Converge Milwaukee is here.
Converge Milwaukee is here.

Converge Milwaukee launches with collabortive mission, new marketplace

Collaboration, connection and community have never been more important. And, in greater Milwaukee, where we thrive on gathering, caring all with our collective lack of pretense, it’s vital that we converge to move the greater good forward.

I’ve said it forever: A city is only as good as the stories it tells. Tell and shout your Milwaukee story, but anchor it in action, optimism and purpose. So, days after this health crisis hit, as we were all digging in and finding ways to help each other, it was energizing to get a call from Todd McLees and Matt Cordio. Both are not only great human beings but thoughtful, smart big picture thinkers. So, when Todd and Matt connect and convene a group of people, big things emerge – or, in this case, converge.

Today, I'm excited to provide more information on one of Todd and Matt's collaborative ideas: Converge Milwaukee. It's anchored in the resilience of the Milwaukee region and built to last beyond the current crisis.

Converge Milwaukee, the brainchild of a collaborative group of Milwaukee-area leaders and entrepreneurs, believes every crisis brings out our best. That’s why the group banded together to help sustain local Milwaukee area innovators, entrepreneurs and artisans with a new online marketplace for care packages.

"Our mission is simple: to support community efforts to help individuals, families and businesses solve their grand challenges," said McLees, principal at Pendio Group, a Milwaukee-based management consulting firm.

In a few short weeks, Converge Milwaukee has gone from two entrepreneurs and an idea for a bag of coffee to more than a dozen community leaders, ten small businesses and nine students from the Elmbrook school district. It’s a growing effort that’s powered with the values of collaboration. And it is just getting started.

"The Artisan Marketplace is just a starting point," said Cordio. "It’s a simple example of what can be accomplished in a matter of days. And we are looking forward to…

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Though this view hasn't changed, life has. We can go through it.
Though this view hasn't changed, life has. We can go through it. (Photo: Visit Milwaukee)

We can do this

Today presents us all with a challenging, confusing and scary time. And even as the media business has changed massively over the years, life and business go on. Both will continue – actually are continuing – and OnMilwaukee continues to change, too. Change is constant, even if it’s forced on us. I’ve always enjoyed this quote: "The nature of life is change, and the nature of people is to resist change."

So, we take change and make it into what we’re meant to be.

Onward and upward, as I always say. Our community dives in; it always has, and that’s what warms and inspires me during times like these. We work together and look for even more ways to help each other – I love it.  

You can stay connected with us here and on social – and now, more than ever, we want to hear from you. What do you need? What do you want? More food and fun? More movies? More creative "things-to-do-at-home?" What to binge? Tell us please; we’ll have you covered.

The very reason LIFT Digital and OnMilwaukee exist is because we believe that our community has massive potential, and we want to help package, promote and protect Milwaukee and our partners’ goals. Always have, always will. Media that moves. That’s what we do.

And, let’s not forget that it’s about the collective "we." With work and life-changing, understanding is changing, too.

I loved this quote from UW-Milwaukee grad and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: "There’s no doubt that the workflow of all our jobs is changing fast, with many of you doing so much of your work remotely for the first time, some while also caring for young children at home," he wrote. "There is no playbook for this, and we need to have deep empathy and understanding for each other’s situations."

No playbook. That’s for sure. But can we do more? I know we can. From my little portion of the world, I want to be a better role model and prioritize health. Probably both good calls for us all.

We can do this. What’s "this" in your …

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Our latest episode of Over a Beer chats with Bucks sideline and digital reporter Zora Stephenson.

Over a Beer: A chat with Bucks sideline reporter Zora Stephenson

When it comes to following the Milwaukee Bucks, what happens on the court is just a part of the story. There's the lessons learned in practice, the behind-the-scenes details, the personalities wearing the jerseys, the work in the community and so much more. And Zora Stephenson's job is to tell that entire story. 

As the new sideline reporter for the Milwaukee Bucks, Stephenson fills in fans during broadcasts on what's happening on the court and off with the team – whether it's an injury update or something much more pleasant, like the Bucks' new pregame wrestling rituals. And while she may be in just her first season with the team, it's a job that in many ways her whole life has built up to.

Basketball's always been a part of Stephenson's life, including playing for four years at Elon University – setting the school's single-season three-point percentage record in the process. Afterward, she moved onto another passion: storytelling, working as a TV news reporter in Greenville, North Carolina and Denver, Colorado (where she won an Emmy). And now, as the Bucks' sideline and digital reporter, she gets to combine those passions into one.

Right before the holidays, OnMilwaukee culture editor Matt Mueller got to sit down with Stephenson to learn more about life with the Bucks, acclimating as a newcomer to Milwaukee, her love of journalism and shifting over from news to sports, and much more.

It's all inside this episode of "Over a Beer," an interview series that captures the high life in and around Milwaukee. The series is proudly presented by Miller Brewing Company and OnMilwaukee.

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Ho. Ho.  From Santa, and the Iron Horse Hotel.
Ho. Ho. From Santa, and the Iron Horse Hotel. (Photo: photos: Facebook, Iron Horse and Victoria Youngs)

A Ho Ho from The Iron Horse

This story originally ran on Dec. 21, 2015. Only applicable links have been updated. Tis the season, Milwaukee. Get your holiday emojis here. Be merry and Lite! 

I love Christmas time, and since the day is only a few weeks away I wanted to share one of the festive things that always make me smile. 

The Iron Horse Hotel gets festive with its "HO HO."  See above. 

I love it when Milwaukee places light it up right. 

Which ones do YOU love? 

Cheers, Milwaukee!  Merry, merry.