Three women will headline the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce's IceBreaker luncheon on April 12.

They are: General Marcia Anderson, the first African-American woman to achieve the rank of major general in the U.S. Army; Syovata Edari, owner of CocoVaa Chocolatier, Madison; and Julia Nepper, who earned her doctorate degree in biophysics from UW-Madison in December and, at age 23, is one of the youngest Ph.D recipients in the U.S.

All three of the women are also African American. Chamber president Zach Brandon said, however, that's not why they were chosen. They were picked to speak because of their extraordinary stories, Brandon said.

"We were looking for an opportunity to provide dimension to stories of courage, passion and leadership. We did not prioritize race or gender in our search, though we do think it says something special about Madison that these are the stories we found,” he said.

The IceBreaker luncheon will be held at the Kohl Center, 601 W. Dayton St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets cost $65 for Chamber members and $100 for non-members.

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Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.