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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. Appointed to the role in 2021 by Mayor Tom Barrett, 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’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. Prior to that, she served as Legal Counsel for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, primarily practicing employment law, open government law, and privacy law.


Makda has been recognized for her various accomplishments, she is the recipient of Dominican High School’s Distinguished Young Alum of the Year Award (2019), Wisconsin Law Journal’s Up and Coming Lawyer Award (2019), the Wisconsin Women in Government’s Rising Star Award (2020), was named by Madison365 as one of Wisconsin's Most Influential Black Leaders (2020), and by In Business Greater Madison to their 40 Under 40 list (2021). In 2022, Makda was named by Milwaukee Business Journal as a recipient of the 40 Under 40 award.

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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