St- Vincent de Paul

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…


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!


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

Event Rewind: "We Never Go Out of Style"

In May, Magnet partnered with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to host "We Never Go Out of Style" at their newly renovated, doubled-in-size Odana Road store. Their seven area thrift stores provide approximately half of the funding needed to support a large food pantry, charitable pharmacy, housing programs and other charitable efforts in the Madison community. Ralph Middlecamp, Chief Executive Officer with more than 25 years of SVdP experience, discussed the biggest lessons he learned while directing one of Madison’s largest charitable organizations. clothes



The event started with an informal store tour. Members learned about sales techniques, store design, pricing strategy and recycling efforts. The company adjacent to the store recently went out of business, and after selling their property to SVdP, the charitable organization doubled the size of the store, making for a more open and attractive customer buying environment.

The event continued with dinner off the grill: hamburgers/veggie burgers accompanied by chips, fruit, drinks and some addictive chocolate chip cookies. Members enjoyed the meal while chatting with Ralph and listening to him describe five principles that assisted him as he grew from volunteer to CEO of the organization.

First, Middlecamp shared that believing in your own career and your own work is important. You should feel that whatever product you are creating, sharing or selling is worth your time and energy to promote to others. Second, surrounding yourself with positive people and people smarter than you will help both you and your organization to grow. While some people are threatened by having those more intelligent or experienced working for them, Middlecamp noted that if he had been too insecure to hire Shopko’s former senior vice-president as SVdP’s former Director of Retail Operations (recently retired,) the organization’s stores would not be where they are today.

Middlecamp’s final three recommendations centered around focus and relationships with others. Do not let personal excuses control the organization’s destiny; instead, provide opportunities for employees to own their work and hold them (and yourself) accountable. Pick your battles. Know which principles and facets of the organization are most important and protect those, but be willing to bend at points that are less crucial when necessary. Finally, cooperation and collaboration with others leads to a better community result and ultimately a stronger organizational result.

The event finished with the Style Wars. Attendees had a limited amount of time to scour the store for clothing and accessories to complete a professional-style outfit. The winning ensemble sported a spring flair. Gift cards to an SVdP store and a box of cookies served as prizes.