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Wisconsin Parent

Meet the NEW Big Cheese!

Sep 24, 2015 03:13PM ● By Lissa Carlson

Lissa Carlson, Owner & Publisher

Tell us why you decided to take the reins at Wisconsin Parent.

For the free travel perks, why else?! Seriously, while traveling was indeed a draw, I’ve devoted most of my adult life to using my time and talents to serve families and children in my community, first as an associate editor for Metroparent magazine in Milwaukee, then as founder and publisher of Coulee Parenting Connection in La Crosse. Wisconsin Parent is a logical extension of my passion for quality family life.

I believe in the power of parenting and that our experiences with our families have a profound impact on our entire lives. Vacations are a great, fun way to build bonds and create memories. Nothing brings me greater satisfaction than believing our work leads families to hold positive family memories for life.

You are a Wisconsin native and lived (albeit briefly in most cases) in the Eau Claire area, Menomonie, Viroqua/Gays Mills, Janesville, Grafton, Hartford, Sheboygan Falls, Oshkosh, Milwaukee, and now La Crosse. What does this state mean to you?

Wisconsin will always mean home to me.

Being a Wisconsinite has a few requirements:

- A respect for the outdoors, because ours gives new meaning to “the Great Outdoors.” Whether it’s Grandad’s Bluff in La Crosse,  the beaches of Lake Michigan in Door County,  our Capitol in MadisonMilwaukee’s city life, the waterpark capital of the world – Wisconsin Dells  or the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior… it’s hard to believe all this terrain is part of the very same state.

- A love of dairy products in general and cheese curds in particular.  If you’ve never heard a cheese curd squeak while you’re eating it, you’ve never really experienced the best.

- Even if you could give two hoots about sports otherwise, you must be a cheerleader for the home teams: Brewers/Packers/Bucks/Badgers, because they’re just that good!

- A suck-it-up-Buttercup attitude about our winter weather at its most brutal. It’s easier if you love a winter sport, such as snowmobiling, ice fishing, or (as I do) cross-country skiing. It toughens us up and makes us appreciate the beauty in all four seasons. 

How will Wisconsin Parent evolve?

Our founder, Julie Henning, devoted herself to building connections and content about things to do and see in Wisconsin. We intend to grow and expand that devotion to travel in our state and occasionally beyond. Look for a travel directory and a statewide calendar of events to make trip planning a breeze, whether you’re a welcome visitor to our beautiful state, or a Wisconsinite in search of this weekend’s day trip. We can’t wait to be your place “where family & travel meet in Wisconsin.”

Go on, have a great day with your family!

Michelle Byom, Advertising Director

Tell us about yourself.

I admit it: I am one of “those people.” I actively watch commercials. I read the daily newspaper AND read the advertisements. I click on social media ads, and I view ad content before I get to the reason I am visiting the website in the first place.

That’s why advertising director for Wisconsin Parent is the perfect fit. It combines my love of this ever-changing industry with another passion: this state we call home. I was raised in Milwaukee and the outlying suburb of Muskego. I enjoyed four Badger-fun-filled years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I managed to study a bit, too, before an employment opportunity took me to La Crosse and I met my husband, Randy. The next 20 years included work with advertising agencies, the local ABC-TV affiliate, teaching, and training. But none of that compares to the happiness of watching our kids thrive here in every season and stage we have encountered in 15 years of parenting.

You've taken a few Wisconsin trips over the years. What are some of your favorites?

Going “up north” has always been a relaxing and enjoyable vacation, ever since I was a kid. Wisconsin is a beautiful state to explore. I am always amazed by the new places my family discovers, without ever crossing a state line.

As Wisconsinites, we can relate to you and your family, so our travel advice will be real. And, as my non-resident college roommate always said, “People from Wisconsin are just NICE.” We think so too!

Seth Langreck, Assistant Publisher

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Neillsville, Wis., and have had the joy of teaching students at the middle school, high school, and college levels for nearly ten years. Working with students and their families was a great experience for me. For the last several years, I’ve been documenting and sharing the stories of artists in Duluth, Minn. 

Wisconsin Parent offers me a chance to merge my passions of writing and working with families. When I heard that Lissa was taking over the reins, I knew it was time to return to covering Wisconsin stories.

I am happily married to my wife, Piper, and together we’re currently raising a hamster and a cat. We also stay active in the lives of three nephews and a niece, as well as our two fur nephews, French bulldogs. My hobbies include audio journalism, collecting records, and playing music.

You've taken a few Wisconsin trips over the years. What are some of your favorites?

I had several great experiences with my dad. One that stands out is Snyder Campground in Clark County, Wis. Each Labor Day weekend, we would just pack up the trailer, throw on some clothes, and hit the road. For me, it was more about getting two bags of marshmallows and my own 12-pack of Jolly Good soda than anything else. For my dad, it was a three-day weekend with the family and time to relax. In retrospect, I seemed to lose something or get lost in the woods too often. But he always seemed to find me and show me how to find the things I left behind.  

Julie Henning, founder & former publisher

What was your intention when you launched Wisconsin Parent?

Travel and writing about travel make me happy. I wanted a platform for sharing travel resources with other parents living in (or visiting) the Dairy State.

You've taken many trips in Wisconsin since you started this gig. What are some of your favorites?

Narrowing down my favorite Wisconsin trip is like trying to pick a favorite cheese! My undergraduate degree is from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and the City of Festivals will always have a special place in my heart. Last summer we tried to visit as many waterfalls as possible; Cascade Falls in Osceola was our favorite. In the fall, I was presented with the amazing opportunity to experience the Wisconsin Cranberry Harvest. Staying closer to home, I compiled a list of 10 Cool Places to Take Your Kids with summertime destinations in greater Dane County. I satisfied my inner nerd with a visit to the intersection of the 45th Latitude and 90th Longitude, and finding the Hodag and Wisconsin’s Largest Tree on a quest to visit some of Wisconsin’s most notable roadside attractions. 

Why are you parting Wisconsin Parent? 

Leaving Wisconsin Parent is probably like what it feels like to drop your child off at college—you have to let go and trust your gut that the fledgling is ready to leave its nest. We’ve hit the Oregon Trail and settled into our new life in Eugene, Oregon. A career opportunity presented itself and we’re trading six months of snow for constant rain instead.