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Makda Fessahaye 

Director, Department of Employee Relations

Makda Fessahaye serves as the City of Milwaukee’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Director of the Department of Employee Relations. In her role, Makda is responsible for the oversight and direction of the City’s civil service system, recruitment and retention, classification and compensation, compliance, and employee relations matters. As a member of Mayor Tom Barrett’s cabinet, Makda advises the Mayor and fellow cabinet members on employment matters, regulatory compliance, and best employment practices. Makda previously served in Governor Tony Evers’ administration as the Administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections’ Division of Adult Institutions, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of 36 correctional facilities in the state. She previously served as Legal Counsel for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, primarily practicing employment law, open government law, and privacy law.


Makda serves in several leadership positions in the Milwaukee community, including serving as the immediate Past President of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers, as a member of Marquette University Law School’s Diversity Recruitment Committee, and as a member of Dominican High School’s Alumni Board.


Makda has been recognized for her various accomplishments, including Dominican High School Distinguished Young Alum of the Year (2019), Wisconsin Law Journal Up and Coming Lawyer (2019), the Wisconsin Women in Government Rising Star Award (2020), Madison365 Wisconsin's Most Influential Black Leaders (2020), and In Business Greater Madison's 40 Under 40 (2021).


Makda received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Communication Studies with a minor in Political Science, and her Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School.

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