Abby Polnow, FPC Live

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Abby Polnow, senior special events manager, FPC Live.

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

One of the most challenging parts of my job is keeping six venues straight and staying organized with all of the events. The venues all have different pricing, layouts, capacities, etc., and it is important that the client receives the best customer service possible. The most rewarding aspect of my job is to have the client you’ve been working with for an entire year walk into the event space and have their jaws drop or see them start to cry tears of happiness. All of the work that goes in to planning for one day pays off in that very minute. Happy guests are the reason I do what I do.

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

I will always admire Kristie Sams, who owns C&C Event Planning and Mgt Inc. in Chicago. In college, I called every event planner in the book and she was the only one who answered my call, met me at my college for a meeting, took me under her wing, and showed me the ropes of the event planning business. She didn’t ever have to take the time out of her day to do any of this but she did, and because of her I started my career in catering and events at The Drake Hotel in Chicago and it took off from there. I couldn’t be more grateful for her!

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

The high point of my career was accepting a position with FPC Live to not only manage all of their special events for six venues but to develop the special events department from the ground up. Everything from implementing brand-new systems to working with the creative department on all marketing material, as well as planning and executing all of the special events.

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

Follow your passion, work hard, put in your time, and the rewards will follow.

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

I grew up in Madison, moved away for eight years, and came back in 2011. Living in Dane County as an adult is extremely different than being a kid growing up here. You feel more connected to the community, and you can participate in meetings/networking events and groups that allow you to meet so many new people who value similar things. You have the chance to make a difference by being a part of the GMCVB or other organizations that provide you the platform to share your knowledge from your industry and move the needle forward.

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

A secret a lot of people don’t know is that I played violin for nine years. I haven’t picked it up since high school so I don’t know how good I’d be now, but it definitely was a part of my life I really enjoyed and miss doing sometimes! Playing with an orchestra is an unbelievable feeling — being able to create music like we did was a great experience!

What are your guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasure is to indulge in all of the bridal and event reality television shows. On a dreary Sunday, you can find me in front of the TV watching Say Yes to the Dress, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, and David Tutera’s CELEBrations, to name a few. Anything wedding and special-event related is right up my alley, whether at work or not.

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