In February, Laura Herschleb was named the next World Dairy Expo general manager. Progressive Dairy
Schmitz audrey
Editor / Progressive Dairy
Editor Audrey Schmitz recently spoke with her about her new role, goals she would like to accomplish and what she is looking forward to most about this year’s upcoming World Dairy Expo.

Laura HerschlebLaura Herschleb
General Manager
World Dairy Expo

Why did you choose to bethe new World Dairy Expo general manager?

HERSCHLEB: I have had various opportunities to work and be a part of the World Dairy Expo team throughout my career, which has been incredibly formative. I have truly enjoyed all those opportunities, and growing up in the dairy industry and gaining a very deep appreciation for the grandeur that is World Dairy Expo. So when the opportunity to pursue the general manager position became available, I thought, “Well, what the heck, I’ll throw my name in the ring.”

What previous and current positions have you held?

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HERSCHLEB: Before I joined the World Dairy Expo team, I had been doing freelance work, including some contract work for World Dairy Expo. Prior to that, I served as the vice president of strategic marketing for Badgerland Financial, and during my time there, we merged with AgStar Financial Services and First Farm Credit Services to become Compeer Financial. Prior to that was when I served as the cattle show manager at World Dairy Expo. So in my time with expo all added up, I’ve served as the dairy cattle show manager, I’ve served as marketing manager, I’ve helped in the education space, and with the meeting space as well. Right now, I’m helping with our trade show. So I’ve really tried to learn as much as possible firsthand about all the different facets of the show. I know I still have lots more to learn, so I’ll try to leverage all those experiences as I set forth into my next role.

What are your new responsibilities?

HERSCHLEB: As the general manager, I’ll be engaging with the dairy leaders who serve on our board of directors as well as our committees to host the event of the year for the global dairy industry. In addition to working with those dairy leaders, I will be working with our staff, an incredibly dedicated group of individuals. I’ll also be working to build relationships with county and state officials and looking at what we have been doing, opportunities to make improvements for the future and really have a very strategic focus in what expo is doing today, but then also looking ahead to the future. We’ll be working on our strategic plans for the next five years. After this year’s show, that’ll be something I’ll be actively involved in. It’s a wide variety of responsibilities, but really it’ll focus in on engaging directly with our board, our staff, our committees and incredible stakeholders who make it all happen.

What strengths do you bring to this new role?

HERSCHLEB: I believe my experience in the different facets of World Dairy Expo will be valuable and a strength as I go into this position. I know I have lots to learn, but I also feel like I have some foundational knowledge that will be beneficial. I’m also very passionate about the dairy industry and about all aspects of our show. From the cattle show to our trade show, to the education and everything in between. I know it takes all those different parts of the show to make World Dairy Expo the very best event for the global dairy industry it can be.

What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?

HERSCHLEB: Above all else, to guide expo forward to meet the needs of the dairy industry of today and tomorrow. While we honor the traditions that have made expo the world-renowned event it is, we wouldn’t be here today without the legendary folks who paved the way for expo over the last 55 years. We’re going to keep looking ahead, just like the dairy industry is continuing to modernize and gain efficiencies. World Dairy Expo is going to be there to support the industry.

What are you looking forward to most about this year’s upcoming World Dairy Expo?

HERSCHLEB: More than anything, just welcoming folks back to Madison, where it’s such an adrenaline rush to have the show here and to be putting so much time and energy into it. I am just so excited to see it come together. I feel like I’ll be looking at it through a different set of eyes. I’ve seen it before and have been so fortunate to be involved in different aspects of it, but it’ll definitely be a different perspective, which will be very exciting.

What is a fond memory you have from World Dairy Expo?

HERSCHLEB: My most fond memory is the reunion the event fosters. I was very lucky when I was in college to work for the UW–Madison Badger Dairy Club with friends behind the scenes at expo. So now I see a lot of my friends throughout the week of the show who are involved in the industry or are showing and things like that. It’s like coming home, and it’s a big family reunion getting back together and being able to just relive all those fun memories and create new ones.

What are your annual traditions while at World Dairy Expo?

HERSCHLEB: Eating grilled cheese sandwiches and having chocolate shakes. That’s a must. And having ice cream from the GEA ice cream stand in the Exhibition Hall.  end mark

Audrey Schmitz