26 May Wisconsin entrepreneur Toni Sikes to receive ‘Seize the Day’ award
Toni Sikes, CEO and founder of The Guild, will receive the sixth annual “Seize the Day” award at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.
The award, which celebrates entrepreneurial leaders who have been crucial to Wisconsin’s economic growth, is named in honor of the late Ken Hendricks, a Beloit businessman and 2006 “Seize the Day” award winner who died in an accident in late 2007.
Sikes will accept the award and speak noon Tuesday, June 10 during the annual Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.
Toni Sikes is an entrepreneur who built the nation’s largest online arts retailer from a warehouse on Madison’s near East Side. Identifying a need for artists to reach new audiences, Sikes founded The Guild publishing company in 1985 to connect artists with architects and interior designers. In 1998, Sikes launched the website to market the work of artists to consumers, via the Internet and catalog.
Her commitment to helping artists market and sell their work made The Guild the leading U.S. multi-channel retailer of original artwork. The Guild renamed the catalog The Artful Home in 2004, and renamed the website shortly thereafter. They offer a selection of more than 10,000 original paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and works in the fine craft media of glass, ceramics, fiber, metal, and wood are sourced from artists throughout North America.
As the founder and CEO of two companies, Sikes raised more than $52 million from venture capital firms on the East and West coasts. She is currently senior advisor at Gruppo, Levey & Co., a New York investment bank, where she leads an initiative to help young technology companies in their financing and M&A strategies.
“Toni Sikes offers an inspiring example of an entrepreneur who has built – and rebuilt – companies to adapt to changing times, markets and financial conditions,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Her record in raising private equity capital is one of the most impressive in Wisconsin – yet she knows how to ‘boot-strap’ a company, as well. That’s a particularly instructive quality in today’s economy.”