Madison

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!

Quarterly Catch Up: Get up to Date on our Recent Events!

By: Corinn Ploessl We hope you were able to network with us at one of our many events these past few months, BUT on the off-chance you didn’t make it, here’s what you missed…

Social

Our networking, happy hours are always the highlight as we begin a new month. This past quarter we cheered on the Madison Mallards at our August social in the Duck Blind, we celebrated the end of summer at The Elks Lodge, and finally, sampled some German beer during Oktoberfest at Freiburg Gastropub – a new Monroe Street hot-spot! We hosted three additional events in October that kept our social calendars booked! We took a yellow school bus out to Botham Vineyards for a private tour & tasting. We worked off the wine and appetizers the following week during Sweatworking at Cyc Fitness. And finally, we encountered some mischief while trekking through the haunted forest at Schuster’s Playtime Farm.

Another great members-only social event emerged this quarter – the Meet & Eat! Every other month, Magnet will host a dinner at a local restaurant where members can meet up for dinner, drinks and casual conversation.

Community Involvement Tackling a tough topic in this quarter’s community involvement series, we aimed to shed some light on the issue of poverty in the Madison community. St. Vincent de Paul of Madison provided insight into the challenges faced by members of our community on a daily basis.

Professional Development

We explored entrepreneurism at our “Magnetic” event during Forward Fest in August. We heard from local entrepreneurs (Justin Beck, Per Blue; Scott Resnick, Starting Block Madison; & Laura Gallagher, Creative Company) about their journey, their ups & downs, and received advice on our own start-up ideas.

You’ve all heard that LinkedIn can be a great tool for YPs, but do you know how to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile?? Thanks to Brenda Bernstein’s presentation at our October event, we do! Nearly 200 of us packed into a lecture hall at the UW’s Psychology Building. Brenda gave us strategies for standing out among the LinkedIn crowd and how to add personality to our profiles. A special thanks to UW-Madison Graduate School for co-sponsoring the workshop!

Lastly, our October book review taught us, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Thank you to member, Brian Wulff for leading this discussion!

Extras

We’ve drummed up some really cool partnerships this quarter with some of Madison’s best- known cultural organizations.

1. Overture Center of the Arts – Their new series, Arts Connect YP includes pre- and post-show parties designed for young professionals. Each is a specially planned themed-party with signature cocktails, appetizers and fun activities to go with each performance. The best part? It’s only $15 to attend! Keep an eye on our calendar for these not-to-miss events!

2. Madison Symphony Orchestra – A long-standing collaboration was refreshed this quarter with MSO and Club 201. Young professionals gather for amazing classical music in Overture Hall followed by exclusive after-hours parties at the Overture Center's Promenade Lounge (word on the street is there are free appetizers and 1 drink ticket included!). Fun, friendship, and networking combine for this amazing event. Again, stay tuned to our event calendar for more info!

Coming up…

  • New Member Coffee | November 17 from 7:30-8:30 AM @ Panera Bread on University Avenue
  • Volunteer Project: MMoCA Holiday Art Fair | November 20 from 4:30-7:15 PM @ MMoCA
  • Magnet’s Annual Holiday Party: Night at the Cinema | December 3 from 7:00-10:00PM @
  • Madison Children’s Museum

Gobble, Gobble – 3 Thanksgiving Tips for YPs

By: Stefan Fletcher Thanksgiving. A time for family, food, and frivolous, knee-jerk acquisitions at your favorite retail outlets. Sounds pleasant, right? Amongst all the festivities, there do lie some potential pitfalls that can trouble your favorite Turkey-filled (or Tofurky for those so disposed) holiday. Below, find three tips for enhancing the Thanksgiving experience for you and, in all likelihood, those around you as well.

1. Preparation

Perhaps the most important tip. Do not, under any circumstances, show up to the Thanksgiving weekend unprepared. If you are responsible for making a part of the meal, try not to leave the construction of your famous green bean casserole until you’re barreling out of the door to your parents’ house with a 75% higher chance said casserole will end up on your driveway instead of the dining room table. This also goes for shopping over the holiday weekend. Check out sites like blackfriday.com or bfads.net before you enter the battle royale known as Black Friday. It will save you time and a lot of energy knowing what’s out there and, well, what isn’t.

2. Moderation

Notwithstanding my last blog post for Magnet may about it being OK to indulge in food, there is something to be said for having some self-control around the stuffing. The average American consumes 4,500 calories for their Thanksgiving meal. Stuffing, turkeys, yams, and whatever that odd quasi-fluorescent marshmallow “salad” some of you have been passing around the table for years all contribute to the potential for a consumption malfunction. Now, for some this is acceptable and just a part of the day. However, for those who are concerned about eating the equivalent of seven Whoppers in one sitting, some advice: Be mindful of portion sizes by using smaller dinner plates, choose lighter fare for desert, and steam your veggies without the cream that typically might be lathered on top of them. Another option might be to get the family moving after your big meal rather than lulling into the usual food-induced nap which begins about 30 minutes after heading to Turkey- town.

3. Patience

You might be one of the 25 million plus people who will be flying home this holiday season or one of the many more who will be using land-based transport to get where you need to go. If so, you may want to pack some patience along with your toothbrush and favorite novel or electronic device. Long lines at the airport, backups on the highway, or simply hearing Uncle Jim talk about his misspent youth for the 10th straight Thanksgiving all might leave you more irritable than your usual merry self. To manage this, bring along a distraction for your travels or, if engaged in tedious conversation, try to remember that in about 40 years you might be in need of an enthralled audience to talk about the ‘good old times’ once or twice a year. Overall, remember to enjoy time with family, friends, and football this Thanksgiving and resist the temptation to escape the kitchen area like it was Alcatraz when the call goes out to pitch-in with washing the dishes after the meal!

CEO Spotlight: Kelly Ehlers of Ideas that Evoke

Evoke-Graphic-3.png

Madison Magnet Board member and aspiring social media nerd, Jess Parker, catches up with Kelly Ehlers, Founder and CEO of Madison-based social media marketing agency, Ideas That Evoke. I first met Kelly at an Entrepreneurship lunch series hosted by the UW-Madison School of Business.

I was immediately drawn to the story of her start-up as well as her down-to-earth and extremely generous spirit. Kelly’s story is an inspiring example of a young entrepreneur using skills built during employment experiences to launch a successful business in one’s field of expertise. Here are the highlights of our chat!

Kelly Ehlers

 

Kelly, how would you describe Ideas that Evoke and what you do?

At Ideas That Evoke – we are an agency that solves business challenges through social media. We are today – and have been since day one – intentionally niche in our services. This niche has served us very well. We have a great deal of case studies behind us including experiences with Fortune 50 brands and entrepreneurial businesses.

 Tell me a bit about how you made the transition from the corporate world into business ownership:

I always knew I wanted to own my own agency from my first position post college. One thing I’m glad I didn’t do was jump in to that dream too soon. I paid my dues – I learned from a variety of different people and took all of those learnings with me. I’ve applied the good ones and ditched the not-so-good traits of leaders I’ve previously worked with.

Did you have any fears or anxieties about making this transition?

Of course, it was incredibly scary! I was 5 months pregnant when I started Evoke. My husband and I decided to give me one year to see if I could ‘make it.’ Oh – and have our first child in that time, too. One could call it crazy, but…here I am. I bet on myself, but it was the best bet I could have ever made. Was it incredibly difficulty? Yes. Were there times I thought I should just quit? No. I knew I could do it.

Evoke Graphic 1

What was your biggest struggle in the first year as CEO of Evoke?

Juggling being a soon to be mom and a new business owner. It’s likely hard to go in to business with someone who is five months pregnant…but turns out, I’m pretty persuasive.

Is there anything that you know now that you would love to share with your 25- year-old self?

Oh – so much. Be patient. Pay your dues. Trust your instincts.

What advice to you have for balancing work with family life and parenting?

It’s incredibly hard. Don’t ever think that success, or building a company, or raising a family is easy work. Those who tell you it is – are lying (or, let’s face it, have millions of dollars to hire loads of help). I started Evoke when I was 5 months pregnant – I made a choice to go “all in” at that time – I knew there would be sacrifices. My advice would be – strive for balance…cherish the little moments – the little successes and, celebrate the successes.

What's next for Evoke? Where do you see the company in 10 years?

I see us expanding globally – and also in the US in working in niche markets, specifically multi-cultural. I feel the company will be poised for incredible growth – we are early adopters of social innovation and I plan to put that early adoption and learning to work for our current – and yet-to-be-clients!

Evoke Graphic 3

 

What do you love about living and working in Madison?

Madison is amazing. I love the small town / city feel. It’s a beautiful city that is really innovating in the tech space. I’m excited to see how Madison’s business and tech scene continues to grow.

Are there any available positions at Evoke that you would like YPs in Madison to know about? If so, what are you looking for in a candidate?

Yes! We’re always hiring! Honestly the core of what we do is great writing – and a great aesthetic. We’re looking for entry-level talent – and those who have been in PR/Marketing/Social for a few years! Always open to hiring those who fit our culture.

Can you tell us anything that most people don't know about you?

Oh my! Well, because of the markets we’re in – beauty/luxury/cosmetics brands – people often find it surprising that I grew up on a farm in Iowa. Not sure how interesting that is – but I could recite the 4H pledge if need be… ha ha.

 Keep an eye out for big things to come from Ideas that Evoke. Evoke is not just activenin their business, but also in the community. Kelly and her team have been spotted volunteering at Ronald McDonald House and also helped to make June 30th the official Social Media Day in Madison. Don’t forget to visit their social media accounts for clever and informative content that will brighten your day and just might ‘up’ your social media game!

 

Eating around Downtown Madison in 180 days (or 180 hours if you’re hungrier)

By: Stefan Fletcher “Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

                                                                                                                                    ~ Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s quote is probably averse to the more health-conscious of you but would accurately describe my plan of attack when it comes to food. Since I arrived in Madison earlier this year, I’ve had the pleasure of eating numerous culinary delicacies around town, namely out of necessity due to my struggles with cooking food more complex than scrambled eggs and toast (Impressive, I know.)

Below are my top five eateries around town for YPs to indulge in with partners, friends, and other random individuals should that should appeal to you:

  • L ’Etoile

A staple eaterie by the capital square for big spenders and those with a penchant for fine dining. If you’re looking to close an important business deal over dinner or just have a hankering to look at the capital while enjoying your halibut, this is the place for you. The new restaurant Estrellon, also run by executive chef Tory Miller, is another good pick if you prefer a broader range of pricing, plate sizes, and desert (The Basque Cake is an absolute showstopper - they should be selling this stuff commercially)

  • Pig in a Fur Coat

Small plates and sharing?

Typically I would rather eat my napkin before sharing a bit of steak with anyone, but this trend in dining has become inordinately popular around the country and Pig in a Fur Coat does it very well indeed. My mum came here a few weeks ago from the UK and declared the duck fat fries, the best chips she’s ever eaten, which is saying something hailing from a country whose cuisine is often boiled down to the omnipresent fish and chips.

  • Sardine

While dinner is good, brunch at Sardines is absolutely brilliant. Look out over Lake Monona while enjoying Belgian Waffles and a Mimosa may make you think you’re in Brussels itself (until you see someone ice fishing). Service is prompt and polite and the half-priced oysters during the cleverly titled ‘Oyster Happy Hour’ are definitely worth checking out after work.

  • Tempest

Speaking of seafood, there’s probably no better place in Madison I’ve been to than Tempest. The fish is fresh, the cocktails are solid and the live music on a Friday and Saturday is presented in front of a tastefully decorated sea shell. Get a lobster roll for an affordable, filling take on a New England classic.

  • Tornado Steakhouse

One of the first places I ate in Madison is still one of my favorites. Old-school supper club by evening, trendy downstairs bar by night, late night food on the bar menu is among the best in the city, with the steak sandwich a great midnight snack. A good choice for those of you looking for either a fantastic ‘classy date’ restaurant or, like me, the rare eatery that offers Yorkshire Puddings.

This is just a small sampling of the sumptuous scofferies around Madison, a city full of fresh ingredients and new eating experiences. Feel free to judge my choices and my dietary plan, or lack thereof, accordingly.

So, go out there and enjoy while keeping in mind this important piece of advice:

Everything in moderation, including moderation.” ~Julia Childs

Meet a Member: Barret Van Sicklen

barretName: Barret Van Sicklen

Years in Magnet: (Not sure  how long I have been a member – I know it has been off and on for a long time)

Position: Board Member

 

1. What is your favorite thing about being part of Magnet?

Magnet is great because it brings together like-minded young professionals to connect and collaborate.  I truly believe that Magnet helps make Madison a better place to live -- and we have fun doing it!

2. What do you as a career? What is your favorite part about it?

I am an attorney at DeWitt Ross & Stevens.  In addition to the people (DeWitt is a fantastic place to work), I enjoy helping people and/or businesses with their problems.  Because of the type of law I practice – litigation and labor/employment – I typically work with clients that are either in litigation, or on the verge of being in litigation.  That can be stressful; especially for those that have never been involved with court proceedings before.  Therefore, being able to work with them during this stressful time and find solutions to their problems brings me great satisfaction.

3. What do you do when you’re not working or hanging out with other Magnet members?

When not at the office, I love spending time with my wife (and best friend) Kelly, our wild and crazy toddler Owen, and our energetic dog Murphy.  I also enjoy playing/coaching soccer and cheering on the Badger basketball and football teams.

4. Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don’t know.

That I am a reality television junkie.  It is borderline embarrassing; I think I enjoy them because they are typically so stupid that, after a day spent using my brain, I can turn my brain off while watching them.

Also, I was born in San Francisco

5. What is a goal (personal/professional) you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?

Professionally: I think it would be amazing to argue in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Personally: If I am shooting for the moon, I think it would be awesome to purchase a fixer-upper cabin on a lake within driving distance of Madison.

6. Money aside, what is your dream job? 

Professional Traveler.  I looked it up, and apparently this exists -- getting paid to travel!

Help us Avoid the Mid-Year Slump!

By: Corinn Ploessl We’re halfway through 2015 (That flew by, right!?) and Magnet’s Board of Directors and committees are hard at work planning what’s coming next. The first 6 months of this year brought us many successful events: YPWeek Wisconsin, our first book review (and a second, and now a series!,) a Community Connection with Habitat Young Professionals of Madison, a Madison Eats Food Tour and our 9th annual golf outing. We want to keep the momentum going and avoid any break in the awesomeness!

Despite the amazing programs that have come and gone, I know there are still many of you we haven’t connected with yet! We want to see your new faces amongst the familiar ones. Therefore, we want to take a moment to ask you all: Is there something you want to see Magnet host, a speaker you’re dying to hear from, a skill you’d like to learn more about, or a new venue you’re dying to get to? We want to hear from you! We always appreciate it when our members get involved and make suggestions. We want you to own your membership – you get out of Magnet what you put into it.

Tell us what you want to see happen in the second half of 2015 by emailing info@madisonmagnet.org. We’re happy to hear from you and look forward to keeping our events fresh and innovative!