Peggy Wiliams-Smith
President and CEO, VISIT Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
email pwilliamssmith@milwaukee.org
phone (414)287-4233
Peggy Williams-Smith is an external community builder and broad strategic planner who strives to lead by example with an approachable executive style. With over 30 years of experience in the hospitality field, Peggy is in tune with all aspects of running one or many business units at the same time. She had demonstrated tremendous value to he business through many various roles she has held for the last 22 years with Marcus Hotels and Resorts. Williams-Smith has managed construction build-outs, strategic planning, annual budgeting, monthly and quarterly profit and loss meetings and marketing initiatives. She left Marcus Hotels and Resorts in 2019 to take the President/CEO role with VISIT Milwaukee where she is responsible for all functions of the destination marketing organization.

Board Profile

Ms. Williams-Smith's demonstrated leadership and business acumen with extensive P & L oversight for a publicly traded company making her particularly suited to serve on the board of either a public or private company. She has had extensive involvement in growing a large division in a profitable direction, while balancing family heritage with corporate strategy and future growth. With a keen eye for assessing, hiring and retaining talent, she possesses an understanding of the workforce of the future. In her board roles, she has led organizations through times of change and growth. She was instrumental in changing the strategic direction for Tempo Milwaukee by changing their business model from an Executive Director to CEO/President and helped the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation disassociate with a larger non profit to create its own 501 (c) 3, allowing for national growth.

Board Experience

Peggy Williams-Smith has held positions with several non profit organizations throughout her career.

Tempo Milwaukee, Former Board Chair

American Heart Association of Southeaster Wisconsin, Former Board Chair

Broadscope, Former Board Member

Milwaukee Area Technical College Foundation, Former Board Member

Milwaukee Women, Inc., Current Board Member (Research Committee Chair)

American Red Cross, Current Board Member on the D & I Committee

Professional Dimensions, Current Board Member on the Race Relations Committee

Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, Current Board Member

Professional Summary

Ms. Williams-Smith is the President and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee.  VISIT Milwaukee is a destination marketing organization that is responsible for programs that  promote Milwaukee as an attractive travel destination.  We also enhance Milwaukee’s public image as a dynamic place to live, work and visit. Through the impact of travel, VISIT Milwaukee strengthens the community’s economic position which provides an opportunity for all of the residents in our region.  Managing through the most recent pandemic has provided Ms. Williams-Smith the opportunity to pivot the organization and reset the needs of the destination to ensure that the mission and vision match with regional priorities moving forward.  Prior to her current role, Ms. Williams-Smith spent just over 22 years with Marcus Hotels and Resorts, an experience based hospitality  company thriving in an experience economy. They are a proud member of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), a company with unmatched experience in entertainment, restaurants, and hotels. The company has created memories and led innovation for eight decades. Having enjoyed serving five generations of people through times of growth, prosperity, change, and economic challenge, Marcus Hotels is driven to accomplish and achieve.  As a senior vice president of operations, Ms. Williams-Smith led teams of people in various roles throughout her tenure.  Often, she is given projects that are in a distressed state and asked to assess and then rebuild to a profitable outcome.  She has played a role in acquisitions, dispositions and most importantly, creating and maintaining the culture.

Recognition & Awards

2010 40 Under 40, Milwaukee Business Journal

2010  Peak Performer Award, Junior Achievement

2016 Citywide Campaign Co-Chair for United Performing Arts Fund raising $12MM

2017 Woman of Influence, Milwaukee Business Journal

2012-2018 Milwaukee’s Power List, Milwaukee Business Journal

Personal

Peggy Williams-Smith has been married for 15 years to Tim Smith, the Managing Director of the Pfister Hotel and Saint Kate, The Arts Hotel. They are raising their niece, Jocelyn. When she is not volunteering for one of her many passions, Peggy enjoys golfing, reading and taking walks with her Boston Retriever, Tito

Sector

HospitalityNon-ProfitProfessional Services

Functional Expertise

AuditFinanceHuman ResourcesMarketingOperationsPublic Relations

Business Accomplishments

  • Member of the senior leadership team involved in developing and implementing strategic oversight of the division
  • P&L – Direct oversight of anywhere from $6MM to $22MM in revenue
  • Entrepreneurial – Successfully created and launched several restaurants throughout our portfolio
  • Managed through times of growth and times of economic difficulties including reductions in workforce and closings of business units