Steve Baas to continue as vice chair; Omar Shaikh concludes board service after five years


VISIT Milwaukee announced today that Dr. Eve M. Hall, president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukee Urban League, has been unanimously elected to serve as the next chair of the VISIT Milwaukee Board of Directors for a one-year term beginning July 28. Her appointment was announced during the organization’s annual meeting at the Miller High Life Theatre, which was attended by more than 400 business leaders, elected officials, community members and representatives from over 130 partner organizations.

“Dr. Hall is the right leader at the right time as VISIT Milwaukee accelerates our plan to return to record levels of travel and tourism,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. “Her experience leading diverse member-based organizations, deep relationships within the business, civic and philanthropic communities, and proven ability to bring together solution makers will be of considerable value to advancing our region as a destination of choice."

As the tourism marketing and branding organization for the greater Milwaukee area, VISIT Milwaukee is responsible for growing the local tourism economy, generating revenues for local business, increasing taxes paid by tourists and growing tourism-related jobs. The chair of the Board of Directors volunteers her time to provide overall strategic direction to VISIT Milwaukee and advocate its mission to the community. The Board of Directors assists in developing the organization’s strategic plan and helps VISIT Milwaukee to achieve its goals through participation in committees and Board meetings.

“There are so many good things brewing in Milwaukee,” Dr. Hall said. “The Milwaukee Bucks’ championship run has certainly reignited the glow that once was dimmed thanks to the pandemic. But the momentum driving our community forward is fueled by so much more. Our neighborhood treasures, major community attractions, smallest shops and largest venues are reporting progress in their recovery. Yet there is much more to be done to make sure our region is truly a destination for all to live, work, play and, of course, visit. VISIT Milwaukee is essential to our progress as a community, and I am honored to be working alongside our team and our Board to rebuild a thriving, diverse and equitable economy as well as to welcome many more to experience this uniquely amazing community we call home.”

Last year, Steve Baas was unanimously elected incoming chair of VISIT Milwaukee for 2020-2021, with Dr. Hall as vice chair. However, given the challenging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism and hospitality industries, the Board elected to not make a change during the middle of the organization’s and city’s multi-faceted response. With Dr. Hall now assuming the position as board chair, Baas was unanimously reelected as vice chair of VISIT Milwaukee’s Board.

“I am thrilled to continue working alongside Dr. Hall, Peggy and the many talented leaders of VISIT Milwaukee,” Baas said. “Dr. Hall is a highly respected leader, unquestionably talented, and driven to make the Milwaukee area a ‘Region of Choice for All.’ Together with our 600-plus partners, VISIT Milwaukee is playing a major role in leading our community out of the effects of the pandemic.” 

Saying Thank You to Omar Shaikh


In addition to the business of the annual meeting, the gathering gave a resounding “thank you” to outgoing board chair Omar Shaikh, Milwaukee restaurateur and developer. The celebration included the City of Milwaukee officially proclaiming July 28 “Omar Shaikh Day.”

Mr. Shaikh has served as a board member of VISIT Milwaukee for the past 10 years and as chair for the last five. Commenting on the future of the region, Mr. Shaikh said: “The work of VISIT is incredibly important to Milwaukee and our state. Our entire hospitality industry relies on the VISIT Milwaukee team for their insights and expertise, as well as their creativity and dogged tenacity in marketing our region to conventions, businesses, planners, leisure travelers and others. During my 10 years at VISIT Milwaukee, I have come to realize how truly essential the organization is to our economy and the livelihoods of hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners and tens of thousands of hospitality employees who work to make every visitors’ stay memorable.”


About Dr. Eve M. Hall

Dr. Eve M. Hall serves as the president and CEO of the Milwaukee Urban League and has been a VISIT Milwaukee board member for the past three years. She is a native of Milwaukee, with work experiences in Wisconsin, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Previously, she served as the president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, where she led the renewal of the organization. Dr. Hall also served as chief innovation officer for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, where she spent 10 years in various national leadership roles impacting students and university/school district partnerships in several states. Other past leadership roles include vice president of public affairs for Family Service of Milwaukee; Milwaukee Public Schools' school to work administrator, reporting to the superintendent; and director of Governor Tommy Thompson’s Milwaukee Office.

Dr. Hall is the co-founder of the African American Women’s Project Fund, created in 1999 and designed to provide support to organizations supporting the well-being of women and girls. The over $200,000 fund is held in the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in educational psychology from Florida A&M University, a Masters of Science in administrative leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.

About VISIT Milwaukee 

VISIT Milwaukee is a community asset that markets the destination as a top choice for business, convention, and leisure travel to national and international visitors to increase the economic impact of tourism in the region. VISIT Milwaukee has over 600 partners, including accommodations, restaurants, attractions, services, and area businesses. The Wisconsin Center District, which is undergoing a large-scale expansion slated for completion in 2024, and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call (800) 554-1448 or visit