"In five years, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t have to convince people how great this city is – it will just be undeniable."
What is your job and its responsibilities?
I am the Project Manager for Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE), an economic development initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. MiKE creates and supports programming to convene corporations, universities and talent networks in order to foster the development of an innovative workforce in Milwaukee…a mouthful, I know!
Throughout the year I wear many hats – planning events like Flying Car, an innovation summit, The Foundry and the upcoming 180: Reverse Job Fair during YP Week. I am also a part of the co-founding team for The Commons, a collaboration with Startup Milwaukee, and I provide support to our creative placemaking initiatives like ‘Creational Trails. Working for the Greater Milwaukee Committee means there are always interesting projects on the table and we get to collaborate with some really amazing local partners to make things happen.
How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?
After making a couple pit stops in other Midwest cities (grew up in Cedarburg, WI, college in Chicago, IL and adventures in Duluth, MN) I found myself moving back to Milwaukee in 2013. Honestly, if you had asked me years ago if I would ever move back, I might have laughed; But I can wholeheartedly say that I love Milwaukee! I have been able to reconnect with old friends, live closer to my family, meet so many new people and discover all the gems of Milwaukee – I really feel like I am part of something in this city.
Favorite place to grab coffee/an after dinner drink?
Being in Walker’s Point, I am constantly hopping back and forth between the neighborhood coffee shops – Stone Creek, Colectivo, Anodyne, etc. – basically, I have no problems staying caffeinated! For drinks of the boozy variety, I am loving Red Star (above Trocadero) and you can never go wrong with some beer and popcorn at my favorite dive bar, Wolski’s.
I am not sure if I could pick just one, I have too many! Some of my personal favorites: Milwaukee Film Festival is rock solid, NEWaukee’s Night Markets, Young Professionals Week, 88Nine’s Studio Sessions and Hover Craft.
What is the one thing you’d like to change about Milwaukee?
While I love how walkable Milwaukee is, public transit has always been a huge part of my life (haven’t had a car since high school!). I am so glad that we have started taking steps towards enhancing the transit system with the city’s decision to move the streetcar plan forward. While there is still a lot to be figured out for the streetcar and how to improve the bus system, my hope is that this will be a catalyst for Milwaukee to step up it’s public transit game as a whole. With an extensive public transit system, we can grow communities, give people access to more jobs, provide visitors with additional options to get around and so much more!
Where do you see Milwaukee in five years?
In five years, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t have to convince people how great this city is – it will just be undeniable. A thriving downtown where young professionals will find amazing opportunities to develop professionally and connect with others, and the already amazing food scene will continue to boom. The streetcar will be up and running, connecting people to even more places in the city and Milwaukee will continue to become bike-friendly. And most importantly, all of our dedicated community organizations and businesses will continue to collaborate and innovate together on the issues that we face, making this city’s assets accessible to everyone.