Muskie has become a face of Sheboygan
Note: Lakeland is a talent importer, thanks to its tradition of welcoming students from all over the world to Sheboygan County and seeing many choose to call this region home. This is the latest in an ongoing series profiling Muskies who have decided to settle locally after graduation.
One piece of advice that Rachel Stankevich would tell the freshman version of herself when she arrived on Lakeland’s campus in 2014 would be to enjoy everything that Sheboygan has to offer. And in her current role as marketing manager at Visit Sheboygan, Inc., 2021 Rachel has all of the info that 2014 Rachel will need.
Stankevich, a 2018 Lakeland graduate, has become one of the faces of Sheboygan as she maintains Visit Sheboygan’s presence in tradition advertising mediums and digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. She has built a social media following on the popular Rachel’s Route, where she chronicles all the amazing food to eat and things to do in Sheboygan.
That’s a far cry from her days as a Lakeland student who rarely ventured into Sheboygan County’s biggest community.
“I honestly did not know much about Sheboygan because I never took the time to learn or even explore the area,” Stankevich said. “I knew about the Sheboygan lighthouse, mini golfing and where to get ice cream, but that was the extent of my knowledge.”
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and some great real world experience through internships, she landed a full-time job with Visit Sheboygan to help promote her new home. She dove into Visit Sheboygan’s website for a crash course on things to do, where to eat and the numerous events to attend. Her blog is written from the perspective of a tourist perspective, but even long-time residents find new nuggets of information.
“I started wandering around Sheboygan taking photos, asking locals for recommendations, bouncing from business to business and doing activities I wish I knew about as a student,” Stankevich said.
Her job also includes assisting with communications projects like development of short articles, media/journalist relations, as well as promotional events and group tour events to support Visit Sheboygan as a destination. She works closely with the creative services coordinator to help develop the creative visual aspect of advertising and brand awareness for Visit Sheboygan.
Stankevich, a Goodman, Wis., native, came to Lakeland as a basketball recruit, and it was important for her to be close to home so her family could attend her games. After touring Lakeland, the small campus felt right.
“I come from an extremely small town,” she said. “My high school graduating class was eight people … unbelievable, right? So, being at Lakeland felt like I was back home. I loved the atmosphere of the campus and the people I was being surrounded by. It took me about 15 minutes into my visit to look at my mom and say, ‘This is where I am going to school.’”
She reflects fondly on her Lakeland experience, especially noting basketball coaches Amber Peterson and Lauren Sharp and her Muskies teammates as influential people in her life.
“I think about laughing and crying with my teammates after a big win … or loss,” Stankevich said. “I think about my freshman buzzer beaters and scoring 1,000 career points. I think about our conference tournament championship win and cutting down the net. I think about study tables, going out on the weekends or meeting up with friends at the Daily Grind. I think of how I became a stronger version of myself. I think about everything because it was all a highlight for me.”
Stankevich said numerous mentors created an atmosphere of support and dedication that set her up to gain experience through internships and job shadows that led to her being hired by Visit Sheboygan before she graduated.
“Lakeland taught me to how to overcome and work around many obstacles,” she said. “My mentors encouraged me to learn more about who I am as a person and what I value in life. I was taught how to be a leader, how to prioritize and how to work harder. I do not think I would be where I am without them.”