Madison Magnet

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!

devilslake

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!

ironman

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!

terrace

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” 

Badgers

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

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!

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!

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.

chrstmasvaca2 christmasvaca

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.

wonderfullife

Home Alone:

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

homealone

 

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.

elf1(1) elf2

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!

Think Differently: Lessons from YPSummit 2015

By: Corinn Ploessl VP, Dan Merfeld and I attended NEWaukee’s YPSummit on November 5-6. We were among friends at the Summit as many representatives were Wisconsin YPs we worked with earlier this year for YPWeek 2015. It was great to be back in the company of energetic and encouraging minds. The Summit was all about thinking outside the box – how can we approach our programming with a new spin?; what benefits will truly excite our members?; how can we create and leverage partnerships in our community?

Here are 3 lessons I learned at this year’s YPSummit:

1. Don’t be afraid to take a personal interest and turn it into an event, you may find that many others enjoy the same, weird things as you. Our friend from Appleton’s Pulse Young Professionals Network took her love of thrift store hunting and open market shopping and turned it into something called, The ARTery. She had several hundred people explore the goods at her inaugural event and has since hosted it twice more, expanding the number of artists and attendees each time.

2. Titles are everything

Prime example: NEWaukee hosts a Naked Ballet, no the dancers are not naked, but I bet that was your first thought. The ballet is “naked” because it is a stripped-down performance in an unassuming venue. No tickets, no seats, no stage – just a beautiful display of the combination of art and music.

3. Engage YPs through experience

This one may be obvious to some, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone put it in the terms I heard at the Summit. If you think about our generation, we ignore more traditional media – newspapers, TV/radio ads, print ads, heck, even email at this point! So, how do you engage a generation that ignores many of the messages that surround us? The answer is to give us an experience. The challenge is getting us to attend, but once we are at an event, the experience will sell itself. The experience is what will keep us coming back.

I’m happy to say that our state, our cheese & beer loving state, is leading the charge for America’s next generation of leaders. Being in a room with these dynamic YPs from all corners of Wisconsin was inspiring and I, we, Magnet are looking forward to sharing and implementing what we learned.

CEO Spotlight: Kelly Ehlers of Ideas that Evoke

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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.

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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!

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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

Board Games for Grown Ups

By: Brad Grzesiak

In addition to "reading for leisure," one of the activities I rediscovered after college was playing board games with friends. No, I don't mean Monopoly or Candy Land... there exists a whole swath of board games intended for the adult mind, which is more analytical than that of our youths and has a distinctly different capacity for enjoyment. Whereas our 8-year-old minds might have been completely satisfied with the "tactics" of the card game War, our more mature brains often crave more. What follows is a list of games I've found to appeal to a wide array of individuals:

Settlers of Catan

Quite possibly the most famous adult game in the last decade, Settlers of Catan has, by far, been the most successful of the types of games I'll cover. It's made such a name for itself that The Wall Street Journal covered how Green Bay Packer starting tackle, David Bakhtiari, got a good chunk of the team hooked. While it definitely encourages strategic play, it also requires a bit of luck and diplomacy. In a sense, it's a bit like Monopoly, except for how a game of Catan always feels like it's progressing rather than stagnating (games last 45-90 minutes)... oh, and the players usually don't end up hating each other by the end. It's won so many awards, I won't bother listing them here. "Settlers" requires at least 3 players, which makes it a great casual double-date activity, especially when accompanied by a bottle of wine or two!

Carcassonne

Named after a beautiful region in south France, Carcassonne features a gameplay-surface-building aspect similar to dominos while forcing players to manage the scarcity of their point-earning game pieces, affectionately called "meeples." There are four ways to earn points in the game, and three of them offer opportunities for opponents to swoop in and split or even steal points away. The game typically ends after 30 minutes after all the tiles, which are placed once per turn, are exhausted. Make sure to play on a big smooth table... the board can dynamically expand in any direction.

Jaipur

This 2-person-only card game seems straightforward, but it's balanced well enough that no one strategy can effectively always win. The basic idea of jaipur is to take turns either building your hand or laying down cards to earn points. The beginner's instinct is to hoard cards until a big play can be made, but the rules reward those who play early at the expense of their opponent. I pride myself as being a reasonably good game player, yet this is just one of those games I simply cannot "figure out." That makes it great for anyone feeling tentative about their abilities. An added bonus is that games are played best-of-three, so falling way behind in one game still affords you the opportunity to win overall.

Ticket to Ride

Who doesn't wanna pretend to be Cornelius Vanderbilt? Oh, um... never mind. Bad question. Ticket to Ride lets you compete against your friends to be the biggest railroad magnate in the US (or Germany, or Switzerland, or the Nordic countries, or... well, there are a bunch of expansions available). Players randomly select "tickets" that represent city-to-city routes that they must complete during the game. The larger the distance between cities, the more points you earn. Watch out, though. If you're too ambitious and don't complete your routes by the end of the game, you actually get penalized that number of points, reminiscent of those horrible standardized tests of high school.

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!

Meet a Member: Brad Grzesiak

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Name: Brad Grzesiak

Years in Magnet: Gosh, I dunno. I joined when Rebecca was still Executive Director. So that's like 8 years or so?

Position: Board Member

 

What prompted you to join Magnet? I originally joined Magnet a couple years out of college: I went to UW–Madison and, after graduation, I saw way too many of my friends find jobs or grad school in faraway places. After a couple years of hanging out with mostly friends from work, I wanted to expand my social circle outside of only engineers. I found Magnet and joined after going to just one happy hour. Almost immediately after joining, I found myself volunteering on the Community Involvement Committee, and I've been hooked ever since.

What do you as a career? What is your favorite part about it? I'm CEO of a software development consultancy. I absolutely love empowering my employees learn and create new things. We even set aside 8 hours each week to focus on professional development. I'm thrilled we are able to stick to our vision of sharing joy and success in our craft.

What do you do when you’re not working or hanging out with other Magnet members? I've been playing ultimate frisbee for about 8 years now, and I absolutely love it! While I typically claim "it's stress-relieving exercise," the truth is that I just really enjoy playing an active sport full of such friendly people. If you haven't played, there are typically men's, women's, and coed leagues available in the spring, summer, and fall.

Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don’t know. In college, I experienced about 12 minutes (in 25 second chunks) of zero gravity aboard NASA's Vomit Comet... er, "Weightless Wonder." I was on a team project that developed a robot designed to navigate the space station. And yes, I would totally do it again.

What achievement are you most proud of? As co-founder of a small company, I'm most proud of the sponsorship we've been able to give to programs aimed at the underprivileged, like Rails Girls Summer of Code and YWeb Career Academy. I'm even more excited about the bigger impacts we can make in the future.

Money aside, what is your dream job?  Prior to my current career, I thought I had already found my dream job. When combined with what I do now, that makes 2 dream jobs already, so I'm not one to assume that there's One True Job out there for me. That said, I *have* legitimately applied to be an astronaut before.

Quarterly Catch-Up

By: Corinn Ploessl Do you have some serious FOMO* when you can’t make it to a Magnet event? Here’s what you missed out on these last few months.

Social

Our social game was strong this past quarter. We mixed and mingled with members & friends at our monthly happy hours. We sampled different wines at Fracesca’s Al Lago, toured and enjoyed music in Capital Brewery's beer garden, and finally, took in views of Lake Mendota and a gorgeous sunset at The Boathouse at the Edgewater.

A few members and friends played hooky the Friday before Memorial Day weekend with a Madison Eats Food Tour. Otehlia Cassidy led us on a lunch tour that included 3 stops around Capital Square.

In June, we held our 9th Annual Golf Outing at Pleasant View Golf Course in Middleton. Over 50 golfers hit the links – 18 holes of golf, putting with hockey sticks, stopping for selfies and cooling down with refreshing beer from Wisconsin Brewing Company. After play, golfers and friends enjoyed the 19th Hole Social at the Clubhouse.

Community Involvement

We channeled T. Swift in May with our “We Never Go Out of Style” event at the new St. Vincent de Paul store on Odana Road. CEO Ralph Middlecamp joined us for a cookout and discussed what he’s learned during his time leading a large, Madison NPO. We also had an all-out Style War – mad-rushing the store to pick out items that would create professional looks for YPs.

Who cut the cheese? We did! At Second Harvest Foodbank, our group of volunteers sort, cut, and packaged LOTS of cheese to prepare a shipment for delivery to local pantries.

Professional Development

We took the fear out of networking at our May Skill Building + Speed Networking session held at the Madison Club. We heard from experienced entrepreneur, Scott Kohl as he shared networking tactics and strategies for young professionals. Then we put these new strategies to the test during speed networking. Discussion ensued and lots of businesses cards were traded.

At our two book reviews, we learned about the advantages of being happy and how to gamestorm. Thank you to members, Scott Jaworski (The Happiness Advantage), and Jessica Parker & Erin West (Gamestorming) for leading these sessions!

Extras

We welcomed 4 new board members!

  • Stefan Fletcher, UW System
  • Knoel Kamback, Meicher CPAs (Treasurer)
  • Jessica Parker, Farmers Insurance
  • Zack Robbins, UW Madison Arts Institute

We’re excited to have these new faces on the board! They each bring a fresh perspective and have great ideas for improving benefits for our members and creating new events!

Coming up…

New Member Coffee | August 18 from 7:30-8:30 AM @ Panera Bread on University Avenue

Magnetic: Exploring Entrepreneurism | August 26 from 7:00-9:00 PM @ Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (part of Forward Fest)

Are you a new UW grad or law school student?

Catch us at your resource fairs to learn more about our student memberships! We’re also hosting a social with the UW on Friday evening – hope to see you there!

New Grad Student Welcome Resource Fair | August 26 from 11:00 AM -1:30 PM @ Union South

School of Law Orientation Fair | August 28 from 1:00-3:00 PM @ UW Law School Building

New Graduate Student Social | August 28 from 4:00-6:00 PM @ Brocach on the Square

 

* FOMO = fear of missing out…come on, YOUNG professionals!

RECAP: Gamestorming Book Review

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On Tuesday July 28, Magnet members Erin West and Jess Parker hosted Magnet’s third Book Review featuring Dave Gray’s Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers.  The Gamestorming book is a collection of games for incorporation into your meetings, work flow or professional life. The games help shift your focus from methodical or prescriptive work, into innovative and creative work. In our post-industrial economy, many jobs now focus more on what the Gamestorming author calls “knowledge work” that require workers to innovate or create something “new” or not seen before. For those of us who don’t consider ourselves particularly creative, innovation can be daunting. But the game based methods of Gamestorming help set the framework for exploration of new ideas. At Magnet’s review of Gamestorming, we introduced the premise of game based work, and then the group engaged in several games to illustrate the techniques and benefits. We concluded the review with a take-away game that focused on how to create and perfect an “elevator pitch.” For those of you who couldn’t attend the book review—you don’t have to miss out on all the fun!  Below are the instructions on how to play the Elevator Pitch game from Gamestorming. You can play the game solo, or with some colleagues and friends to gain additional input. Check out some of the other games at the Gamestorming website:  www.gamestorming.com and stay tuned for Magnet’s next Book Review—where we read and review professional and career development books for you busy young professionals!

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The Elevator Pitch

From www.gamestorming.com

Object of Play: What has been a time-proven exercise in product development applies equally well in developing any  concept: writing the elevator pitch. Whether developing a service, a company-wide initiative, or just a good idea that merits spreading, a group will benefit from collaborating on what is- and isn’t– in the pitch.

Often this is the hardest thing to do in developing a new idea.  An elevator pitch should be short and compelling description of the problem you’re solving, who you solve it for, and one key benefit that distinguishes it from its competitors. It must be unique, believable and important. The better and bigger the idea, the harder the pitch is to write.

Number of Players: Works as well individually as with a small working group

Duration of Play: Long- save at least 90 minutes for the entire exercise, and consider a short break after the initial idea generation is complete, before prioritizing and shaping the pitch itself. Small working groups will have an easier time coming to a final pitch; in some cases it may be necessary to assign one person follow-up accountability for the final wording after the large decisions have been made in the exercise.

gamestorming

Going through the exercise involves both a generating and forming phase. To setup the generating phase, write these questions in sequence on flipcharts:

  1. Who is the target customer?
  2. What is the customer need?
  3. What is the product name?
  4. What is its market category?
  5. What is its key benefit?
  6. Who or what is the competition?
  7. What is the product’s unique differentiator?

These will become the elements of the pitch. They are in a sequence that follows the formula: For (target customer) who has (customer need), (product name) is a (market category) that (one key benefit). Unlike (competition), the product (unique differentiator).

To finish the setup, explain the elements and their connection to each other.

gamestorming2

The target customer and customer need are deceptively simple- any relatively good idea or product will likely have many potential customers and address a greater number of needs. In the generative phase, all of these are welcome ideas.

It is helpful to fix the product name in advance—this will help contain the scope of the conversation and focus the participants on “what” the pitch is about. It is not outside the realm of possibility, however, that there will be useful ideas generated in the course of exercise that relate to the product name, so it may be left open to interpretation.

The market category should be an easily understood description of the type of idea or product. It may sound like “employee portal” or “training program” or “peer-to-peer community.” The category gives an important frame of reference for the target customer, from which they will base comparisons and perceive value.

The key benefit will be one of the hardest areas for the group to shape in the final pitch. This is the single most compelling reason a target customer would buy into the idea. In an elevator pitch, there is no time to confuse the matter with multiple benefits- there can only be one memorable reason “why to buy.” However, in the generative phase, all ideas are welcome.

The competition and unique differentiator put the final punctuation on the pitch. Who or what will the target customer compare this idea to, and what’s unique to this idea? In some cases, the competition may literally be another firm or product. In other cases, it may be “the existing training program” or “the last time we tried a big change initiative.” The unique differentiator should be just that- unique to this idea or approach, in a way that distinguishes it in comparisons to the competition.

Step One: The Generating Phase

Once the elements are understood, participants brainstorm ideas on sticky notes that fit under each of the headers. At first, they should generate freely, without discussion or analysis, any ideas that fit into any of the categories. Using the Post-up technique, participants put their notes onto the flipcharts and share their ideas.

Next, the group may discuss areas where they have the most trouble on their current pitch. Do we know enough about the competition to claim a unique differentiator? Do we agree on a target customer? Is our market category defined, or are we trying to define something new? Where do we need to focus?

Before stepping into the formative phase, the group may use dot voting, affinity mapping or other method to prioritize and cull their ideas in each category.

Step Two: The Forming Phase

Following a discussion and reflection on the possible elements of a pitch, the group then has the task of “trying out” some possibilities.

This may be done by breaking into small groups, pairs, or as individuals, depending on the size of the larger group. Each given the task of writing out an elevator pitch, based on the ideas on the flipcharts.

After a set amount of time (15 minutes may be sufficient) the groups then reconvene and present their draft versions of the pitch. The group may choose to role play as a target customer while listening to the pitch, and comment or ask questions of the presenters.

The exercise is complete when there is a strong direction among the group on what the pitch should and should not contain. One potential outcome is the crafting of distinct pitches for different target customers; you may direct the groups to focus in this manner during the formative stage.

Strategy:

Don’t aim for final wording with a large group. It’s an achievement if you can get to that level of finish, but it’s not critical and can be shaped after the exercise. What is important is that the group decides on what is and is not a part of the pitch.

Role play is the fastest way to test a pitch. Assuming the role of a customer (or getting some real ones to participate in the exercise) will help filter out the jargon and empty terms that may interfere with a clear pitch. If the pitch is truly believable and compelling, participants should have no problem making it real with customers.