2018 Recipient of SJA's Trailblazer in Women's Leadership Award: Portia Young

Portia Young began telling stories as a young girl in her native Detroit. In fact, her second-grade teacher at Gesu Elementary Catholic School in Detroit, first noticed her writing ability and encouraged Portia to keep it up, by posting her tales on the wall in the hallway. She continued her Catholic education at one of metro Detroit's premiere college-preparatory high schools for girls: Mercy High School in Farmington, Hills. There, so she nurtured her gift of writing by becoming an editor of her high school yearbook. She won several awards with her yearbook team from Michigan State University and Ball State University in Indiana. That experience set her on the path of becoming a journalist. "My Catholic education laid a solid foundation, upon which I could study independently, work collaboratively and treat all who I encounter with kindness, respect and dignity. I am forever grateful for my Catholic schooling experience," said Young.

Her Catholic schooling paved the way for her to be accepted to the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where she formalized her skill. Upon earning her Bachelor's degree, she began her broadcasting career at WKOW TV in Madison, Wis.

For 14 years, Young was an anchor and reporter at three different ABC affiliates. Her longest tenure was at WISN TV in Milwaukee where she was the morning anchor. During that time she received several writing awards including two Emmy nominations.

"The newsroom taught me how to think fast, creatively and critically; write even faster and solve problems. I also learned the secret to making lasting connections with strangers: listening," said Young.

After the birth of her first child, Young left broadcast news to pursue a career in public relations and corporate communications. As the daughter of two educators, Young believes in lifelong learning. She returned to her alma mater, Northwestern University, to earn her master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Promoted from Public Relations Manager, Young is currently the Director of Corporate Communications for Sargento Foods Inc.--a family-owned, $1.4 billion company based in Plymouth, Wis. In this role, Young is telling the stories of a great American company, that hires good people and treats them like family. Sargento has been named a Top Workplace in Wisconsin for several years in a row. Portia also hosts '10ThirtySix', Milwaukee's monthly news magazine program on Milwaukee PBS where she is telling stories that matter to Southeast Wisconsin as only public broadcasting can.

Young believes strongly in giving back to her community and has served as a member of the board of directors for several organizations including the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, The Cathedral Center, Seton Catholic Schools and has served on the Archbishop's Catholic Schools Commission.

She is married and lives with her husband and daughters on Milwaukee's Northshore. Young is a loyal Packers fan and has a maintained a large following on Facebook and Twitter.