Laura Lutter Cole

Laura Lutter Cole

National Account Executive

What year did you start at VISIT Milwaukee?
November 2016

What is your industry organization involvement?
MPI-WI, MPI-CAC, PCMA Greater Chicago Area Chapter, Association Forum, WSAE, LGBT-Meeting Professionals Association, Wisconsin LGBT Chamber Hospitality & Tourism Council, and VISIT Milwaukee's Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee. 

What is your local organization involvement?
I serve as President Elect of Professional Dimensions (Wisconsin's largest women's business membership organization), and a member of 40 Under 40 Alumni Club. I am also deeply committed to supporting local organizations including the Humane Society of SE Wisconsin, the Cathedral Center, Inc. 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 as well as being the home of The Global Water Center, makes us 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. 

What is your personal background?
I was born in Los Angeles and my parents moved to the small city 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 (5) years old, and was the first female percussionist in my school, where I passed up the boys every year to maintain first-chair standing through high school.  I grew up playing tennis, but took up golf six years ago and really enjoy it! Well, I enjoy it most of the time.

What are some "can't miss" Milwaukee experiences?
Milwaukee city tour with VISIT Milwaukee's very own Claire Koenig.
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 what would become the infamous 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 Civil War history buff and Milwaukee is home to a national treasure, the Milwaukee's Soldiers Home! It 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.  It is also the final resting place of members from the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first Union African American unit recruited in the north.

What is your favorite Milwaukee "fun fact"?
There are so many fun and obscure facts about Milwaukee, but one of the least know is that the Skywalk that crosses over the Milwaukee River is the only skywalk that exists over boat traffic.