Light the Hoan, the nonprofit organization responsible for the installation, upkeep and programming of the Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee, announced the appointment of its first executive director, Erika Smith.
Smith most recently served as program manager, client insights and sales excellence, for Fiserv. She worked for Fiserv for more than 8 years. Prior to that she worked for BMO Harris Bank for 13 years, where her roles included sales and service manager and personal banking officer.
“The lights on the Hoan Bridge have quickly become a favorite feature in Milwaukee, and an asset to our community. They represent a gateway to opportunity and we’re thrilled to welcome Erika as Light the Hoan’s first executive director,” said Light the Hoan co-founder Michael Hostad. “We are confident Erika will lead this organization in a way that will continue to champion our city in areas of STEAM, bridging art and innovation together and compelling people to call Milwaukee home for generations to come.”
At Light the Hoan, Smith’s role will include refining and executing a plan for the organization’s long-term sustainability. She also plans to prioritize Light the Hoan’s already established initiatives including Shine a Light, a campaign that spotlights one local nonprofit each month of the year by highlighting their mission and value in Milwaukee. As one of her first priorities in her new position, Smith plans to build out the Shine a Light program, starting with its 2023 campaign.
Smith will also focus on Light the Hoan’s annual intern challenge, which has brought together thousands of young professionals from a dozen Milwaukee-area businesses over the last two years. The challenge serves to develop young professionals in STEAM and provides interns with a foundational network of industry peers that keeps tech talent in Milwaukee. Smith will also advance the Code the Hoan program, which allows students to code custom lighting schemes for the Hoan Bridge’s lights. Code the Hoan aims to develop STEAM programming and inspire the next generation of tech talent.
“Light the Hoan is more than just the lights on the bridge,” said Smith. “Living in the Third Ward, I see the Hoan Bridge every day and I want everyone to know about our organization’s significance and deep impact in the community. I’m thrilled to begin a new era of Light the Hoan and to build on the momentum of the organization’s first few years.”
In the coming years, Smith also anticipates a reinvigorated effort to light the east side of the Hoan Bridge. Currently the west side of the bridge, facing the city, is lit. The east side, facing Lake Michigan, is not lit, currently.
“It’s amazing how much Light the Hoan has accomplished as a group of friends and volunteers since it was founded,” says Smith. “I’m honored to have been selected to lead and look forward to utilizing Light the Hoan as a platform to make the bridge a more interactive part of Milwaukee culture.”
[caption id="attachment_516672" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] The Hoan Bridge.[/caption]