Citizen Wausau

A Site About Life in Wausau, Wisconsin

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Combine the Agencies

by on November 5th, 2013

We all saw news reports that Darien Schaefer is stepping down as the boss of the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau.  I thought at this time I would take a moment and offer up a suggestion.

First off, thank you, Darien.  You have done a tremendous job growing programs and events here in Central Wisconsin.  You and I have met a few times, and even spoke on a panel together; I think you are a good guy.  Lake Geneva will be lucky to have you.  But, since you are leaving…

How about we combine Wausau Events and Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau  into one super agency?  And keep Kari Rasmussen running the whole kit and kaboodle.  Kari has proven herself as more than capable.  She has taken what was a kernel of an agency, and has (with the help of a lot of people) built the slate of events into a national drawing card.  This success should not be overlooked.

There is a sort of inherent resistance to ideas like this.  That change is not good, that we should not jump too high or too far.  These are parts of the human condition, but should not be something that fuels us or limits our growth.

So,  let us move past our limiting views, and begin to see the work done by both groups as simple economics.  Darien made X amount of dollars in salary, and Kari makes X.  Each organization has a budget of X amount of dollars.  They also both have unique and free standing boards, as well as unique contracted relationships with corporations and municipalities.  If you begin with saving in salary, then you see freed up funds.  Of course, you would have to increase Kari’s salary, commensurate with the size of the new organization.

But, you would have the ability to raise funds in a new way through various streams.  Through the supporters of Badger State Games, and through the fans of hot air balloons.  It would also give Wausau a larger stage to operate on.  Kari and Darien are two large advocates for this area, and combining these two missions only increases the stage that Kari would be standing on, and clearly she would be faced with a new challenge.

That challenge can and would be overcome.  The professionalization of these two nonprofit boards would be a natural outcome.  The board would be refocused, redirected, and infused with the energy of the broader vision.  As would Kari, who would use her already substantial organizing skills on a larger scale, with greater support, which we think would lead her to even greater success.

The combination of these two organizations seems institutionally difficult, but a lot of things are difficult.  The growth that would come by combining these community resources is worth the growing pains that would go with it.  Every dollar would go further, touch more lives, and create greater success, I think.

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