaching English.

Jess Ripp

Jess Ripp is a native of Milwaukee who attended both Marquette University High School and Marquette University.  He currently manages the daily operations of an asset management company that oversees income properties in Waukesha and Milwaukee County. In his free time he travels domestically and reads approximately 50 books a year.




Virginia Zignego

Virginia Zignego is the Development Director for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, where she is responsible for maintaining relationships with donors and foundations.

Prior to joining WILL, Virginia worked for a consulting firm, where she specialized in nonprofits and fundraising. Virginia also worked as the communications director for a state-wide nonprofit where she gained extensive media experience. Virginia received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and political science.



© 2015 Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, 633 W. Wisconsin Ave Suite 330, Milwaukee, WI 53203
This site is powered by the Northwoods Titan Content Management System