BMO Harris Bank honors three Milwaukee trailblazers

November 7, 2019

Annual awards honor women for their contributions to business and their communities

Pictured at the awards celebration (from left) are Linda Gorens-Levey, Thelma A. Sias and Erica Elia.

BMO Harris Bank announced three BMO Celebrating Women honorees in Milwaukee on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The women were nominated by local BMO Harris employees and selected for their professional achievements and impact on the community.

The bank surprised the three honorees on Monday at a reception held at the Pfister Hotel. Receiving accolades in each of the three categories were:

Women Who Lead: Erica Elia, owner of Classy Girl Cupcakes. Elia opened her first retail bakery in Milwaukee in 2010 and since then has grown her business from one to 25 employees. In 2017 she opened her second location and is now serving hundreds of weddings and events per year.

Women Who Serve: Thelma A. Sias, public speaker and key connector to business, community and political leaders. Sias is a retired executive of WE Energies who still holds leadership roles in the Milwaukee community and has worked tirelessly with dozens of non-profit organizations – including United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Library – to help fundraise, build capacity and strengthen their futures.

Women Who Inspire: Linda Gorens-Levey, partner at General Capital Group. Apart from managing complex real estate developments, Gorens-Levey assists with the firm’s risk management, marketing and technology. Before joining General Capital, she was a managing director at Stark Investments, a multi-strategy hedge fund, and helped guide the firm’s growth from under $1 billion in assets to more than $14 billion.

“These women are community trailblazers and role models who have taken great strides to better their communities,” said Jud Snyder, president of BMO Harris’s Equipment Finance business. “It’s exciting to honor these three women who embody BMO’s purpose to boldly grow the good in business and life.”

BMO Harris Bank strives to be an industry leader in fostering diversity and inclusion. Earlier this year, BMO was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Best Employers for Women.

The BMO Celebrating Women program was created to honor the achievements of women leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and innovators who are excelling in their business and making an impact in their communities. Since 2012, BMO has awarded more than 170 women in communities across Canada and the United States. For more information about BMO Celebrating Women, please visit: and join the social conversation using #BMOforWomen.