Business Person of the Year


The Elmbrook Rotary Club (ERC) recently announced long-time journalist Lisbeth Passalis-Bain as the recipient of the Business Person of the Year Award at the ERC meeting on Friday, October 27, 2017. The program recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of a successful Brookfield or Elm Grove individual.
Passalis-Bain is the founder, owner, publisher, and editor of the Elm Grove News-Independent, which celebrates and chronicles the Elm Grove community news with coverage of Waukesha County, the Elmbrook School District, Elmbrook Humane Society, Elmbrook Historical Society and more. She oversees the entire production including all news coverage, advertising, and distribution. Passalis-Bain has made significant contributions to her industry through her work for newspapers in her home state of California and in Wisconsin.
Her local community involvement includes membership in the Elm Grove Woman's Club, Friends of the Elm Grove Library, Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association (Past President & Secretary), and City of Brookfield Police Reserves (2001-2009).
“Lisabeth promotes Elm Grove, its people, and its businesses at every opportunity,” said Ralph Gould, Program Chairperson. “She carries extra copies of the News-Independent wherever she goes so as not to miss an opportunity, potential reader or advertiser.”  
Nominations for the ERC Business Person of the Year Award are open to the public in the spring and are completed through an online form. 



The Elmbrook Rotary Club (ERC) established a Business Person of the Year Award beginning this year that recognizes the accomplishments of a successful Brookfield or Elm Grove individual.

ERC began in 1983 and is part of Rotary International which was founded in 1905. The Club is an active group of over 80 individuals with a wide range of backgrounds from business professionals and community leaders to those who work in public service.  The Rotary official motto is “Service Above Self” and the Club slogan is “We Rise & Shine,” referring the fact that they were the first breakfast club in Rotary District 6270.  

The Business Person of the Year Award is a way for the Club to recognize and celebrate individuals in our community who are service-minded and doing outstanding work. The program will recognize those with a customer focus and an entrepreneurial approach, along with those who’ve demonstrated strong leadership. They may have also promoted growth through new and innovative products within their industry.  Additionally, the ERC Business Person of the Year is involved in the community by, but not limited to:

  • Supporting local programs
  • Supporting local events and charities
  • Mentoring and/or being a role model
  • Sitting on local boards

Requirements & Selection Criteria

The ERC Business Person of the Year must meet the following requirements and be judged-upon, but not limited to, the following criteria:

  • Business must be located in Brookfield/Elm Grove
  • Be the majority owner and/or operating head of a business
  • Been in business for at least 3 years
  • Has achieved significant, measurable contributions to his/her industry
  • Has demonstrated significant community involvement

The Process

  • Nominations for the ERC Business Person of the Year Award must be done by completing and submitting the nomination form.
  • A selection committee of ERC members and Brookfield City and Elm Grove Village members will review all nomination forms and select the ERC Business Person of the Year award recipient.  (All nomination forms are confidential and reviewed only by the selection committee).
  • Deadline for receipt of nominations for the 2018 award is to be determined.
  • The next ERC Business Person of the Year will be honored at an ERC meeting in October, 2018
  • Members of ERC are not eligible for this award.
Please direct any questions to Program Chair, Ralph Gould at or (414) 975-3887.