Melissa Luebbe, ’01 LAS, has an energized personality and the schedule to prove it. A packed agenda of back-to-back phone calls one day in late April followed a presentation and media panel at a major tourism conference in North Dakota. The following week, she crisscrossed Indiana for the Road Rally Campaign she developed for National Travel and Tourism Week. And the future will only get busier—a lot busier. Luebbe remains the national travel director for Meredith, the Des Moines, Iowa-based magazine giant that boasts 100 million subscribers and is a key industry trendspotter. She also was just appointed publisher of Midwest Living, the first woman ever to head the magazine’s business side.
“Every new cover of Midwest Living,” she says, “inspires millions of people to decorate their homes in a special way and to take advantage of everything the Midwest offers. It’s a region of high-quality cities, but also a place to appreciate all the byways and small towns in between.”
Luebbe loves to rattle off all of the assets of the Midwest, such as its affordable allure for new restaurants and its influx of technology firms.
A Midwest stalwart and native of East Peoria, Ill., Luebbe liked attending Illinois so much she admits to rarely visiting Chicago.
“Then two weeks after I graduated, I moved into a little studio apartment and never turned back.” Now, she is the first publisher of Midwest Living to be based in Chicago.