This was sent out in winter of 2004
Recruiting Top Talent to Historic Milwaukee
I would like to contribute to Milwaukee’s ability to attract and retain “the best and the brightest” for our public and private institutions and organizations. I have a number of initial ideas about this subject, all of which need critique and elaboration.
Re-Vision Milwaukee as on the Edge of a Renaissance: From “Central City” to “Historic Milwaukee”
For Milwaukee to win the minds and hearts of highly talented people from all over, it is important that Milwaukee citizens imagine that Milwaukee is at the edge of a renaissance.
This was the mind set of the Milwaukee citizens who created our magnificent parks and architecture one hundred years ago. They considered Milwaukee “the American Athens.”
Friends from my home town of St. Louis are in awe of the beauty of our lakefront, rivers, and parks; our architecture and well-preserved pre-WW II neighborhoods; our public and sacred places.
My out-of-town friends are also highly impressed with the richness of Historic Milwaukee’s “civil society.” Historic neighborhoods like the Eastside, Riverwest, Brewer’s Hill, Walnut Hill, Sherman Park, Washington Heights, Story Hill, Walkers Point, the Third Ward, Bay View, and Polonia have very active citizens’ groups, often linked in e-mail networks, which have shown great progress in their ability to promote and defend their neighborhoods. There has emerged a very powerful environmental consortium and historic preservation movement in Milwaukee. With each passing year is increasing evidence of Milwaukeeans reaching across traditional boundaries and forging mighty collaborations among people from different sub-cultures, classes, and neighborhoods. These connections are enhanced by the emergence of countless cafés and restaurants representing different Milwaukee groups, old city shops, artist and artisan studios, wholistic health facilities, yoga and dance studios, spas and salons.
Warm & Thoughtful Welcomes for Recruits, Beginning with Our Bed & Breakfasts
I can imagine a network of “Milwaukee Guides & Mentors” emerging to help our city’s corporations and institutions welcome recruits in the finest tradition of thoughtful hospitality.
These guides and mentors could be from different age and subcultures, reflecting the polyglot nature of top talent considering Milwaukee as their next home. The proprietors of our magnificent Bed & Breakfasts would be excellent “points of departure” for our recruits first stay, offering them the physical glories of Milwaukee’s heritage and at the same time providing a personal touch by people who know the city and can work with the welcoming networks to provide a visiting experience that could be a memorable one.
A series of “tailored tours” could be created, based upon the particular interests of the recruit. Recruits would be offered drive-around and walk-around visits to Milwaukee’s major attractions, as well as the countless “secret” offerings of “backstreet” neighborhoods. The guides and mentors could offer the recruits different kinds of experiences of Milwaukee, including not just our tourist sites, entertainment spots, and museums, but also introductions to different “communities of interest.”
Recruits to Milwaukee will never have to “bowl alone.” There has been an enormous among of community building in Historic Milwaukee these past 30 years. Our guides and mentors can connect recruits with face to face connections with local leaders of social networks and resilient communities. Recruits can be introduced to people who will listen to their stories regarding what kind of lives outside of work they would like to find in Milwaukee. The recruits can begin to appreciate the deeply rooted Milwaukee traditions of reciprocity, mutual assistance, and trustworthiness.
Getting Down the Brass Tracks: Settling in Milwaukee
Once the recruit has chosen Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Guides and Mentors can offer support in the move. A “Milwaukee Renaissance Yellow Pages” can be created that will provide information and sources of information regarding different kinds of neighborhoods, housing, schools, spiritual communities, social and cultural resources, health facilities, recreational offerings, and services. Much of this already exists and merely needs to be tailored to the specifics of the recruits in question.
Launching the Project
The Milwaukee Renaissance Recruitment Project begins with a series of working lunches to be initially held at the Walter & Judy Backlund’s Acanthus Inn, at 3009 W. Highland, in Historic Concordia, about 5 minutes from downtown, 3 minutes from Miller, Harley, and Marquette University. At the outset, the Human Resource Directors and Recruitment Coordinators of major corporations will be the honored guests. Invitees will also include the Chairs of the Academic Department of Milwaukee’s major institutions of higher learning, relocation realtors, and directors of various public interest and non-profit groups that host conventions and entertain clients.
These conversations will provide guidance for the development of the network of “Milwaukee Guides and Mentors.” One untapped source to be explored will be retiring professionals available for “second careers” as part-time guides and mentors. I have encountered a growing number of people in their 60s looking for ways to make a difference for our fair city. Historic Neighborhood E-Mail Networks will also be linked to this effort, for the purpose of creating networks within each neighborhood available to lend a hand.
So there’s my first effort to describe a project intended to enhance Milwaukee’s ability to recruit and retain fine people from across the planet to contribute to the Milwaukee Renaissance.