029: Constant improvement through networking with Steph Salvia

About Steph Salvia

Steph is the Executive Director for Brady Street’s Business Improvement District and Historic Downer Avenue’s Business Improvement District. Steph grew up out in Brookfield but her mom constantly took her and her brother down to Brady Street to buy imported Italian cheese from Glorioso’s for her Sicilian grandma’s meatball recipe. Sometimes they’d wander over to Downer Avenue afterward for a gelato at the former Coffee Trader. It’s somewhat serendipitous that she ended up as Director for both of these amazing districts! Steph has over 15 years of experience in non-profits, public relations and outreach. She received her bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee and her Master’s degree from Mount Mary in Milwaukee. In her free time she enjoys traveling with (and sometimes without) her family, local live music, CrossFit, and yoga. She is also a bit of a book nerd…


What exactly is a Business Improvement District?

·         “A Business Improvement District is where businesses pay a special kind of tax that then gets put into the events and improvements in that specific area.”

Can you tell us about Brady St. and Downer Ave?

·         “Brady Street is about 10 blocks running east to west almost from the river to the lake. Downer Avenue is much smaller and runs along the lake. In my role, I manage and contract for improvements, holiday lights, and events on those streets.”

What types of social media do you use?

·         “Brady Street’s social really took off! I’ve been there for about 9 years and when I started we really didn’t have an outlet. I set up both Twitter and Facebook and those accounts grew pretty quickly I’ve stuck with them and tried my best to do them very well!”


Share with us one of your best networking stories

·         “When I had first started the Twitter account, there were lots of twitter meetups. One of the businesses on Brady Street hosted a meetup and there was a woman who was extremely excited to meet the person behind @BradystreetBID.”


How do you stay in front of your network or community?

·         “For me, it’s a lot more social than traditional networking. In my position, I could do something every night and still not meet everyone. I meet new people everyday and it helps me connect with the community.”


What advice do you have for business professionals looking to grow their networks?

·         “I think one of the most important things I learned when I was growing my network was, to be honest. People can tell when you’re dishonest on social media.”


Digital networking or traditional networking?

·         “I can’t pick one over the other because I think they’re so intertwined that you can’t separate them. You meet someone on social media and then you connect with them in person at an event.”


If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

·         “When I was 20, I was doing collections for a hospital and it was not a good thing for me, it wasn’t a good fit! I don’t think I would’ve changed it though because at 20, you don’t know what you want to do or who you want to be. If I had to tell myself something, I would say to stop worrying about little things.”


Who would you love to connect with and do you think you could do it within 6 degrees?

·         “You might think this is a little weird but since I’m such a book nerd, I would love to meet Stephen King because he’s such an incredible author and business person. And, now that I’m thinking about it, I could head right over to Boswell Books and talk to Daniel Gold in there and I bet he could figure it out for me!”


What book are you reading right now?

·         “So, one of the books I’m reading is called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** and the reason I’m reading this is because it seems like everyone is so obsessed with being happy. It’s just such a weird thing to me, or people are just uncomfortable if they are going through a rough time personally or professionally and this book says that’s okay.”

Any final words of advice for our listeners??

·         “Just keep it real! That’s probably the best thing to connect with people cause they’ll know.,”


You can get in contact with Steph at:

Email her at: BradystreetBID@gmail.com

Tweet at her at: @BradystreetBID