By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jun 11, 2008 at 8:39 AM

Jill Morin, executive officer and principal at Kahler Slater, is one of the most involved and passionately engaged leaders in the community. Full disclosure, I've known Jill for more than 10 years, she's a friend and someone I greatly admire. Yet, that doesn't cloud the fact that her and her ideas demand attention.

Morin's involved at almost every civic level, from Milwaukee 7 to the Greater Milwaukee Committee to smaller grass roots organizations. She dives in and always offers insights pulling from her experience and her firm's bold visioning. Kahler Slater is a leader in design, adding to our area's architecture and interior design with strategic research and vision planning.

At a Rotary Club of Milwaukee luncheon last month that honored 30 years of Future Milwaukee, a local leadership development program (again, full disclosure, I'm graduate of the program and a former board member) Morin and others were asked to provide their thoughts on Milwaukee in 2038, 30 years from now. Morin read her vision for Milwaukee to the capacity crowd. It was very well received, so I thought I'd present to you for your reaction, input and comment. Milwaukee has many opportunities to seize in the coming years, how we face them could help make some of this vision come true.

Jill Morin's 2038 Vision for Milwaukee
We have an exercise that we use when we're helping our clients to vision their futures for their organizations that we call a Day in the Life. In this exercise, we ask our clients to imagine an ideal day in the life in their organization sometime in the future, assuming they've achieved all they've set out to do with regard to their organizational vision. So, here's my ideal Day in the Life story for my grandchild, Rebecca, in Milwaukee, 2038:

Rebecca wakes, and looks out of the window of her sustainable condominium at a beautiful, clean lakefront, and remembers that today, she will be the featured speaker at the Great Lakes Water Conference, held at the International Water Think Tank at the University of Wisconsin. Leaders in business, education and government are coming from all over the world to hear about the transformation of what was once known as Milwaukee and Chicago into the world leader in water education, water research and development, and water technologies. The two cities began to build this partnership back in 2016, when they worked together to host the 2016 Olympic Games, widely recognized as one of the most successful Olympics in recent history.

Rebecca knows that people have been arriving for the conference for days, many using the high-speed rail system, which connects the Milwaukee region to what was once known as Chicago, Madison and Minneapolis. It's a beautiful day; and since the area's citizens long ago embraced sustainable living throughout the region, seeing and enjoying the lake is easier and better than it's ever been. Rebecca scans her computer to check out the news of the day, and hears yet another story about how prosperous the combined Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago region (or Milmadigo, as it's become known) has become since its leaders decided to ignore artificial boundaries and work together with a shared vision and shared resources. Thank goodness visionary, risk-taking politicians, business leaders and citizens stepped up years ago to work together, Rebecca thinks. And thank goodness that the talk radio hosts and newspaper reporters she's heard about from her grandmother have long ago retired or have run out of steam, as people in the region became fed up with their negative talk and no solutions approach. Now, people in the region are proud to call this place their home, and business leaders from across the country are scrambling to relocate their headquarters here, as the area boasts a diverse, well educated and well trained workforce and offers one of the highest qualities of life in the country. In fact, Milmadigo has become known as the "Arts and Cultural Mecca of the Midwest."

As Rebecca heads out the door, she remembers to grab her tickets for tonight's baseball game - the Brewers are in the pennant race once again, and as the defending World Series Champions, they're fun to watch.

Now, I could go on, but you get the point. And you may not agree with the future I just described. But if we don't collectively define our own future, it will be defined for us. And I don't think anyone wants that to happen. And if we specifically define our own future, then we can hold ourselves accountable to it, and measure our success against the plan.



Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.