Ten years ago, as someone recently reminded me, I wrote this for the Business Journal. Titled, "Milwaukee business must 'push the envelope'," it was our way, via YPM (Young Professionals of Milwaukee, now Fuel Milwaukee) and OnMilwaukee.com, to help champion change, innovation, creativity and causes.
Ten years later, we're still champions and what I wrote is still timely and relevant. And, personally, I'm grateful that so many new groups, companies, organizations and causes have launched, stepped up and come to the greater Milwaukee area.
We're coming out of our civic crossroads, but still and will always have heavy lifting to do. As Newaukee told us this week here it's up to us to get involved. No one gives you the right to stand on the sidelines.
You may not want to tackle change in Milwaukee all yourself, and you don't have to. So, my five simple tactics that I presented in 2004 are still actionable today. Enjoy and embrace them as I repost them below. And remember we're all in this greater Milwaukee thing together. Onward and always upward!
Taken from "Milwaukee business must 'push the envelope', Milwaukee Business Journal May 2, 2004:
Allow me to offer five quick ideas that could continue to push the envelope and make us a better city for business. They are simple and easy to implement.
• Become an evangelist for Milwaukee.
Add the name "Milwaukee" to your presentations. Talk about the city with pride and optimism. Be proud and let others know that Milwaukee is home to your business, your family and your life. Stand up for our city. We know that a city is only as good as the story it tells. And we have a great story to tell. Tell it.
• Get out of the office.
For your next staff meeting, take employees to a new restaurant, bar, club or coffeehouse. Hold your meeting at the Milwaukee Art Museum or one of the numerous art galleries in town. The Downtown neighborhoods are more alive and vibrant than many give them credit for. By taking your staff out of its typical environment for a meeting, you can spur creativity and foster a better sense of a team, not to mention make yourself look good and in the know.
• Learn more about learning.
Don't fall victim to the "all public education is bad education" myth. Learn more about the Milwaukee Public Schools and other public school options. Get involved, mentor a child, call your school board member and learn more about how our city children learn. Creative solutions come from increased involvement, choice and knowledge. Our kids are our future work force. Do everything you can to foster their development.
• Meet someone new every month.
Put it on your schedule to have breakfast or at least a cup of coffee monthly with someone totally different than you -- someone from a different profession, different age category, whatever. Better relationships and stronger understanding lead to creativity, innovation and more business opportunities.
• Encourage risk and embrace technology.
Small businesses and entrepreneurship need to be supported and encouraged more in Milwaukee. Of last year's Inc. 500, 48 percent had start-up costs of less than $20,000 and only 2 percent received venture capital. Also in the Inc. 500, 84 percent of the companies started without the benefit of formal research. It's much easier than many think to start a business, and everyone benefits from increased competition, better technology and greater business density in Milwaukee.
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.