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Janine Wachter, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Janine Wachter, director of convention & event services, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

Most rewarding: I get to be a tourist in the city that I live and that is an experience that is quite rare for most people. Most of us drive by the Capitol or enjoy one of our amazing restaurants, but I get to look at it through the visitor lens. I also love being able to learn so much about the groups that come to meet here in Madison. Each group is so different and diverse but they all share a common thread, which is the passion that they have for their organization or association.

Most challenging: I work with groups in their planning from the moment they are confirmed, so often I’m working with groups 18 months to four or more years in advance of their arrival to Madison. I’m also working with groups up until they meet here, so living in the present and the future at the same time can be a challenge.

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I really admire Janet Sperstad, CMP, the program director for the Meeting and Event Management Degree Program at Madison Area Technical College, which she founded. It is the first associate degree program in meeting and event management in the U.S. She has a thirst for knowledge and is a trailblazer for the tourism industry. She has brought much success, validation, and recognition to the meeting planning profession and has devoted herself to the development and continued success of the profession.

3. What has been the high point of your career so far?

The Gold Wing Road Riders Association’s Wing Ding event really stretched my knowledge of our city, as well as my services capacity when they were here in 2014. I am especially proud that one of the trickiest logistical portions for the event, a seven-mile parade from the East to South sides of town, was safe and successful.

4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I would say don’t be afraid to ask to take on a new project in an area you aren’t as familiar in or ask for help once you feel a little stuck. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there either. Try a new job or role, or ask for an informational interview to find out more. I’d also say that it is important to try a number of new things. Having a variety of experiences under your belt — often some that don’t directly relate — can create the most interesting and valuable employees.

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