Julianne Suleski, The Madison Club
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Julianne Suleski, business development manager, The Madison Club.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
The most challenging part of my job — as anyone in business development would tell you — is choosing whether to focus on current business or new business. The obvious answer is to do both, but how is the challenge. The Madison Club has so much going on these days with new renovations, new memberships, and a new young crowd, that it’s hard to prioritize the amount of time dedicated to each facet of the business. By far the most rewarding part of my job is the people. I get to meet newly engaged couples looking for their wedding venue, CEOs and thought leaders sharing a meal upstairs, community members who are making a difference, and young professionals who are starting their careers. The energy this building holds is overwhelming and positive, and my outlook (and my network) has expanded as a result. I can’t wait to come into work and meet someone new.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
Leah Roe because it seems there is nothing she can’t do. From starting a local nonprofit dedicated to workplace culture to creating a company assisting military wives, all while maintaining a VP role at a local startup is inspiring. She also sits on the board of directors for the YMCA and does amazing things within that community. I’ve had many opportunities to work with Leah and I always leave feeling motivated and empowered. She’s contagious, optimistic, and a brilliant role model. I think that leads to her success and I hope to learn as much as I can from her.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
After I graduated college I signed up for AmeriCorps and worked on developing an after-school program to help traditionally underserved kids with a nonprofit called ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students). We decided that ACES was really cool and we needed to develop and build out our annual fundraising event to be even bigger and better than before. It was with ACES that I discovered my passion for development, relationship building, and planning. The highlight of my career was watching as The All-Star Evening raised 50% more money than the previous year and being part of something that was bigger than myself. It was a fantastic feeling knowing that our students were getting amazing opportunities because of this event. It was extremely rewarding.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
“You have two ears and one mouth. Use them accordingly.” As the youngest of three girls we were constantly talking over one another! I feel my ability to listen developed later, when what people were saying became more important than who got to sit shotgun. It is something I still work on today, but would have been grateful to learn earlier. Communication is key to my role here at The Madison Club and listening to clients’ wants, needs, and visions is a huge part of that.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
The community here is unmatched. My husband and I relocated from Toronto and we were both instantly welcomed with open arms. People were dedicated to our success and willing to help out however they could. They even write you back when you email, and they return phone calls! Introductions, coffee meetings, business advice — people in Dane County give so much of themselves that it’s hard not to fall in love with this community. Aside from the great people, I know I will never run out of activities to do, restaurants to try, or beers to drink. The cost of living has allowed us to live an exciting and fulfilling life — something I think most people strive for!
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
I’ve been playing classical piano since I was five years old, and earned the exemplary soloist award for Wisconsin when I was 16. I won this award playing Chopin’s Nocturne in E Minor, which sparked my passion for the Romantic era. I am the fourth generation to play classical piano within my family and hope that it continues on. I’ve had the pleasure of playing at the governor’s mansion multiple times and at other events around the city.
What are your guilty pleasures?
I have an unhealthy obsession with Hallmark movies. I know the plots are all the same and the guy will always get the girl, but I could watch a marathon of these for far too long. When the holidays come around, I create a spreadsheet of when new movies come out, as well as a checklist to keep track of which ones I still need to see. It’s become such a great system that I’ve started making copies to hand out to friends and family at Thanksgiving to properly prepare!
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