Our team of meeting professionals is ready to help you plan not only an event, but an experience at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club. Click on their names to learn more about each team member.
Director of Sales
Michael Ferguson, Director of Sales
Expertise: Michael started his hospitality career at The Madison Concourse Hotel, working in the association sales manager position and moved in the University and Government Market. He gets to work with an amazing team of collaborative sales and catering experts, focusing on providing exceptional service for 12 years at the hotel. Michael takes the time to listen to each client, really taking the time to hear the unspoken needs and helping to create amazing conferences and events. He strives to come up with creative solutions to challenges and facilitate new ideas into challenge. “I love the people whom we connect with each day…. new acquaintances and old friends make this job rewarding.”
Favorite downtown restaurant? This is super nerdy…. but I really love CIRC! The salad bar is second to none, and Chef Charles’ bacon cheeseburger is nearly perfect in all ways.
What do you love most about Madison? Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays
Associations Sales Manager
Kelly Gwiazda, Associations Sales Manager
Expertise: With an extensive background in hotel operations, Kelly can partner with associations to design the best event experience. She sells guestrooms and meeting space for State, National, and Associations business, but that is the basic explanation. She does way more than that: “I go beyond the rates, dates, and space because I believe in the power of Associations. The information and training provided in Association conferences not only work towards the betterment of our immediate communities, but will have positive impacts in communities around the country, thus making us stronger.” For three years at this hotel, Kelly has shared a vision of building strong partnerships to ensure attendees have a flawless experience where they are comfortable, fully engaged, and immersed in Madison’s culture: “I love sharing that passion and introducing people to all the experiences that are so uniquely Madison. I get excited when I get to talk about things like our Farmer’s Market and Concerts on the Square. With just a couple steps out our front doors, our guests have access to a vibrant downtown culture like none other.” Kelly demonstrates a perfect balance of critical thinking and innovation, also keeping abreast of the current trends and the future of meetings.
Favorite Madison brunch spot? The Madison Concourse Hotel’s Easter Brunch, of course!
Favorite downtown restaurant? Cooper’s Tavern
Corporate Sales Manager
Emily Rauber, Corporate Sales Manager
Expertise: Emily started working for the Madison Concourse Hotel in 2008. She is responsible for the maintenance and growth of current accounts and discovering new business in the corporate market. “I love working in this industry because every day is not the same. You get challenged in many ways and it always keeps you on your toes. It’s one of the toughest industries, but the rewards are many when you factor in the great relationships built, nurtured, maintained and appreciated. Where else can one meet people from various walks of life and be able to call them a friend?” She finds that the most important aspect of her role is that she literally takes care of people: “It takes empathy and commitment to put another person’s needs and desires ahead of your own while keeping a smile on your face. Customers come to hotels for various reasons, but in short, they want an experience.”
Favorite Madison brunch spot? Marigold Kitchen.
Favorite downtown restaurant? Natt Spil (obsession: three cup chicken)
Convention Services Manager
Mary Schulz, Convention Services Manager
Expertise: Mary is a detailed, confident, and direct multitasker who is highly organized and able to go with the flow. Mary coordinates the majority of the large conventions at the hotel prior to group arrival and coordinates all room setups, Audio Visual, and Food and Beverage for conventions. She worked for 14 years as banquet manager which helps her understand the space capabilities that this hotel has to offer. In working with Audio Visual on the daily, she is extremely A/V savvy as a bonus. Her favorite aspect of her role is that it changes for each different conference and event she helps with: “I like the challenge of making the customers happy. I am very passionate about customer service and what I do for our customers.”
Favorite Madison brunch spot? Mickie’s Dairy Bar
Julie Check, Sales Manager
Expertise: Julie got her start in tourism working as a tour guide on The La Crosse Queen Paddlewheeler. She has been in Sales at the Madison Concourse for eight years and specializes in assisting our Epic customers with their travelers coming to visit the Epic campus. She helps them navigate the travel that comes along while training at Epic whether it be an individual traveler coming to Madison for the first time, or a group coming in for their fifth time. “I want to be sure they are comfortable, can relax and enjoy Madison when they have a bit of down time during their trip.” Julie has worked with Epic customers in all different stages of their training: “I understand how much work it can be to coordinate all the travel that comes along with it. I strive to take some of the worries and stress out of that for an already busy traveler or planner.” She works hard for our guests to have the best-possible experience while Visiting Madison: “I know traveling for work can be stressful at times and to be able to help our guests have an enjoyable trip here makes my job very rewarding! Hearing guests describe the hotel as their home away from home is the ultimate compliment in my book.” Julie describes herself as being very detail-oriented, a characteristic that is very helpful in her role. Travel plans can change and needs of a group or traveler can change at any moment, so keeping all the variations straight can take some of the work and worries off the plate of the person organizing the travel plans. In addition, thinking ahead so that the visitors may need while visiting Madison, can be helpful considering many of the customers she works with frequently may not know what is involved when it comes to planning travel. Don’t worry, Julie’s got this covered.
Favorite Madison brunch spot? Daisy Cafe
Favorite downtown restaurant? Ha Long Bay on Willy Street is a great family-owned business with amazing food!
Business Development Sales Manager
Sue Astorga, Business Development Sales Manager
Expertise: Sue is our Business Development Sales Manager at the Madison Concourse Hotel. She began her hospitality career in housekeeping, followed by ten years in front office operations, nine years in catering and convention services, and a total of 18 years in various sales roles. Due to her start in housekeeping, Sue holds a true appreciation for what the housekeeping staff does on a daily basis, and how crucial it is to a hotel. Her role at The Madison Concourse involves nurturing existing relationships as well as developing new business for the hotel: “I enjoy the relationships you develop with your clients and the thrill of new ones.” With such an extensive background in customer service, it’s no wonder that it is Sue’s favorite aspect of her job: “I love getting to know people and taking care of their needs.” In fact, one time Sue had a brush with fame when she kicked Joe Perry and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith off an elevator! She had a good reason: a bride’s grandfather was having a heart attack and the area needed to be clear for paramedics.The rockstars were very gracious and recognized Sue’s strong sense of customer service and putting the guest first.
Favorite Madison Brunch spot? Hubbard Avenue Diner
Favorite downtown restaurant? Graft
Favorite coffee/tea shop? Colectivo Coffee
Catering Sales Manager
Ryanne Miller, Catering Sales Manager
Expertise: Ryanne is our Catering Sales Manager at The Madison Concourse Hotel. She plans conferences and special events by coordinating room setups, food and beverage, and audio-visual. Her love for events started at a young age with helping her mom plan birthday parties. When she was younger, she was so fascinated with weddings that she would have her mom purchase wedding books from the grocery store: “I would plan out the wedding -- from the color scheme to order of events -- and then hold a pretend wedding in my living room.” Aside from a lifelong love of event planning, Ryanne has five years of management experience and four years working in hotels: “I think what makes me an expert in my role is my previous work positions and my ability to build great relationships. Having worked as a Banquet Captain helps me to understand the floor aspect, which helps me to ask the right questions when detailing with a customer as well as creating event orders.” Ryanne loves every aspect of an event from décor setup, but she truly loves working with the people she helps plan events for: “It brings me joy to be a part of such memorable milestones in an individual’s life to see it come to life from the planning stage to day of event. I love making people happy.”
Favorite Brunch Spot? Café Hollander
Favorite Place in the Hotel: The Governor’s Club
Our wedding specialists are here to ensure that your special day is seamless. With one point of contact from beginning until end, every detail will be taken care. Because we know the only thing you should be focused on is the love of your life.
Chastity Stanila - Wedding Sales Manager
, Chastity Stanila - Wedding Sales Manager
Expertise: Chastity is here to give couples a full wedding experience from the time they come and tour the hotel, through their planning sessions and menu tastings, and of course on their big wedding day. She has been planning weddings for 20 years at various properties in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Dells, Minneapolis and Madison. “I love the vendors we have in Madison and I love the relationships I get to build with my couples. I love what I do.” Her favorite part of her job is learning what will make the day most special for her couples and then making it happen: “Every small detail counts, and I love personal touches we can bring into their receptions. “
Favorite lunch spot? I love running to The Good Food Cart on my lunch break!
Julie Woodward - Director of Catering
, Julie Woodward - Director of Catering
Expertise: Julie works with many different clients from weddings and meetings to large conferences and has done so for 13 years at this hotel. She describes herself as balanced, positive, and innovative: “I never want to stop learning and I continue to look for ways to improve. I enjoy going to conferences and watching YouTube videos so I can bring back new ideas and experiences to the hotel.” Julie enjoys working with front-line staff to review what customers are asking for and what they are expecting. It could be as easy as adding another wine selection to our banquet bars or setting a room up a specific way to flow better for our guests. She loves so many aspects of her role, but her favorite is crying during the father of the bride speeches at weddings: “We work so closely with our brides for several months that I truly feel I’m part of their family.” Julie likes to think of her life and her work as a puzzle and puts the pieces together: “I have three daughters that have all grown up as the daughter of an event planner. They all know how to alphabetize place cards, set tables, create centerpieces, and they know the difference between Halal, Gluten-free, and Kosher. It’s been rewarding to watch them be Social Chairs of their sororities and plan their Spring Formals knowing that they enjoyed and learned a lot about life, cultures, and food while growing up a hospitality kid.”
What do you love most about Madison? I love the many activities that happen around the square such as the Farmers Market, Taste of Madison, and Art Fair on The Square. It is such a unique venue that I love to bring my family to when they come to visit.
Favorite Madison brunch spot? I love going to Heritage Tavern. They have great food and I see the owner giving back to the community by donating his time and expertise at various fundraisers and galas throughout the city.