Woman Takes the Helm of VISIT Milwaukee

Peggy Williams-Smith
Peggy Williams-Smith, new CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, first woman to lead the organization

According to the Institute for Women’s Leadership, globally, a woman is in only 24 percent of senior leadership positions. Women represent 45 percent of the S&P 500 workforce, but only 4 percent of CEOs.

There is a new woman in charge at VISIT Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee area’s convention and visitors bureau, as Peggy Williams-Smith, senior vice president of Marcus Hotels & Resorts, is its new CEO, effective November 18.  Williams-Smith replaces Paul Upchurch, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities.

Williams-Smith was selected from a national field of candidates in a months-long search, headed up Omar Shaikh, chair of the VISIT Milwaukee Board of Directors. She is the first woman to lead the organization.

“Peggy is well known in the Milwaukee community as a leader and as a woman who makes things happen, so she was a natural choice for the role,” said Shaikh. “Ultimately, the search committee was impressed with her vision for VISIT Milwaukee and her passion for the destination.”

Williams-Smith is a lifelong Milwaukeean and has honed her hospitality skills at Marcus Corporation since 1997. “I could not be more excited to take the reins at VISIT Milwaukee as we go headfirst into a very busy and exciting year, featuring national events such as the DNC, the USA Triathalon, The Ryder Cup, and the 140th Annual Meeting of Northwestern Mutual Agents,” said Williams-Smith. “It is an honor to be selected to lead this organization into the next decade. I look forward to working closely with the dynamic team at VISIT Milwaukee, Marty Brooks and the Wisconsin Center District and the hospitality community to make 2020 a banner year for our city.”

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