The newest face on the Lake Geneva tourism scene is a seasoned event planner who is anxious to work on drawing new visitors to the community.
Stephanie Copsey, who currently works as a private wedding planner in Lake Geneva, has been hired as the first-ever staff employee of the city tourism commission.
As the commission’s special events coordinator, Copsey is charged with booking and promoting events at such Lake Geneva venues as the Riviera, Geneva Theatre and the Lake Geneva Public Library.
Members of the tourism commission selected Copsey from about 50 applicants for the job.
Tammie Carstensen, chairwoman of the commission, said she is confident that Copsey is the right choice for a new staff position that city officials have been planning to fill for more than a year.
“I’m very excited to be part of this milestone for the city,” Carstensen said. “This is a huge opportunity for us.”
The tourism commission’s objective of promoting tourism specifically in Lake Geneva is different than VISIT Lake Geneva’s more regional focus, and also different than the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District’s mission of supporting downtown businesses.
The position is part-time and will pay $32,000 a year from hotel room tax revenue controlled by the tourism commission.
Copsey said she is excited to combine her affection for Lake Geneva with her professional background in event planning and promotion.
Working on behalf of several different venues in the community, she said, will be a change from her past experience planning weddings for individual clients and managing events for one specific venue.
“It’s a challenge for me to look at everything from a slightly different perspective, but it’s also exciting,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”
Copsey, 35, is owner of Stephanie Lynn Lake Geneva LLC, a wedding planning service that helps brides and grooms coordinate their matrimonial events at such local spots as the Grand Geneva Hotel & Resort.
Before that, she worked in Denver, Colorado, first as catering sales manager for the Colorado Convention Center and then as director of catering, sales and events for the Denver Athletic Club.
A native of the Chicago area, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2005 with a degree in public relations and marketing. She and her husband moved to Lake Geneva in early 2017, when she started her wedding planning business.
Another local business owner who has gotten to know Copsey encouraged her to pursue the city tourism job.
Doug Jackson, owner of Studio Winery in Lake Geneva, said he recognized that Copsey’s work experience and her personality would make her a strong candidate for leading new efforts to promote the city to out-of-town groups and tourists.
“She’s a go-getter,” Jackson said. “She is really, really good at what she does.”
Since moving to Lake Geneva, Copsey has worked occasionally at Studio Winery as a wine-tasting hostess.
Members of the city tourism commission narrowed the field of applicants from 50 to about 15 strong candidates, then interviewed four finalists before agreeing to hire Copsey.
Carstensen said that while Copsey has lived in Lake Geneva for less than two years, the job applicant demonstrated an impressive knowledge and awareness of the city.
“She did her homework,” Carstensen said. “She probably knew more than I do about our area.”
The tourism commission was created last year, and officials have since been working on the idea of hiring a staff person.
Because the commission is a city agency funded by tax dollars, the Lake Geneva City Council reviewed the hiring and offered its endorsement Oct. 8 of an employment contract with Copsey.
Copsey will work as an independent contractor for the tourism commission rather than become a city employee.
She plans to scale back her wedding planning business and work about 20 hours a week as Lake Geneva’s new tourism special events coordinator. Other venues that she will be trying to promote include Geneva Lake Museum, Horticultural Hall and the Geneva Lakes Family YMCA.
Copsey said she looks forward to introducing herself to all the different local venues, and then going to work to bring new activities and events to those places.
Once she identifies new business prospects, she said, she takes pride in instilling them with confidence and delivering good results for them.
“Relationship building is one of my biggest passions,” she said. “They can trust me, and know that they are in good hands.”