After stops in Madison and Atlanta, Strait realized that Milwaukee is where she wants to be.
How long have you lived in Milwaukee and why did you choose to live here?
I grew up in Milwaukee. I attended school in Madison and lived in Atlanta for a year before returning to Milwaukee. When I moved back, I thought it would be a quick pit stop before moving on to another city. Within a few short weeks, I realized Milwaukee was where I wanted and needed to be. “Real” Milwaukee is so much different than the Milwaukee where I grew up (which was Bayside).
What about Milwaukee makes it a place that you want to work, live, and play?
Milwaukee is a small city, but big in the ways it matters: plenty of job opportunities and corporate headquarters, tons of different neighborhoods with different vibes in which to live, and always something to do. There are always new people to meet and old friends to see. It’s not overwhelming in the way that bigger cities can be – for instance, we don’t have traffic, and when you want to hang out in a different part of town for the night, it’s just a few minutes away as opposed to a 20- or 30-minute ride. It’s extremely manageable without feeling claustrophobic. I love that even after having spent the first 18 years of my life here before going to college, I’ve somehow managed to discover even more about the city in the three years I’ve been back. And I love the strong sense of pride many Milwaukeeans have – I think organizations like NEWaukee have had an immense impact in the newfound love many of us have found for our city.
It’s really tough for me to decide on one Milwaukee event – pretty much anything that takes place in the summertime is my favorite – but I’d have to settle on Brewers games and tailgates (I realize that this is about 80 events, but hey!). Growing up I didn’t realize how unique our tailgate culture was. It’s great that so many people come to our baseball mecca and join together in the tradition that is tailgating. Everyone is on the same side (except Cubs fans), and whether our team is winning or losing, we have a great time. There’s such a sense of camaraderie – Hey, you forgot charcoal for your grill? Here, have some! Lost your Frisbee? Here, borrow mine! Besides the tailgating portion, I love singing along (loudly) to “Roll Out the Barrel.”
What is one thing you’d like to change about Milwaukee?
The one thing I’d really like to see in Milwaukee is better transportation, particularly in light of our numerous “achievements” in the ways of drinking. That’s one part of our culture that isn’t going to change, but what we can change is our tendency to drive under the influence. If we implement easier, more accessible transportation options for people to utilize after a night of drinking, perhaps they’d be less likely to get behind the wheel.
What do you do?
I am the event and communications coordinator at the Greater Milwaukee Committee, a nonprofit organization which works towards making Milwaukee a better place to learn, live, work and play. I help plan and coordinate the monthly events for our members as well as events for our various initiatives (such as Innovation in Milwaukee, or MiKE), send out email communications, manage social media efforts and help with public relations initiatives. It’s incredibly empowering to be working for an organization which I truly believe makes a difference in the lives of Milwaukeeans.