Abbey Weiss, Bella Domicile

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Abbey Weiss, director of operations, Bella Domicile.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

I think one of the most challenging aspects for me is moving into a leadership role while still working with my professional peers. It is a switch from friendship to now being a boss. I find the friend-supervisor balance tricky, which has, at times, felt like an identity crisis for me, and one I still struggle with. I respect all of our employees and enjoy getting to know them on a personal level, as well. This is the most rewarding part for me.

Everyone at Bella Domicile is a joy to work with and it is a pleasure coming to work every day. Each employee has their own goals, along with the company goals, that they are working toward, and I love being able to see those goals accomplished and I thrive on being their biggest fan.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I was introduced to Darcy Luoma’s seminars about five years ago, and now I try to attend at least two or three a year. If you have ever attended one, you’ll understand why. She empowers women leaders and has inspired me to step up in my career.

When I started going to these seminars, I wasn’t in the professional position I am today. I was inspired by her to push my career further and create the role I am in today. In May 2015, Darcy had a seminar on exceeding expectations and the takeaway I got was to go beyond what is expected, focus on enriching someone’s life, and have an impact. That November, I spent a week in North Dakota taking my father to radiation treatments. On the quiet 14-hour drive home, and with the major emotions running through me, I sparked upon the idea of Give Back 2016.

I wanted to make an impact and go beyond what was expected, and this movement was entirely employee driven. The staff at Bella Domicile volunteered at a different nonprofit each month and we gave a percentage of our sales back to the community. To this day, Bella Domicile still volunteers for different nonprofits throughout the year.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

Am I there yet? I’ve had so many wonderful experiences such as starting our Give Back program and creating my creative director and director of operation positions at Bella Domicile, but I know there is still a lot left to my career and I’m so excited for the future.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I would tell myself to stop talking, listen more, and learn how to read faster. Early on in my career, I was worried about what other people were doing when I should have been worried about what I was doing. Self-development only comes from working on your faults and bolstering your strengths. Worrying about what someone else is doing isn’t going to help you in the long run, and it doesn’t help them.

There is also a lot of good information out there, yet I can never find the time to read it all. I crave that knowledge and want to learn from others, but I need to make reading a bigger priority. I wish I had established this habit when I was younger, so it was easier for me now, but audiobooks and podcasts are my friends!

I would also be cheering from the sidelines and tell my 21-year-old self to keep taking her time. There is plenty of time left on the clock, so she doesn’t need to rush the play.

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What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

Three things — the amazing people, the variety of activities that surround us, and the options for my kids.

For the past four years, I have been involved with Design for a Difference, and through this organization I have met so many wonderful people, from the designers I work side by side with to the hard working employees at the nonprofits we help.

The activities in Dane County are fruitful, too. From morning to night on a Saturday, we can attend the Farmer’s Market, walk down State Street, grab a bite to eat at one of the numerous restaurants that offer a variety of foods, stop at the Memorial Union for ice cream on the patio, head over to Brittingham Boats for an afternoon of paddle boarding, and then relax around our fire pit with great neighbors and friends.

Being able to raise my children in a diverse culture that enables them to see the endless possibilities in life is also a plus. Different cultures and nationalities bring things to the table that can enrich our lives in so many ways. In smaller communities or in other regions, the level of diversity we have isn’t possible, and it’s enlightening and positive to be surrounded by different beliefs, opinions, and lifestyles.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I don’t have a secret talent; however, there are a few things most people may not know about me. I really like to lift weights. In 2015 and 2016 I was working with an amazing personal trainer and was lifting weight I never thought was possible. Then life took some winding roads and I was unable to lift at the intensity I wanted. I recently started lifting again with a new group of incredible women. I love how empowered I feel after time in the gym.

I grew up in North Dakota living full-time with my mom and sisters on the eastern part of the state. My father had a farm on the western side of the state, so we traveled back and forth quite a bit. I attribute my strong work ethic to watching my mom work two jobs while going to college and raising three children. I attribute my “roll up the sleeves and git ’er done attitude” to working with my dad on the farm.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Eighties pop music, chick flicks like Clueless, Mannequin, or Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and dark chocolate will make my day. I love to dance and lip sync with my kids. My son will often say to his sister, “She’s weird, but it’s OK because we love her.” It’s fun introducing the kids to old-school music, so they grow up knowing the classics.

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