Thanks to many dedicated people and businesses, Downtown is the heart of Milwaukee and the entire state of Wisconsin. This week, OnMilwaukee presents Milwaukee Downtown Week, sponsored, aptly, by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. For seven days, we will share stories, videos and photography profiling some of the neighborhood's best offerings and celebrating those who make it so great.
Milwaukee Downtown Employee Appreciation Week, by the way, runs July 31-Aug. 4.
Cassy Scrima is one of the hardest-working women in Milwaukee. I know this because from 2013 to 2014 I served as The Pfister Narrator and Cassy, whose title is area director of marketing at Marcus Hotels & Resorts, was my boss.
"I handle our three properties in Downtown Milwaukee: The Pfister, the Hilton Milwaukee City Center and the InterContinental Milwaukee. All three are very distinct and it is fun to market each of them in their own voice and I get to tell the world about our amazing hotels through digital, social media, billboard, radio – you name it," she says.
Cassy is always in motion, striving to give the most of herself and to nurture and encourage others to do so, too – and at the same time maintains kindness and grace. It was great to catch up with Cassy and talk hotels, Downtown and dogs.
Where were you born, raised and go to school?
I was born and raised in Waukesha, and went to Barstow Elementary School, which is now an office building, but it sat next to a veterinarian office. They tended to larger farm animals – like horses and cows – which made for very interesting recesses. Think long plastic gloves and uncomfortable, hooved animals.
I then went to Horning Middle School and am a proud Waukesha North High School (Go Northstars!) Alum.
I grew up on one of those streets where there were a lot of families and a lot of kids. We were called "The Morey Street Gang." We played under the street lights from dawn to dusk. Kick-the-can, team tag, "school," forts. In the fall we would make floor plans using the fallen leaves as the walls and play house. We did the same with chalk in the streets: making roads, grocery stores, pet stores, etc. It was the best childhood and I have lots of memories.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I love that every day is different. The principals might be the same – but the unique twists and turns that each one takes is very exciting. It is very fast paced and we always have a lot going on – a lot to talk about to our audiences.
Most challenging aspect?
The most challenging thing is that there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish all of the great things we are doing or want to be doing. For every one event, promotion, offer that we execute, there are probably 10 more that had to hit the cutting room floor.
What is special or unique about Marcus Hotels?
For Milwaukee, I think the fact that we are a three-generation family-based company makes us unique and special. When you stay at a Marcus hotel, you are giving back to the community. And speaking of giving back to the community, our philanthropic activities are a big part of our culture. We partner with organizations like United Way, UPAF and ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis. Our Blutender program in Blu at the Pfister has raised almost $200,000 for a number of local charities. We are really proud of that.
Would you ever be able to pick one of the hotels as your favorite?
Picking a favorite is really hard because they are each so different and each has an aspect that makes it exciting. If pushed, I would probably say The Pfister. It’s an icon. How can you not love The Pfister? The stories those walls have kept over the years is what makes it so charming and so amazing.
How are you involved with The Pfister AiR and The Pfister Narrator and why are these programs important?
I am lucky enough to shepherd both the Artist in Residence and The Pfister Narrator programs. I sit on the committee for both programs and enjoy getting to know all of the artists and writers. Each of our Artists in Residence and Narrators have a commonality in that they create – but what they create is always so completely different. And how they go about doing it is so completely different. I enjoy the brainstorming sessions on fun and unique events and activities we can come up with the unique personalities of each.
This year, our Narrator, Nicole Mattke, started a Pfister Book Club. The first one happened in July and was wildly successful. We have three new holiday programs coming as well – tea parties with themes of very popular books like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Polar Express."
Margaret Muza, the Artist in Residence, is partnering with us on some fun meeting promotions where she will be doing tin type photographs of the entire group together.
We are also looking forward to partnering these two programs with Sculpture Milwaukee.
What are your thoughts on Downtown Milwaukee in general?
Downtown Milwaukee is vibrant, thriving, creative and collaborative. It’s a great place to live and work.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I enjoy spending time with my partner, Fred, and our four dogs. Fred and I currently compete with three of the dogs in Flyball – a dog relay race – and two of the dogs in Agility, which is an obstacle course. Our fourth, a 7-month-old puppy, is in training for both.
What are your dogs names/ages/breeds?
Charlotte is a 12-year-old; Roxie is 7 and a Labahoula, which is Lab and Catahoula Leopard dog. She’s a rescue from the Wisconsin Humane Society. Hachi, our Border Collie/Whippet, is 4 and she is currently in the top 10 fastest UFLI dogs of all time. Finally, Bounce is a Border Collie/Whippet and she’s 7 months old.
We complete regionally for Flyball and mostly Wisconsin and Illinois for agility. Our team won first place in our division at UFLI Flyball Championships last year.
What has kept you living in Milwaukee (or the Milwaukee area) for so many years?
Milwaukee and the Milwaukee area have given me a lot of opportunity. I am continually impressed with how far the city has come in terms of putting culinary and art on the map. We are known for our great restaurants and there is fabulous art work coming out of Milwaukee. The culture here is very nurturing and perpetuates growth.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.