A Champion for Milwaukee
What provided a $5.4 billion boost to the greater Milwaukee area economy last year and supported more than 51,000 jobs?
The answer, of course, is tourism. However, if you ask who brought the tourists in, your answer would have to include Alverno alumna Megan Husband ’08.
Husband, who majored in Professional Communication at Alverno, is a convention sales manager for VISIT Milwaukee. The short story is that she helps the city land lucrative conferences and conventions, which fill hotels and bring in thousands of visitors to restaurants, museums and other attractions.
“I love what I do. No two days are alike,” says Husband who, for the past decade, has specifically focused on hosting religious groups, hobbyists, national associations and corporations in the greater Milwaukee area.
The longer story is the amount of work and time that Husband, in collaboration with colleagues at VISIT Milwaukee and around the city, logs in order to land those deals, which can be years in the making.
Take the 68th Women’s International Convention and Crusade, held in Milwaukee earlier this year. Approximately 10,000 women from a predominantly African-American congregation came to Milwaukee for their annual weeklong gathering. The event is estimated to have had a $12.5 million impact on the city.
“That took years of networking, multiple proposals and bids. That was a huge win for everyone involved,” says Husband, naming the conference as one of her most proud professional achievements.
The years of work include putting together a bid on behalf of the entire city. The bid must address the conference venue location, special rates that hotels can offer, the transportation options available, the amenities the city offers a large group, and how the city as a whole can cater to a group of hundreds or thousands of people. Negotiations involve countless moving parts and are subject to constant revision, and the result must be the very best that the city can do. Sound familiar?
“The bid process reminds me of how at Alverno, you can’t just submit a paper and be done. You have to revise it and make it the absolute best paper that you can,” she says. “That’s exactly how it is in the real world. When I submit a bid on behalf of the city, we have to put the city’s best foot forward.”
Submitting the bid isn’t the end, however. The next step is for the conference host to choose finalist cities, which then host site visits. For two to three days, Husband becomes the organization’s tour guide, charged with showing, not just telling, what makes Milwaukee stand out.
“Most people have absolutely no idea what Milwaukee has to offer,” she says. Alternatively, some out-of-towners may have an outdated memory or antiquated view of the city.
While Milwaukee and its residents grapple with economic and social challenges, Husband says visitors immediately notice the city’s vitality and witness the passion of the people and organizations working every day to make it a better place.
“Convention attendees are absolutely blown away,” says Husband. “Milwaukee is easily accessible, architecturally beautiful and vibrant. There is a real energy and passion for our city here. We’re not afraid to welcome people of all backgrounds and to be inclusive. Milwaukee is definitely a hidden gem that we want everyone to experience!”