Ava Janssen

My day job is being the sales manager at Lodgic Everyday Community.

I’m a graduate of UW-Madison and started my professional career at Breese Stevens Field where I was the event management intern. This was in 2016, the first year that a group outside the City of Madison ran the facility.

It was incredibly exciting—and definitely trial by fire. Whatever needed to get done, I jumped in. One day we’d be hosting the Cheese Curd fest, the next we’d host a concert and within another 24 hours a soccer game would take over the field.

I was there for four years. I enjoyed the opportunity but wanted to see another side to event planning. I spent some time as the event planner at the Wisconsin Union and then had the opportunity to be the event services manager at Destination Madison, which works to attract events and tourism to the community. I was excited to play a role supporting the “invisible industry” of tourism that has such a huge economic impact on our city.

My first day was March 9 and by March 11, everything shut down. I picked the wrong time to get into the tourism industry!

But that gave me time to reflect on who I was outside of work and to realize that a lot of my identity was tied to my job. I spent the summer keeping an eye on jobs, knowing eventually events and hospitality would start to open up again. I heard about my current position, saw my experiences allowed me to check a lot of the boxes they were looking for, and was excited to learn it was a non-profit. It sounded like a job that would be something new every day—not the same soup, just reheated. Plus, my last boss had just toured the facility and immediately thought of me when she heard the sales manager position was open.

Not surprisingly, the entire interview process was virtual—it wasn’t actually until I was offered the position that I got to tour the building, it blew away all expectations I had.

The facility is brand new and amazing. It’s a 501(c)3 and a subsidiary of the Loyal Order of the Moose, which is a fraternal organization dating back to 1888. The Moose support a number of important causes, including Mooseheart Child City & School, which is a campus 30 miles outside of Chicago founded in 1913 that supports over 225 children infancy through adulthood every year by providing residential housing with a family structure, education, vocational training, and the opportunity to earn college scholarships. Over 80% of children who graduate from Mooseheart go to college, with the other 20% typically opting for the military or a trade program.  It has changed the lives of countless children, and it is an honor to support them.

Fraternal organizations are facing a difficult time with their membership base aging, and the Loyal Order of the Moose is no different. However, it is simply not an option to let Mooseheart fail. Lodgic Everyday Community was opened as a hub of resources for working families in the Madison community, and to ensure Mooseheart will continue to serve children for many more years, among quite a few other charitable endeavors the organization supports.

We like to say the Lodgic Everyday Community thrives on the power of adjacency. We have four lines of business in the building: Kids Camp, which is childcare—both long-term and drop-in, including extended days, which has been a big help for our friends at UW Hospital; Everyday Kitchen, which is a full service café, restaurant and bar serving Wisconsin comfort food with a twist; Workplace, which is our flexible co-working space and private offices with month-to-month memberships; and Lodgic Events, for both virtual and in-person events. It’s a combination of resources a lot of people have already found to be a great fit for their needs.

The heart of the Lodgic Everyday Community is this message: “Do a little good every day.” Anyone who uses our facility—whether they’re stopping for a coffee, dropping their child off for a few hours or hosting an event—is helping do a little good. I love being part of that.

My most memorable caffeine story is the coffee my boyfriend makes me every morning, where we wake up and start our day quietly in each other’s presence. It’s the moment of serenity before rushing into our busy days.

My current caffeine of choice is a sugar-free vanilla latte.

My favorite place for caffeine is Everyday Kitchen. Their barista, Jake, is phenomenal (and makes a great sugar-free vanilla latte).

The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with are Steve Carrell—both as the actor and as his character Michael Scott from The Office (which is my favorite TV show). I’d also have to invite my brother, Peter, who’s a big fan of The Office too.

Michael Scott manages to be such a genius. I’m sure he could teach me some good lessons around salesmanship.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  Healthcare. I just think if we all buckled down and drank that caffeine, we would be able to come up with a pretty good healthcare system. It’s crazy that people have to use GoFundMe to pay for critical surgery. Other countries have figured things out—we can too.