3 Lessons in Life and Young Professionalism: As Taught by Jessica Day

I am in love with Jessica Day, and I know I’m not alone.

Written By: Kayla Leverton

Jess and her New Girl squad take up way too much room on my DVR, mostly because they’ve made it look normal – and even a little bit cool – to be 30 years old, live with your best friends, and partake in ridiculous drinking games on the reg (True American meet-up, anyone?).

Maybe you didn’t realize it, but while they were making you feel a little bit better about where you’re at in life, the loft crew was also dropping life lessons. Jess Day and company have been teaching us lessons in young professionalism ever since she replied to that awkwardly worded want-ad on Craigslist.

For those of you who aren’t New Girl enthusiasts, let me give you a little context. The premise of the show is this: Jess Day moves into a loft with three best friends she meets by responding to an online advertisement for roommates. The sitcom follows the foursome (plus Jess’s non-roommate, lifelong best friend) as they navigate the complexities of adulting. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and tune in. I think you’ll love it – as a matter of fact, I’m so confident you’ll love it that if you don’t, your first round at the next Magnet Happy Hour is on me. (<-- Yep, I said it.)

Alright, back to those lessons for young professionals:

Lesson #1: If you can’t be yourself, you’re in the wrong place

Jess Day is the queen of knowing who she is and sticking to it. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend adopting Jess’s eccentricities in the workplace, there’s definitely a lesson for young professionals here.

As cliché as it might sound, authenticity really is the root of all personal happiness – that notion certainly carries over to your professional life. It’s impossible to feel good about going to work every day if you have to completely change who you are when you get there. If you’ve ever worked for an organization whose values and beliefs don’t jive with your own, you know how miserable it can be.

Whenever you’re exploring a new professional opportunity, be sure you’re weighing the personal fit into your decision-making process as much as the professional fit. Sure, the compensation package might be great and the benefits might be stellar, but if accepting those perks means having to act like someone you’re not for 40+ hours a week, is it really worth it?

Lesson #2: Passion > Paycheck

Speaking of compensation packages...

Jess Day is a classic example of someone who 100% prioritizes her passion over her paycheck. (She’s a public school teacher turned principal, for those of you who don’t watch the show regularly...yet)

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know she’s a fictional character and there’s no way she could actually live the life she lives off a public educator’s salary in real-life. I know prioritizing passion over a paycheck is easier said than done. Turning down an opportunity becomes exponentially more difficult as the dollar value soars, even if you know in your gut it’s not the right fit. But hear me out.

Yes, you need to make enough money to live comfortably. And yes, having a little money left over after you cover the essentials is nice when you need a spur-of-the-moment vacation or a brand-new LuLu Lemon wardrobe that suits your new yoga obsession (<--hypothetical, of course). But at some point, more money does not equal more happiness. Pouring your professional energy into something you’re truly passionate about, on the other hand? Those returns are not diminishing.

Lesson #3: Never Stop Learning

Not only is she a public school teacher, Jess Day is also a perpetual learner. Carpentry, cooking, hand-belling, Elvis-impersonating – you name it, she has learned to do it. We could all stand to be a bit more like Jess in this regard.

Taking it upon yourself to learn and apply new skills is the best shot you have at making yourself completely indispensable to your employer. Learning new things doesn’t have to mean pursuing formal educational opportunities.

Be the team member who’s willing to take on new challenges and try new things. Be the team member who’s willing to think differently and bring new ideas to the table. Be the team member who’s honestly committed to constantly learning, and I can almost guarantee you’ll be the team member best positioned for the the next promotion opportunity that comes around.

All jokes and New Girl references aside, elevating young professionals in the Madison area is something we take really seriously at Magnet. If you’re ready to join Madison’s premiere young professional networking organization, become a Magnet member today!


Welcome New Board Members!

In 2017, we've welcomed 3 new board members to the team.

Allow us to introduce:

Monica Hickey

Monica is the Director of Client Services for Ideas That Evoke, where she is responsible for providing strategic client direction, building new relationships, and maintaining existing client relationships.

As a digital native, Monica understands that social media has changed the landscape of communication between brands and consumers, and leads the way in discovering, incubating and accelerating innovation that addresses client's business needs.

Tim Bickmore

For the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to call Madison, WI home. When my business partners and I started LBW Wealth Management (LBW) over a year ago, my local network was slim-to-none. If Madison was going to be my home for years to come, not having a strong professional and personal network was out of the question. So, I began my search to find groups where I could find like-minded people and make professional and personal connections.

After researching (i.e. googling “local meet up groups”), I stumbled across Madison Magnet – a group for young professionals providing opportunities to develop, socially, professionally, and civically. After reading more and speaking with current members, I decided it would be beneficial to get my feet wet by coming to Magnet’s Happy Hour events. At first, I was apprehensive in joining the group, but the happy hours were free and as a start-up, we had limited funds to allocate to events. As I continued to go to more events, I met more people and started learning the ropes. One event in particular put me over the edge – the Madison Magnet Annual Golf Outing. I was lucky enough to join a foursome of members who truly take advantage of what Magnet brings to the table. They were either current or past board members, had been involved in or led one or more committee groups, and attended a plethora of events.

After listening to their experiences with Magnet and to see how close they were, I knew that Magnet was the right group for LBW and me. That event showed me the true potential Magnet has not only for myself, but for the community of Madison. The foursome discussed civic events, social events, professional development events, as if they all were college buddies reminiscing of old times. At that point I knew there were others like me who could benefit from a group that not only provides opportunities to grow professionally and personally, but to do so with other like-minded people. I saw this potential and knew being a member wasn’t enough – I needed to become an active member! So, I did. I joined Magnet roughly six months ago, and recently became a board member and a member of the professional development committee. I joined Magnet because I want Madison to be the best it can be and Magnet is a piece to that puzzle. So, I went from apprehensive- to all in, and I don’t plan on looking back!

Kayla Leverton

Kayla is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Community Sites Market at Forte Research System. Forte specializes in developing software that supports clinical research. In her role, Kayla works with small- to mid-sized research organizations to identify technical solutions that will help streamline operations.

Kayla has been watching Magnet from the sidelines for quite some time, but when the call for Board applications came out, she decided to dive right in. Kayla is passionate about fostering a strong community of young professionals in Madison, and she's looking forward to getting started in her role on the Board!

New Membership Pricing Updates for 2017

Dear Magnet members,

Thank you for being a member of Madison Magnet. I have a few important updates I wanted to share with you as we move into 2017:

1) Beginning January 1, 2017, we are encouraging members to help grow our community of YPs by providing a member referral incentive. For every new member you encourage to join, you will save $20 on the price of your next renewal. If you recruit 5 or more members throughout the year, your next renewal will be free! Our student members are also eligible for this incentive. Discounted rates are indicated below:

Professional membership renewal pricing with referral incentive:

1 new member - $100
2 new members - $80
3 new members - $60
4 new members - $40
5 or more new members - no charge

Student membership renewal pricing with referral incentive:

Up to 2 new members - $20
3 to 4 new members - $10
5 or more new members - no charge

2) Beginning January 1, 2017, all professional development events will be included in the cost of your Magnet membership. This means that you will be able to bring a guest for free as well. This includes our monthly MagPRO professional development series at Dreambank and other special events being planned currently.

3) For the 2016-16 season, Forward Theater, the resident theatre company at the Overture Center, is offering Magnet members discounted tickets to performances. Please contact director@madisonmagnet.org for the promotional code individually as you would like to see a performance.

4) A reaffirmation that as a Magnet member you are eligible for a 3 year subscription to BRAVA magazine at no additional cost. Please reach out to director@madisonmagnet.org to receive your discount code.

Thank you again for your support of Magnet!

Happy holidays, 

Stefan Fletcher, PhD, JD
Board President
Madison Magnet

What events would you like to see in the remainder of 2016?


Recently, the Madison Magnet board held its summer strategy session, planning out our programming for the rest of 2016, and talking about how we serve our members. To begin, we recapped some of the great activities we were involved with during the first half of the year, including YPWeek 2016, a workout at MadPower training center, and our new Lunch with a Leader events that bring YPs together with some of the most influential thought leaders in the Greater Madison region.

For the remainder of 2016, the Board focused on innovation, both in programming and membership. Good examples can be seen in the upcoming Cheese Curd Crawl, encouraging members to gather and sample curds from around the downtown area, and our monthly MagPro: Professional Development events at Dreambank, an interactive series of workshops covering a wide range of skill-building topics that YPs need to thrive throughout our careers.

We want Magnet to continue to be a premier destination for young professionals to meet and learn from each other as well as give back to the Greater Madison community. As such, the board is establishing specific objectives to grow our membership. Your participation and voice is important, if you have any feedback please email director@madisonmagnet.org!

Thanks for your support and look forward to the rest of 2016!


Stefan Fletcher

Board President

Welcome New Board Members!

Magnet is excited to announce two new Board Members to its Board of Directors. Welcome Alison Helland and Adam Rebhuhn! Alison Helland - Attorney at Murphy Desmond S.C.

Alison_Helland_11302015 (1)

Alison Helland is an attorney at Murphy Desmond S.C. Her law practice focuses on assisting clients with business entity formation, contracts and negotiations, business sales and acquisitions, succession planning and estate planning (including wills, powers of attorney, disability planning, tax planning, marital agreements and probate matters). Additionally, she handles issues relating to federal and state tax, executive compensation and obtaining/maintaining tax-exempt status. Alison is a fluent Spanish speaker and writer, and volunteers her time with a number of community organizations. She is a member of the board of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County (LCC) and a member of the Latino Professionals Association (LPA). As part of her work with the LCC, Alison has taught courses in Spanish to small business owners on topic ranging from taxes to bookkeeping. She has appeared on the Madison Spanish radio station, La Movida, as a guest on the Mundo de Negocios program to discuss business incentives and general tax issues.

Adam Rebhuhn - Chief Technology Officer at Empower


Adam has spent his career merging the gap between evolving business needs and technical solutions.  He came to Madison in 2009, and has worked for area software companies before starting a consulting firm in 2013. He serves as the Chief Technical Officer supporting the business software integration and secure file transfer industries.
He also serves as the Director of IT at the Madison Dental Initiative, which is an area nonprofit, providing dental care to the working poor and homeless in the greater Madison area.
Adam has been a member of Madison Magnet since 2014, and assists the Professional Development team to provide career events to strengthen the community and Magnet members.
In his free time, Adam enjoys biking, woodworking, auto racing at Road America, and spending time at Madison's many festivals and events.

Top 10 Things to See and Do (and Eat) When You Move to Madison

By: Elizabeth Purcell 1. CURDS: Eat ‘em, scarf ‘em, bite ‘em, chow ‘em. It’s not a secret that Wisconsin is known for dairy, and more specifically cheese! Well…what’s better than cheese…duh…fried cheese! Upon moving to Madison, you definitely need to try the city’s selection of curds. They’re gooey, their, they’re crunchy and just plain sinful.

For the cities best curds try:


2. Devils Lake Us Madisonians like to get out into the fresh air and get some exercise once in a while (We gotta burn off those cheese curds somehow!). A great camping and hiking spot is Devils Lake. Only a short drive from downtown, it’s a great place for a day trip to hike, swim and cookout.

Insider Tip – the park can get quite crowded in the summer months, for a more tranquil experience check it out in early spring or fall!


3. Farmers’ Market A quintessential Saturday morning in Madison is spent strolling around the Capitol square procuring some of the city’s freshest produce and baked goods. One of the most popular stops at this seasonal Farmers’ Market along the way is Stella’s, known for the delectably famous Spicy Cheesy Bread; a loaf of warm, gooey heaven. Definitely a MUST!

4. IRONMAN: “Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles – Brag for the rest of your life.” – John Collins, IRONMAN Founder

Madison is home to one of the most exciting and impressive sporting events; IRONMAN. While participating isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s an impressive and inspiring event to watch. Athletes from around the world flock to the city to put their physical and mental strength to the test.

Insider Tip: The start (swim) is one of the most exhilarating parts to witness. Many triathlons have staggered starts, where different age groups start at different times. Well the Madison Ironman is a mass start – that means thousands of athletes begin the race at once. This makes for a pretty crazy scene in the lake!


5. State Capitol Can’t live in the state’s capital city without a visit to the Capitol building! Not only is it a gorgeous building but a trek up to the top floor promises great views of the city. It’s also the only Capitol building to be built on an isthmus! Check out their website for more information on scheduling a tour!

6. Terrace Well you’ve may have noticed by now that there is no shortage of beer in this city! One of the most popular spots to enjoy a cold one is at the Terrace! Known for their iconic colored chairs and tables, the Terrace is a wonderful spot to catch up with friends, listen to some music and watch the sailboats float across the lake.

Insider Tip: The Terrace is currently closed for a ‘facelift’ but should be back in service by the end of May!


7. Go Badgers Living in a Big 10 college town definitely has its perks. Football season is just one of them! Not only will it make you feel like a (college) kid again, but the sense of community and camaraderie on game day is truly unique! And here in Wisconsin, we sure take our tailgating seriously! When kickoff is at 11am it’s just an excuse to have a brat and a beer for breakfast, but hey there’s nothing wrong with that!

Insider Tip: Madison, WI is the only place where a football game is made up of 5 quarters. “Nowhere except Camp Randall Stadium can you find 30,000-40,000 die-hard fans who will stay for as long as 45 to 50 minutes after the game. Fans stay to watch, sing, dance, and enjoy the excitement of a latter-day Wisconsin tradition: the Fifth Quarter” 


8. Olbrich Botanical Gardens Honestly, I’ve only been here once in the 8 years I’ve lived in #MadTown. But in the long winter month’s it’s a great way to escape the cold and pretend you’re in a tropical paradise.

9. Concerts on the Square Starting in July, the Madison Chamber Orchestra hosts concerts on the Capitol lawn. Be sure to get there early and save your picnic spot with a blanket – and don’t forget the wine and cheese!

10. Brewery Tours Well…are you sensing a theme here?! Here in Madison and the surrounding area there is no shortage of micro-breweries to check out. Whether you are into hoppy beers, dark beers, fruity beers, wheat beers…you are sure to find cold pint to quench your thirst.

Some of my favs are:


5 Reasons why Executives Should Build Strong Relationships

By: Kara Stucky

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” -African Proverb


Whether you’re a young entrepreneur launching your first business, an experienced professional working at a large multi-faceted organization, or a student who hasn’t quite stepped out into the working world, one thing holds true: building successful relationships will be the key to your future success. Have you ever wondered, “Why should I network?” Or “What’s the point?” Here are five reasons building lasting relationships is critical to your success.

  • You’ll Outperform Your Peers: According to HBR.org, “Executives who consistently rank in the top 20% of their companies in both performance and well-being have diverse but select networks...made up of high-quality relationships with people who come from several different spheres and from up and down the corporate hierarchy.”
  • A New Perspective: Stepping outside of your current industry and meeting new professionals who are in a different domain or sector than yours will provide you with a different outlook and a fresh perspective. Tom Farley, President of the NYSE advises that “networking is about collecting relationships with interesting or influential people irrespective of the immediate benefit of these relationships.”
  • What Are You Giving Others? Those who get the most out of networking, and who build the strongest business relationships, are those who are generous. Offer others your expertise or help before asking for something for yourself. If you help out others, by offering advice or giving a referral, you’ll be more likely to build long-lasting relationships.
  • Gain Confidence: Sharing your story with others will help you build  confidence in your own brand building.  Once you share your story, try to find common ground and connect with others. Don’t feel intimidated - Farley encourages that “often times people miss opportunities to network because they feel intimidated, particularly if the other person is more senior.”
  • New Opportunities: Fortune.com states that “sometimes it’s individuals outside your immediate network that end up offering the advice you need to propel your career forward.” So remember, that even if you aren’t looking for a new career opportunity today, the investment in others that you are making today, could help you out tomorrow.

Don’t spread yourself too thin when it comes to building these relationships and remember that authenticity is key.

Join us at our next Magnet event for the opportunity to connect with talented, young professionals in the Madison area. Hope to see you there!

Testing Your Luck (at an Upcoming Event)

There is quite a slate of Magnet events in the coming months. Don’t believe me, take a look here.

I would like to take a minute to focus on one coming up on April 19th that is definitely worth attending. The Ho-Chunk Madison Casino will be hosting an exclusive tour and networking event for Magnet members and their guests. If we've spiked your curiosity, you can RSVP for the tour here.

In order to save you from reading through a wall of text as to why you should attend this event, here are the pertinent bullet points:

1. Free to Attend: The event is free for Magnet members (one guest included).

2. Transportation Available: Don’t want to have to drive? Shuttle transportation will be

provided to and from the event for $15 per attendee (pickup/drop-off in front of the Chazen Museum, limited to the first 20 registered attendees).

3. Small-Group Access: The event starts with a small-group guided tour that provides information about the inner-workings of the Ho-Chunk Madison Casino and allows you the opportunity to ask questions about the property, or unique aspects of the gaming industry in general.

4. Networking: A networking reception with Ho-Chunk Madison employees and Magnet attendees will follow the tour.

5. Free Food and Drink: Food and (non-alcoholic) beverages are included at no charge at the networking reception.

6. Free Stuff: Parting gifts including casino play cash for all attendees.

7. Free to Attend: (see bullet point 1).

Do not delay in signing up for this event as space is limited. Not a Magnet member? No problem. You can always find a member to attend with. Or better yet, why not just sign-up for your own membership? Now is as good a time as any. Hope to see you at the Ho-Chunk Madison Casino in April.

By: Knoel Kambak

You’re a Millennial... No Offense

I recently had lunch with two experienced professionals who are leaders in the Madison community. We happened to be discussing generational differences and one of them turned to me and said, “You’re a Millennial, no offense.” I smiled, nodded and said, “None taken!” I’m proud to be a young professional, a Millennial – why would I take offense? A Millennial is what I am!

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of taking offense to being a Millennial. Should I have been offended? I really don’t think so. Being offended by the comment would mean that I believe that I fit the stereotype of my generation. A lazy, entitled, digital addict job-hopper. I’m not saying there aren’t young professionals that have these characteristics, but there are plenty more that break the stereotypical mold.

Millennials should be embraced. Generational differences should be embraced. No one should have to take offense to being who they are (or who others think they are because of their age). When someone pegs you with a millennial myth, challenge them, tell them how you’re different and open their eyes to the great work being done by your, our generation. Never take offense.

If you want to weigh in on this topic, you’re in luck! @YPWeekWI is hosting a Twitter Chat on Thursday, March 17 at 7:30 PM about Millennial Myth Busting – follow along and tell us what you think using #YPWeekChat.

By: Corinn Ploessl

Spring Explodes in March and April for Magnet Members!


There is so much going on in Madison this spring. After the long, messy winter months everyone is waiting for the sun. We all want to break through like the early spring flowers, bursting the thawing soil to enjoy the awaited explosion of life in Madison! If you’re like me, you’re ready to soak up the rays, warm and add some color to your pale, almost translucent skin. Well, here are some great things to do as you awaken from the long winter hibernation:

On Thursday, March 3rd mingle with your Magnet friends and meet some new ones at Hamilton’s on the square from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. Hamilton’s will be closed to the public during our event, so this is a great way to experience all that Hamilton’s has to offer.

On Tuesday, March 8th a few, lucky Magnet members will be energized as they have Lunch with a Leader at the Madison Club: Gary Wolter, Chairman, President and CEO of MG&E.

Then on Wednesday, March 16th many Magnet Members will meet (is that enough M’sfor you?) at Hilldale for either:  A) the Wisconsin Film Festival’s “First Look” event, where attendees upstairs at Sundance Cinemas ($40 ahead and $50 at the door) will enjoy some of the best food and drinks Hilldale has to offer and be the first to get their hands on the Festival Film Guide (before it’s published in Isthmus) and see movie trailers of the 150+ films, and buy Festival tickets before they go on sale to the general public. And B) at a special Meet & Eat for Magnet Members only at Café Hollander.

On Friday, March 18th Magnet Members will take over the MABA Slap Shot Suite to shriek “Sieve!” (enough s’s?) at the MadCap opponent’s goalie, during the Madison Capitals’ game.

On Tuesday, March 22nd Magnet members will try to work off some of the beer and food they’ve consumed all winter at MadPower Training Center in Fitchburg.

And finally, don’t miss the volunteer opportunities, associated parties and the 150+ world-class films showing during the Wisconsin Film Festival! The Festival begins with a huge Opening Night Celebration and film(s) on Thursday, April 14th at the Barrymore Theatre on Atwood Avenue, with an after-party across the street at the Harmony Bar. Then the festival expands to include screens at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, on Friday, April 15th (a day when Madison schools are closed) for the Big Screens, Little Folks children’s series and 3 campus venues (Chazen Museum of Art, Cinematheque-4070 Vilas Hall and the Marquee Theatre in Union South), as well as 3-screens at Sundance Cinema’s in Hilldale!

The whole Wisconsin Film Festival runs from April 14th through the 21st and includes talks by filmmakers and UW-Madison experts on some of the topics of the films and lots and lots of associated parties and events. Altogether, lot’s to do in March and April! So, mark your calendar and don’t be left out.

We hope to see you at all or some of these events! Check out our events page to learn more.

By: Zack Robbins

YPs to Watch: Megan Watt, Founder of Dream Catalyst Labs

Megan photo
Megan photo

As we approach YPWeek, let’s be reminded that our city is full of talented young professionals! To catch up with one of Madison’s own talented YPs, Magnet Board Member, Jess Parker sits down with Megan Watt, Founder of Dream Catalyst Labs, to discuss entrepreneurship in Madison. Megan Watt is a highly sought after Facilitator, Speaker, and Career Coach. She speaks to audiences such as AT&T, American Family Insurance, University of Iowa, WARF, and Alpha Chi Omega, on the power of strengths and the power of connections in the pursuit of one’s dreams. Megan currently serves as the Chief Dream Maker of Dream Catalyst Labs, based in Madison. Before starting her own company she taught Career and Leadership Development at three BigTen universities, and served as the VP of Innovation & Strategy for a local startup. In 2015, she was an Athena Young Professional Awards nominee. Megan is a lover of fun and random facts. A fun fact about her is that she’s ridden the world’s largest skateboard while working for ESPN’s X Games. Megan’s mission is to inspire others to dream big, and to tenaciously pursue those dreams daily.

Learn more about Megan and Dream Catalyst Labs in the interview below.

What is the mission of Dream Catalyst Labs?

The mission of DCL is to empower and inspire individuals and organizations to identify and pursue their dreams through speaking, training, and coaching. We believe that when you have self-confidence, know your purpose, and leverage your strengths, you can achieve your someday goals, positively impact your community, and create lasting change.

How was Dream Catalyst Labs born?

DCL started with family and friends asking for help finding a job, reviewing a resume, or preparing for an upcoming interview. Dream Catalyst Creator, Ilsa May and I both participated in two years of training in Career Advising and teaching at Indiana University's Career Development Center. We realized that it’s not only new professionals who need career advice, but individuals of all ages and we sought a way to formally offer our knowledge and expertise to those in need of help fulfilling their personal, professional, and educational goals. What really motivated us to create and formalize Dream Catalyst Labs were our own career development experiences. Finding a dream job and doing what you love is attainable and we hope to empower and assist people to achieve their dream and/or dream job. We think of DCL as the catalyst to helping people achieve their dreams through speaking, coaching, and training.

What resources in the Madison area have allowed you to embark on this journey as a business owner?Are there any under-utilized services that you feel other YPs should know about?

There are two resources in Madison that have had the greatest impact on me and my journey as a business owner. First is the DreamBank. Personally, I believe it is the greatest thing in Madison and one of the coolest, most inspiring spaces in town (and this includes the Terrace). The DreamBank and one of its staff members, Chris Rudolph have been a part of my journey from higher education, to a local startup, to starting my own company. From the incredible programming and events to the AMAZING people I've met there, the DreamBank has provided me with the tools and skills to go after my dream, but most importantly a community of dreamers that support me.

Second is the UpStart program which is an awesome resource. I cannot say enough good things about that program. And it's all free! If you are a woman or minority who has an idea for a business or is already working on one...You MUST APPLY for UpStart. :)

If you don't fit the criteria for UpStart I recommend the DreamBank, Small Business Development Center, and the Capital Entrepreneurs Resource page.

What are some of your favorite ways to build your network locally?

I participate in an entrepreneur book club through the DreamBank. Additionally, each week I try to make at least one new connection and set one follow-up meeting with a current connection. No matter my schedule I always try to meet as many people as possible, and FOLLOW UP! Also, I'm not afraid to ask for an introduction when needed, and I always try to make introductions for other people. At DCL we feel incredibly grateful that all of our business has come from networking and referrals; we’ve not done any outbound marketing to date.

Where do you see the business in five years and what are your long-term goals for the company?

Our future will be based on the needs of our clientele. As we grow alongside our clients, we want to continuously develop new offerings and expand our team to reach a broader range of clientele. This includes speaking at more conferences, hosting live events (including Brainstorm Gatherings, workshops, and retreats for organizations), creating online courses, and other digital resources.

How did you decide to transition into self-employment and what advice to you have to other young professionals regarding entrepreneurship?

I watched this clip of Oprah at Stanford for the first time mid-December 2014. At the time, I was wrestling with the idea of leaving the startup I was at, and what to do next with my life. I ended up watching the entire interview (see it here) and no joke... I decided then that I was going to go out on my own and start my company full time. Two days later this decision was confirmed when I was given an opportunity to help a friend for two months and earn $1000 (which was enough of a "cushion" that I could justify getting rid of any security and start being 100% responsible for my income). That was my next ‘right’ move. The DreamBank and my amazing, supportive partner/co-founder played a critical role in believing that I could do this full time; they were my dream catalyst. And in all reality, I have wanted to be a speaker since I was 15 years old. It just took a while for me to realize that it didn't have to be a daydream any more, and I could fearlessly chase my dream!

To learn more about Dream Catalyst Labs, visit www.dreamgatalyst.org and stay in the know by signing up for for exclusive updates here.

Magnet: Moving Forward in 2016

By: Stefan Fletcher 2016 promises some major developments for Magnet that will expand the programming, outreach, and services of our organization. Whether it be through our contributions to the Greater Madison community, or through the opportunities for professional and social engagement we provide our members, Magnet is focused on how we can best serve our members and our region.

A few weeks ago, members of the Magnet Board of Directors sat down for our semi-annual retreat. I sincerely appreciate the input of my colleagues on the Board. Their thoughts and ideas are part of why I am so excited for the future direction of Magnet. Here are some of our goals for the coming year:

 Provide more professional development workshops and sessions that enhance or add to the skill sets of Magnet members in their work environment.

 Re-emphasize community involvement programming as a central tenet of our organization and provide members a structured set of opportunities that will contribute to Madison continuing to be a fantastic place to live, learn, and work.

 Continue to diversify social events to appeal to the broad interests of Magnet members.

 Increase member interaction and communication through social media channels to ensure that members are informed on how to get the most out of their memberships.

If you have any other suggestions or thoughts on how we can fulfill our 2016 agenda, please contact me at director@madisonmagnet.org. I am grateful for any feedback you might have.

Get excited. 2016 holds great things in store for Magnet!

Wisconsin’s Best Places to Work for Young Professionals: Calling for 2016 Bubbler Award Nominations


2016 Bubbler Awards Highlights Wisconsin’s Best Places to Work for Young Professionals For the second year, YPWeek recognizes the Wisconsin companies that make it a priority to retain and engage their young talent through a dynamic workplace and Madison Magnet is requesting that young professionals submit their workplace for the 2016 Bubbler Awards.

“We now know that companies across the state are realizing the demand to evolve theiR work places to fit the needs of the young professional workforce,” says Angela Damiani, president of NEWaukee, lead organization of YPWeek. “We’re excited to be able to show that Wisconsin companies are taking the charge on this front and creating an environment that draws young professionals to work and live in this state.”

Nominations for the Bubbler Awards will be accepted through February 26, 2016. The following criteria will be taken into consideration by a juried panel that will evaluate what Millennials look for in an ideal workplace: competitive salary and benefits, opportunity for advancement, work-life balance and employee engagement. 2016’s Bubbler Awards winners will be announced on March 11, 2016.

The Bubbler Awards is an example of how YPWeek Wisconsin highlights the young professional voice. Additionally, the nomination and selection process establish a framework for existing and emerging young professionals throughout the state to collaborate and brand Wisconsin as a workplace destination for Millennials.

The Bubbler Awards Ceremony will take place in Appleton on Saturday, April 23, 2016 as the launch of the fifth annual YPWeek, hosted April 23 - 30, 2016. The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce is a major sponsor of the 2016 Bubbler Awards. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is a major sponsor of the 2016 YPWeek.

To find more information and to nominate a workplace, visit bit.ly/BubblerAward

YPWeek 2016 brings together key leaders in 15 communities, at purposefully chosen locations that integrate the unique cultural assets with meaningful learning or social interaction. The activities engage the millennial workforce in activities and experience that are important to them while educating employers on the important role these functions play in retaining their workforce. YPWeek 2016 includes the following communities: Door County, Fond du Lac, Fox Cities, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Marshfield, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Racine, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids. Visit www.ypweek.com to learn more.

Out with the old, in with the new (A Farewell from outgoing President Corinn Ploessl)

By: Corinn Ploessl Ok, so I’m not “old” per say, but I am heading out…of the presidential role. It’s been an honor to serve as President of Magnet for the past two years. I’ve met TONS of great people, learned a lot about myself as a leader, and experienced many new and exciting things in Madison. I want to thank everyone who has been a member, friend, or partner of Magnet during my reign…I’ll plan to remain on the board for another year, but look forward to focusing my efforts on sustaining and building partnerships with you, our community.

All that said, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce our new executive committee!

Please welcome incoming President, Stefan Fletcher!

Stefan Fletcher is the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Administration at UW System Administration. He is originally from Watford, England and moved to the United States in 2004. Stefan holds both a PhD and a Law Degree from Michigan State University and served as the president of the graduate and professional student government there between 2010 and 2014. He is excited to work with fellow Magnet members to continue to expand the organization’s programming and outreach within the Greater Madison area.

Board Member turned VP, Elizabeth Purcell!

Elizabeth Purcell is a current member of the Magnet Board and will be assuming the role of Board Vice President. She is a Sconnie Native and an alumna of the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Elizabeth works in Marketing for Remington Products, a division of Spectrum Brands. She is also an active member of the Junior League of Madison. Elizabeth enjoys traveling, fitness, cooking and outdoor adventure.

Congratulations to new Secretary, Jess Parker!

Jess Parker is a current member of the Magnet Board and has recently been named as Secretary. A Madison resident for the past 5 years, Jess is originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She holds a Master of Spanish Literature from UW-Madison and is pursuing an MBA at Concordia University. Jess is Head of Recruitment and Business Development at Farmers Insurance in Verona and is passionate about community involvement, also serving as the President of the Verona Young Professionals. And in case you didn’t meet him when he became Treasurer earlier this year...Knoel Kambak!

Knoel Kambak assumed the duties of Treasurer of Magnet in June of 2015. He originally joined Magnet about four years ago after relocating from Dallas, TX. Knoel is currently the audit manager at Meicher CPAs. He also serves on the board of directors of the Institute of Management Accountants – Madison Chapter.

We are also happy to announce the addition of Kara Stucky to Magnet’s board of directors! She is will be a great addition to the leadership team and brings a creative, marketing flair.

Kara Stucky is a Digital Marketing Account Manager at Kennedy Communications, an interactive advertising agency, and works as the liaison between clients and the digital team, managing day-to-day interactive projects and strategy. Prior to being in the advertising world, Kara worked in Finance at AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. and in Operations at Target Corp. When she's not at work, Kara enjoys home remodeling projects, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and hitting the slopes in Colorado. She is excited to join the Magnet Board because she believes in Magnet's mission: community involvement, professional development and getting to know other young professionals in the Madison area.

Gain Professional Experience with Magnet

By: Melissa Johnson We're almost to the new year, and we are already looking to 2016 planning. What are your goals for 2016? Do you want to get more involved?

We'd love to talk to you about joining one of our committees - Marketing, Social, Professional Development, Membership, and Community Involvement. It's your chance to get involved and gain experience!

What is Magnet?

Madison Magnet is a membership-based young professionals networking group in Madison, WI, and we focus on three main pillars: Community Involvement, Professional Development, and Social and Networking. There are committees for each of these pillars that work to create events and membership value to connect, collaborate, and develop the talent in Madison.

What are the committees?

The Social Committee manages social and cultural events for Magnet, including our monthly networking happy hours, annual holiday party and more. The committee is constantly looking for opportunities to bring members and non-members together in new and fun ways. Examples of other events we have organized include a Madison Eats food tour, group workout classes and the annual Magnet golf outing.  Interested in fine tuning your event management skills or just want to help foster our growing sense of community? The Social Committee may be for you. Please contact Jill Shiroma if you are interested. 

The Professional Development Committee is tasked with creating interactive and informative opportunities that are designed to educate and enhance the career goals and skills of Magnet members. Whatever your field or professional interests, you are sure to find events that are appealing and accelerate your professional success. Past events include: No Fear Networking; Productivity Workshop; and Magnetic: Exploring Entrepreneurism. We’d love to hear from you on programming or event ideas so we can continue to provide opportunities that our members want! Please contact Erin West if you are interested. 

The Community Involvement Committee coordinates volunteering and community outreach opportunities for Magnet members and friends. With the busy lives of young professionals, the activities facilitated by this committee are an easy way for get and stay more involved with the wider Madison community, which is near and dear to all of us. In addition to participating in community events, we would encourage you to get involved with the committee which meets monthly, to help plan and coordinate an event for an organization which is important to you. Please contact Zack Robbins if you are interested. 

The Marketing Committee is a group of young professionals that work together to create organization awareness, promote Magnet’s mission and values, and grow the membership base through value-based marketing messages. Each team member has a specific and accountable role such as email manager, social media manager, design lead, content manager, and more. We meet once a month for an hour to brainstorm, strategize, and execute on our campaigns. Please contact Melissa Johnson if you are interested. 

The Membership Committee focuses on all aspects of membership in effort to provide the most value for joining Magnet. We plan and host events to both educate prospective members, and welcome new members to Magnet. We collaborate with the Social Committee to plan exclusive, members-only events to further integrate our membership. Additionally, we work with community partners to secure member benefits. Our aim is to ensure all those who join Magnet are engaged and excited about being a part of our organization. Please contact Elizabeth Purcell if you are interested. We look forward to meeting you, and your contributions to the community. Here's to a great 2016!

Rules of Thumb: Holiday Shopping & Your Career

By: Knoel Kambak It’s December, which means the weather is getting noticeably colder, the daylight hours shorter and there is only a matter of weeks left to get your holiday shopping done. As I sit in my office at work spending countless hours online shopping for gifts for family and friends (note to employer: I am not spending countless hours online shopping for gifts) I realize that many rules of thumb that apply to effective holiday gift shopping also apply to success in one’s professional career.

Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. As much as I want to believe that a $20 appliance can solve dozens of my kitchen quandaries and provide me with a year-round beach-worthy tan, it will likely fail in all respects. I’m sure somewhere along the line you had high hopes for something you bought or received as a gift, only to have it not live up to the manufacturer’s promises. The same thing can happen in your career. Ever sought out a new job before? A job change is ripe for this rule of thumb. Usually new job opportunities are presented in the most positive light, but you need to be realistic as to what the opportunity actually entails.

You need to be skeptical about the details and realistic about your skill set. While the opportunity to become a C-level executive of a company with just a few years of experience under your belt sounds great, the realities of a real C-level position should tip you off that this may be too good to be true.

Seek out feedback. One of the best ways to address the problems described in the previous paragraph is to get feedback from others. In regards to shopping for gifts, reading online reviews and asking people you know that have used a certain product before helps prevent disappointment after a purchase is made. In your career, you can help prevent a poorly thought out job change through seeking out information from others (e.g. past and present employees of the prospective employer.)

There are also many aspects of your job performance you can improve and develop through feedback. Getting feedback on your work is typically part of your company’s processes (e.g. performance review from a supervisor) but getting feedback from clients and professional acquaintances should also be sought out, especially for feedback on presentations and “soft skills.” Many times the feedback you get from those outside of your company is different, and more useful, than internally. Plus it never hurts to have a wide variety of people providing opinions.

Think of others. In deciding on gifts for others, it is difficult to fully remove one’s personal preferences from the final decision. As much as we consciously try to pick gifts that someone else will like, the decision process is filtered through our own set of values and preferences, whether consciously or not. One way to overcome this is become a good observer. Pay attention to what the person you are buying a gift for talks about and how they talk about different items. You can employ the point from the last paragraph and ask some of the person’s friends what he or she might want as a gift based on what they have observed. Or you just cut to the chase, and ask that person what they would want as a gift.

Professionally, you should always consider your audience. Even if you just turn out sheets of numbers all day, someone else is relying on those sheets of numbers and you should try to include only the information that is important to the person(s) relying on it (and omit the information that is superfluous.)

Tell us about your 2015 Magnet experience!

A special note from President Corinn Ploessl
Magnet has had a great year as an organization and I want to personally thank all of our members & friends for their commitment to growing with us! As the end of 2015 approaches, it's a great time to take a moment to reflect on the opportunities that Magnet helped connect you to. Is there an event you think we absolutely need to repeat? Or possibly something you would like to see us plan for next year? Now's the time to make your voice heard!
We're always looking for ways to improve our organization and would love your feedback. Take our survey to let us know if you would recommend Magnet to a friend!
Each respondent will automatically be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card!
Thank you again to our members for supporting Magnet by attending events, submitting your ideas, and being part of our community. You are always our first priority and we hope you've enjoyed connecting & collaborating with us in 2015!

5 Reasons to attend our Holiday party

If you haven’t already registered, there is still time! Here are five awesome reasons why you won’t want to miss this party:

  • Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with Madison’s finest young professionals
  • Get your groove on with The Beat Chefs
  • Find your inner kidult while playing at the exhibits in the Madison Children’s Museum (all of the exhibits will be open during the party)
  • Eat appetizers and enjoy a free drink ticket
  • Watch the Packers beat the Lions with old and new friends

 Register HERE!

What to Wear: Magnet's Night at the Cinema Holiday Party

By: Jennifer Walejko Madison Magnet’s annual holiday party is this week, and it’s time to start planning your outfit. Night at the Cinema will be a semiformal event so dress in your holiday best. Come clad as your favorite character from any holiday movie and be creative! The best-dressed guy and gal will win prizes. Below are a few ideas from some of the most famous holiday movies.

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Christmas Vacation: There are costume options for both guys and girls inspired by the Griswold family.And if you wanted to break out your holiday dickie, come dressed as Cousin Eddie.





It’s a Wonderful Life The costumes from this heartwarming holiday classic will let you go back to the 1940s. Men can dress as George Bailey in a loosely fitted suit and women as Mary Hatch in a cocktail dress that is fitted at the waist.


Home Alone:

If you’re feeling naughty this holiday season, dress as the burglars Harry and Marv from Home Alone.



Elf: Everyone’s favorite holiday movie can inspire you to bring out your inner elf. If you happen to have your elf costume handy, dress as Buddy the Elf or Jovie in her work attire.

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