Innovative brand, marketing, and creative leader Scott Schwebel chosen as CXO at Milwaukee Art Museum

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Innovative brand, marketing, and creative leader Scott Schwebel chosen as CXO at Milwaukee Art Museum
Scott Schwebel. Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

AMSTERDAM.- The Milwaukee Art Museum has announced the hiring of Scott Schwebel as Chief Experience Officer, a new role focused on creating new visitor experiences. Under the leadership of Marcelle Polednik, Ph.D., Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, this new senior leadership role was designed to invigorate, expand, and enhance the experiential journey of visitors and the Museum’s brand engagement across all its platforms, shaping the future direction of the already-iconic Milwaukee institution.

Over the past several years, art museums have started to see the visitor experience as paramount, with a very small group taking definitive steps to hire leadership positions to pursue it strategically. MAM is one of a handful of art museum peers creating CXO roles to place the visitor experience on par with the importance of the Museum’s artistic program, learning, and engagement initiatives, and donor and community relations. Equally significant, the CXO will be responsible for deepening and expanding the Museum’s cultural impact within the community, demonstrating a significant commitment to a new experiential strategy.

“The Chief Experience Officer represents a watershed moment in the evolution of the Milwaukee Art Museum as a destination, one that puts the visitor experience at the heart of all the institutional endeavors we pursue. It is a role entrusted with helping the Museum tell better stories and build stronger relationships with our visitor community,” said Marcelle Polednik, PhD., Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director. “Scott’s extensive expertise in the realms of marketing, retail, hospitality, and placemaking enable him to both truly appreciate the potential of this role and lend his talents to fulfill its singular and expansive mandate.”

Schwebel brings a diverse and highly respected portfolio of experience to the Milwaukee Art Museum CXO position, spanning industries of food and beverage, retail and hospitality, music and entertainment, and high-end consumer products across which he has consistently delivered inventive and successful results. He previously led global advertising, design, and marketing assignments as VP and Executive Creative Director of Hanson Dodge Creative representing some of the world’s most beloved brands such as Trek Bicycle, Burton Snowboards, Wilson Sports, Harley-Davidson, and Wolverine Boots. Following his agency career, Schwebel was VP of Brand, Marketing, and Retail for Colectivo Coffee. In that innovative role, Schwebel was the creative and strategic visionary behind rebranding Alterra to Colectivo Coffee, the creation of the Troubadour Bakery & Letterbox Fine Tea brands, and helping create a decade of Colectivo’s explosive growth, propelling the regional business into a nationally respected and aspirational brand for its creative personality and beloved products.

At Colectivo, he also envisioned and activated innovative experiences and partnerships, launching its app and digital loyalty program; expanding its e-commerce business; helping create its nationally acclaimed music venue “The Back Room at Colectivo” with the Pabst Theater Group; expanding its café locations across Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago; ideating and launching dozens of its successful food, beverage, and retail products; and, stewarding its creativity until exiting in 2021. Most recently, Schwebel was Chief Marketing Officer for J. Jeffers & Co, where he focused his creative vision and transformative business skills on propelling historic preservation in real estate and the catalytic impact it can have on communities.

Schwebel’s earliest professional experience was in the music and entertainment industry, both as a musician and eventually marketer. He has been behind many of Milwaukee’s iconic experiences from Radio Milwaukee, Bublr Bikeshare, and The Hop Streetcar to multiple retail and hospitality venues. He also currently serves in an emeritus board position at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), and as a brand and intellectual property consultant for Vibrant Body Company, helping land it on Fast Company’s 2023 list of World’s Most Innovative Companies.

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s national search, conducted by Spano Pratt, attracted attention from more than 125 candidates from across the country.

A self-described “perennial creative,” Schwebel credits his diverse background and portfolio of successful business innovations for his readiness as the Milwaukee Art Museum’s CXO. “In many ways, this opportunity is tailormade for my collective professional history,” Schwebel says. “I’ve enjoyed leading and building local and global iconic brands and their experiential platforms. The Museum offers the pinnacle of Milwaukee as an iconic symbol, creative institution, tourist attraction, event and hospitality venue, and cultural leader. What an amazing opportunity to join the Museum and fill this role with creative energy and steward the brand’s forward experience.”

The CXO is an integral part of the new strategic plan the Museum’s Senior Leadership Team and Board of Trustees are developing. The plan, to be released in January 2024, sets ambitious targets for the next chapter of the Milwaukee Art Museum and is driven by a deep commitment to connecting people and art through singular exhibitions and programs, state-of-the-art amenities, innovative storytelling, and more across the Museum’s campus.

“Scott’s appointment to this role completes the Museum’s talented senior leadership team, catalyzing our ability to advance the visitor experience not just as a means to an end but, rather, as a core pursuit in its own right,” added Polednik. “Together, we will build on the momentum we’ve established coming out of the pandemic era to truly rise to the opportunities afforded by our beautiful campus, iconic collection, and inimitable team.”

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