Recently, our travels took us to Madison, Wisconsin for a few days to attend the Great Lakes Educational Summit (GLES). This event was organized by the Michigan Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) – a global association that uses innovative learning, collaboration and advocacy to connect the meeting and event community face-to-face. The summit covered a wide range of relevant topics under the umbrellas of professional development, networking and business exchange, and advancing our industry.
The conference was held at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace on the banks of Lake Monona, one of five lakes in the capitol city. From our hotel room, we had an amazing view of the lake, and although it rained the whole trip, it did not discourage us from exploring the famous State Street shopping area. This bustling place between Capitol Square and the University of Wisconsin, offers a lot of great activities, both day and night, as well as lake access and amazing views, several museums and theaters, and more than 140 restaurants. The beautiful capitol building was also nearby, and only three blocks from the hotel.
We attended a Welcome Reception at Monona Terrace, which included exhibits from vendors, suppliers, and hotels. Wisconsin CVB gave an informative presentation about area towns and things to do. Other highlights included the silent auction (to raise scholarship money for kids in need) and the Taste of Wisconsin buffet, which was the perfect excuse to enjoy a lot of fried cheese curds, gourmet mac ‘n cheese in cocktail cups, and sausages.
Monday evening’s reception was held at the Overture Center for The Arts, which is a beautiful building in the heart of downtown. On the way to the event, we were led through the Wisconsin State Capitol, which is always open to the public and stunning inside. Back at the reception, Wisconsin’s delicious version of a Manhattan was served, with brandy in place of bourbon. There were more fried cheese curds, naturally, and a wonderful farmhouse beer called Spotted Cow, which is made at New Glarus Brewery and is a must-have for locals.
Madison’s Dane County Airport was stylish and cute, and about three times the size of Traverse City’s airport. Notably, they sell Spotted Cow by the case there. Unfortunately, with no room in our bags to bring any home, we had to settle for adding it to the list of things we love.
It was such a pleasure to attend this fantastic conference and to just mix it up a little in Madison, Wisconsin for a while. Next year, this worthwhile networking event is rumored to be held at Traverse City’s own Park Place Hotel. With a range of topics covering marketing, H.R., social media, client services, program management and customer service, we’ll definitely be there, and are hoping we might even see some of you!