Angi Allen, NovaONE Networks

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Angi Allen, director of marketing & operations, NovaONE Networks.

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

Helping others in an advisory and counseling capacity to determine the best technology solutions for their business. Dealing with decisions around voice, fiber, cloud, and internet options can be daunting for anyone, and providing the buffer to understand what their business needs are and how to provide these services optimally and at minimal cost is fulfilling. The reward is seeing the relief on their face when they have a solution that supports their business activity expeditiously and seamlessly, while our advisory ideology saves them hours of research.

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

I look up to my grandparents for building a business that endures today. They were hard-working people who cared about each other and the community around them. I grew up watching my grandparents treating everyone with respect, dignity, and offering a fair-handshake. They overcame adversity with honor and the drive to do what is right, treating other people the way you wanted to be treated. These are traits I admire and I thank my grandparents for providing this environment. I look at it this way: The people around you and the community you live in are a reflection on you — make it something to be proud of.

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

Looking back on the many opportunities I have been given and being thankful for all of them, and looking forward to the many opportunities that will still find me. I have learned a great deal in my career path, which started in manufacturing where we built special machines for original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Then I worked in a startup business, which allowed me to wear many hats and do whatever it took to get things done. Most recently I joined NovaONE Networks, which was a new industry to me and proves to be a place to keep me learning. I find being flexible in today’s world keeps you nimble.

In addition to career opportunities, I find the many people I have met along this journey to be fascinating. There are so many exceptional people who I have worked with, worked for, or simply met in passing that have in some way or another had a positive influence on me.

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

To surround yourself with people you respect and admire, learn as much form them as you can, ask questions, be genuine, be grateful, appreciate your opportunities, and explore with an open mind. On the flip side, be there for others, offer help, engage in your community, find ways to give back, and keep smiling!

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

The limitless activities. The Badgers are fun to watch no matter what the sport. There are numerous festivals and community events, including the Dane County Farmers’ Market to enjoy. Whatever your interest, Dane County has something to do any time of year.

Service above self has many avenues in our community, as well. I started volunteering at Agrace HospiceCare in 2009 and I continue to be involved in the community as an ambassador for the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. I also remain active in both the Middleton and Fitchburg Chambers. Find something you like and jump in!

The best things about working in Dane County are the limitless career opportunities. Any number of industries are represented in our area. Furthermore, there are businesses anywhere along the continuum, from startup businesses to businesses that have been here for generations. Whatever your preference, there is a place for you.

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

I am relentless in discovering a solution that maximizes value. I grew up hearing, “You get what you pay for.” Along with that I only like to pay what I need to and no more. I will walk back into a store if they have overcharged me for an item, even for a nickel — it is a matter of principal. My boss tells me that I find deals and negotiate well. I simply want the best product at the best price!

7. What are your guilty pleasures?

My favorite pastime is relaxing and spending time with friends. There is nothing better than sitting outdoors with friends and listening to Frank Sinatra while sipping a chilled beverage.

Nevertheless, I will not complain about spending time on the golf course. I’ve enjoyed many hours on the golf course, with last summer bestowing one of my favorite memories — a hole-in-one. I was playing in the By Women For Women Golf Outing. Our team started on hole 17, a 114-yard par 3. I am always apprehensive about teeing off at the first hole, so I went first to get it over with. Watching the ball after my swing, I was relieved as the ball was headed for the green and not the water hazard. I remember thinking (in relief), “Thank God” for the decent swing. My teammates started cheering as I was walking off the tee box. At that moment, I did not know what was happening. They proceeded to tell me it was a hole-in-one. I was in disbelief; however, when we got to the green, sure enough — in the cup!

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