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What is your story? How did you end up in Milwaukee?Christina Haidemenos

I grew up in Brookfield, WI with a passion for sports. I’ve been on every sports teams from basketball to golf and everything in between. My passion for soccer, though, has outweighed it all. I knew my life would include soccer whether I was playing professionally, on co-ed leagues, or even coaching. I played soccer all through my upbringing in the Brookfield school district, to transferring to Arrowhead my sophomore year of high school and continuing. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in when I was in school, but with my family having a small business that I was a big part of (at the time), I knew I wouldn’t be going far. I chose UW-Whitewater and graduated after 4 years with a degree in Organizational Communication and minors in Marketing and Spanish. Little did I know, those qualities were great skill sets to have in leading me to become a Business Analyst. I moved downtown Milwaukee shortly after moving home after graduation and haven’t turned back since.

What keeps you in Milwaukee/What do you like best about Milwaukee?

Besides my job that I’m very happy with, most of my closest college friends are here as well and I spend as much time with them as I can. We all share a passion for networking and growing into the best version of ourselves, which is why I have kept this circle. I worked briefly in the service industry and I can say it was a great experience I think everyone should do in their lifetime. My family’s business is a restaurant so when I began as a server downtown, it naturally grew into bartending and I found my passion for talking to people. I loved working day shifts and talking with people who were in town on business and hearing about their life experiences. My favorite part about Milwaukee is a tie between the food and the people. I enjoy the festivals that intertwine both, and I created a (short-lived) food blog with a close friend of mine. The people here are much friendlier than most other places, and it’s not hard to feel at home. Sometimes I even feel more at home in my downtown apartment than at my family’s home.

Favorite spot in the city?

Pretty much any rooftop in the city. Also, my favorite restaurant is Zarletti so I would probably choose that as my favorite restaurant spot. I also love my apartment, a lot.

Milwaukee festival you are eager to attend each year?

I love any of the outdoor festivals. Honestly, it’s usually Greek Fest at the State Fair park. I love the food and the vibe the people have when I’ve gone every year. Summerfest used to be fun before the traffic interrupted my day-to-day routine. Swarmm Events always has great events up their sleeve as well and one of my best friends is the VP. I think it would be a great idea to partner with them for one of our events as theirs reach so many people.

What drew you to Echelon?

My best friend Taylor has a heart like mine for making other people happy and going out of their way for others. When she talked about how much she liked Echelon, I could see it light up in her face how she was happy to meet the people she had met, had the experiences she had, and made a positive impact on the community. I knew it was a perfect fit.

Share with us a memorable experience you have had thus far with the organization.

Dinner in the alley was such an incredibly put-together event, and I met a lot of people who were in Echelon that didn’t even know I was interested in joining at the time. How everyone acted like a family and the way it all came together was a very fun time and the cause made it memorable above all.

What struggles do you see our city dealing with? What can our generation do to help?

Honestly, I feel like one of the biggest issues I see our city dealing with is community. As much as I feel like I belong in this city and have my home here, I always feel like we could be doing more to make the city feel like a smaller community that people can trust and feel comfortable. With all of the recent negative events in the city, now more than ever we need to prove that we are all together in this as a whole, and putting on more events that are not only for the salvation army directly, but for the city to come together as one would be highly beneficial I believe.