Laura Lutter Cole
National Account Executive
What year did you start at VISIT Milwaukee?
What is your industry organiztion involvement?
I've been a member of both the WI and Chicago chapters of MPI for 5 yrs, PCMA Greater Chicago Area Chapter for 4 yrs, Association Forum for 3 yrs, WSAE for 1 yr, PROUD NEW member of LGBT-Meeting Professionals Association, LGBT Chamber Hospitality & Tourism Council for 1 yr, VM Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee for 1 yr.
What is your local organiztion involvement?
President Elect of Professional Dimensions (Wisconsin's largest women's membership organization that promotes the professional and personal growth of women through social and business exchange and through community participation). Member of 40 Under 40 Alumni Club. I am also deeply committed to supporting local organizations including the Wisconsin Humane Society, The Cathedral Center homeless shelter for families, Vivent Health, and other organizations serving our Milwaukee families.
Why are you passionate about your market segment?
Conservationist Paul R. Ehrlich said, "There are substitutes for oil; there is no substitute for fresh water." Milwaukee is located at the confluence of three rivers, and rests on the shores of Lake Michigan; One of the five Great Lakes which make up 20% of the earth's fresh water supply, and the only Great Lake entirely residing in the US. Milwaukee's rich, fresh water history is why we are considered the World Water Hub. The perfect meeting place for government, private sector, and university systems who are focused on freshwater research, economic development and job creation.
What is your favorite/most inspirational thing about your job?
Meeting people from all over the world who share the common goal of impactful, enjoyable face-to-face interactions, and seeing our guests experience all that our great City of Milwaukee has to offer. And then handing them the key to the door of the city they're always going to want to come home to.
What is your personal background?
I was born in Los Angeles and my parents moved to the small town of Kiel, WI when I was little. My husband, daughter, son, and precious pup, Foxy Brown, are the lights of my life.
What is something fun about you?
I've played the piano since I was five yrs old, and was the first female percussionist in my school ("We've never had a girl drummer before!") and beat all the boys to maintain first chair standing through high school. Tennis was our family sport growing up, and I took up golf six years ago and LOVE it!
What are some "can't miss" Milwaukee experiences?
Milwaukee city tour with VISIT Milwaukee's very own Kristin Settle.
Shopping at Bronzeville Collective for unique art, clothing, and jewelry by local Milwaukee artists.
Milwaukee Public Market for lunch, dessert, glass of Prosecco, and some more dessert for the road.
Lunch at Lake Park Bistro overlooking the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan.
Live music at ALL of our summer festivals and WI State Fair!
What is your favorite Milwaukee memory?
When I moved from Chicago to Milwaukee in 1995, some friends invited me to listen to live jazz at a downtown park. We brought a big blanket, bottle of wine, plastic cups, and sat among 50 other people under the stars on a warm Thursday summer night. Little did we know we were enjoying a Milwaukee legacy called Jazz in the Park!
If you could only eat one Milwaukee staple food forever, what would it be?
Fresh, squeaky cheese curds. Period. End of story. There is nothing else. Drooling as I type this.
What is your favorite Milwaukee tradition?
Friday fish fry, potato pancakes (syrup; hold the applesauce), ice cold Milwaukee-brewed Pilsner. Prosit!
What is your favorite Milwaukee "fun fact"?
I'm a dork & am probably the only person who will find this interesting: Milwaukee's Soldiers Home is one of three original Soldiers Homes in the country built to serve veterans of the Civil War, with the original funds being raised by women-led Wisconsin Soldier's Aid Society in 1865, and is the final resting place of members from the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first Union African American unit recruited in the north.