Heather Wentler

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Doyenne

Heather Wentler

Heather always knew she’d be an educator and in 2009 she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BA in Elementary Education. With her degree in hand, she set off on her career teaching math and science in Madison Metropolitan School District middle schools. Dream realized. However, conventional classroom settings became increasingly stifling and Heather began looking for an alternative way to teach students that was outside traditional curriculum and used hands-on learning based on life experiences.

Fractal was Heather’s first pivot from the classroom to entrepreneurship. Founded in 2011, Fractal provides STEAM enrichment programming for school-aged participants through self-guided learning activities that connect school lessons to real-life experiences. Fractal was launched as a summer program in conjunction with local community organizations and now hosts evening, weekend and week-long camps throughout the year for 6-13 year-olds. Over 2,000 participants have attended Fractal programming to date. Fractal also hosts professional development for educators to introduce new technology and teaching techniques that foster learning and increase engagement across all levels and learning styles within a classroom.

Next came Madison Soup, a quarterly micro-granting event that’s part of the wider Sunday Soup Network. Madison Soup is a way for Madison-area residents to come together, share a meal, and learn about local programs, projects, entrepreneurial endeavors, or non-profit initiatives. Having pooled their resources via event ticket sales, attendees vote and award a micro-grant to the initiative that they believe will have the greatest positive impact in their community.

By the spring of 2012 Heather was deeply engaged in the Madison entrepreneurial ecosystem but was increasingly frustrated with her experience within the network. Often she was one of a handful of women in a roomful of men, the token female panelist invited speak in order to boost “diversity” while simultaneously being hit on, not taken seriously, and told her startups weren’t “real startups” and what she should do instead.

It was in one of those rooms full of men that Heather met Amy Gannon and the exciting journey of launching Doyenne began. Heather believes all women and girls are strong, independent individuals capable of success if they are given access to the necessary resources – networks, mentors, programs, investors and other funding. Together Heather and Amy created Doyenne. An organization that provides the opportunity to connect with other women entrepreneurs, collaborate and create a better community for everyone, encourage and empower others to live their dreams, and find a network of women who are in each other’s corner no matter what.

Heather serves on the Forward Fest organizing committee, the Forward Technology Conference organizing committee, the Tech Education Alliance, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce & Madison Metropolitan School District Entrepreneur Advisory Committee; she’s a StartingBlock Madison Collaborator, Million Women Mentors, and Sector67 Secretary & Treasurer. Heather is a proud member of the Latino Chamber of Commerce Dane Co, the Business Forum, and Downtown Madison Inc. She serves on various organizing committees, advisory boards, and membership of organizations committed to empowering women and girls. She has tutored at local Middle Schools, mentored students for the Science Symposium, and facilitates the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program at Sennett Middle School in Madison.

Heather lives on the east-side of Madison with her husband Chris. In her free time she enjoys cooking, experimenting in the kitchen, pottery, hiking, watching sports, and bingeing on Netflix.

Recent Posts

Why Women Aren’t At Your Conferences

Apr 26 2018 // Why women aren’t at your conferences By Heather Wentler Every year, I shake my head when I see yet another women’s conference announced. In 2018 alone, there are more than 50 different national conferences focused…

This is what it’s really like to put together a crowdfunding campaign

Mar 29 2018 // Finding funding for your venture is tough no matter who you are. There is no magic bullet. Securing funding is hard, time consuming, prepare for more “no” than “yes” responses, finding your niche, perfecting your…

Stop Believing This Lie About Women’s Relationships

Mar 05 2018 // Stop believing this lie about women’s relationships By Heather Wentler Business is about relationships. Because of what the media puts in front of us and the experiences we witness firsthand, we spend a lot of…

Can anybody think of a good business idea for a male entrepreneur?

Feb 08 2018 // Can anybody think of a good business idea for a male entrepreneur? A few weeks ago, a reporter from a small business blog sent the following request out over HARO, a listserv that connects journalists…

2018 is the year to stand up for women — whether you are one or not

Jan 02 2018 // From the Executive Director: Have you ever walked out of an event and thought, wow, I wish I had invited so-and-so to this? Amy and I were invited to an event a few weeks ago,…

Happy Holidays 2017

Dec 18 2017 // The Holiday Season means many things to everyone. For me, I like to spend this time of year admiring the twinkling lights, sipping hot cocoa on a snowy day, and getting together with friends to…

Don’t Forget to Celebrate

Nov 28 2017 // How many times have we been part of a conversation like this… Person 1: How have things been going? Person 2: I had this big goal I had been working on reaching. Person 1: How did…

November is for Women Entrepreneurs

Oct 28 2017 // It seems like there is a month, day, hour designated to celebrate everything and anything. For example, did you know November 1st is National Vinegar Day and the first Thursday of every November is National Men…

It is time to right-size your pumpkin!

Sep 28 2017 // More than 10 years ago, I read the book, “What Should I Do with My Life: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question” by Po Bronson. I remember generally enjoying the book,…

#BossLady & Forward Fest

Jul 26 2017 // August usually means vacations, time with family, and getting in all of those last minute adventures in before Labor Day hits and we all feel like summer is over. Not so much when you’re an…

Forward Fest 2017

Jul 06 2017 // If you haven’t heard, Forward Fest is the word! Doyenne launched during Forward Fest 2012, and since then we have been active participants of the Festival with hosting, organizing, and presenting at events. Forward Fest…

Getting Intentional About Mentoring Relationships

Jun 12 2017 // We often hear people attribute their success at work, and life in general, to the mentoring they received along the way. Many of us have had experiences with people in our lives who really made…

May 2017 Note from Doyenne Group Executive Director

May 04 2017 // “30, 60, 10” Do you know what those numbers stand for? No they’re not random sports numbers, they’re numbers for the percentage of types of content you should have going out in your social media…

April 2017 Note from Doyenne Group Executive Director

Apr 04 2017 // Happy Spring! Does it feel like Spring to you yet? I’m seriously over this gray and dreary weather! I don’t know about you, but I know it’s affecting my mood and energy level lately and…

March 2017 Note from Doyenne Group Executive Director

Mar 03 2017 // In the February Letter from the Executive Director I wrote that I’m going to be spending the next few months discussing separating yourself from your business’s social media pages to build a stronger brand. This…

February 2017 Note from Executive Director

Jan 30 2017 // When you post on social media do you ever wonder who is looking at your post and what their thoughts are on it? If not, maybe you should. I follow or am friends with many…