Meet Event Planner Nicole Zenner of LK Events, LLCAugust 24th, 2015 | hereschicago
Jim Grillo, CMP of HeresChicago.com interviews Nicole Zenner of LK Events, LLC for this month’s Meet an Event Planner segment.
How did you get into event planning? The first event I ever planned was my junior year high school prom. I was hooked. I did some event planning in college and then fell into advertising when I graduated from college. But advertising did not have my heart and within 5 years I was back into planning and coordinating weddings. I began my professional career by volunteering at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and working with Rita Swanson from Premier Planning Services.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life? Overall in my life, my mother has been my biggest influence. She is the epitome of the hardest working woman and most selfless woman I have ever met in my life. She is my hero and I hope I can be even half the woman that she is during my lifetime.
What kinds of things really make you laugh? A dry, sarcastic sense of humor gets me every time. I also love people that can tell really good stories, because most good storytellers can have you laughing so hard you cry.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? This is such a tough question. I think physically, my favorite place on earth is Chicago. But emotionally, my favorite place is with my family and friends.
Who is your best friend? What do you like about him/her? So I have had this situation all of my life, but I literally have 10 best friends. All of these friends would drop anything they are doing to come support me if I needed them. All of these friends make me laugh. All of these friends have held my hand when I’ve cried and supported me when I was too proud to ask for help. All of these friends inspire me in so many ways. I am very blessed to have these best friends, and while some of them have changed over the years, I have been extremely lucky to find such amazing people in this world that I do consider best friends.
What is your favorite movie of all time? Why so? Hands down, “The Godfather.” There is just something about the American Mafia that has always intrigued me and it was a beautiful movie in every way.
What’s your biggest goal in life right now? Honestly, I’m in between goals right now. I just recently achieved a few big goals that I had for years, so I am taking a few months to enjoy that success before I set my eyes on the next big goal.
What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday? When I am not working with my couples on a Saturday, I love to get out and explore Chicago – either through a festival or meeting up with friends. In the Fall, you can find me at a local establishment watching college football.
Do you have any pet peeves? I’m a pretty laid back person and if someone is bothering me, I just zone out, rather than get too annoyed with them. That said, an adult chewing with their mouth open, people that take up the entire sidewalk and walk slowly, and poor customer service are the first things to get on my nerves.
What was your family like growing up? Amazing. I was very blessed to grow up with two parents that loved each other and loved me and my twin brothers. I had a very good childhood and that has definitely formed my thinking and personality as an adult.
What were you like as a kid? I am the first born in my family and a Capricorn, so I liked to follow the rules and also be in control. I also was quite independent and enjoyed quiet time reading many books.
What should I know about you that I’d never think to ask about? I am a survivor of gun violence. When I was 23 years old, a young adult male tried to hijack my car and fired a shot at me. By the grace of God, I escaped with only minor permanent hearing loss in my left ear. I did not know this person and was not in a bad part of town, it was a random act of violence that has forever changed me. I am quite concerned with the level of violence that occurs in Chicago, and in America, and believe that I have a purpose here now to educate others on gun violence and help support other survivors.
Did you—or do you—have a nickname? What’s the story behind it? Quite simply, my nickname is Nikki. It is the name I grew up with and actually fits my personality quite well.
What type of events you plan? LK Events is a full service event planning company where our focus is on planning effortless chic weddings. That said, we also help clients plan trade shows, galas, corporate dinners, and conferences. There are four of us on the team – Lauren, myself, Jennifer and Allison – and we just love connecting people with the right team of event professionals to make their event spectacular.
What type of music do you love? I’m a fan of pretty much every genre; however, my favorite genre is hip-hop/rap. I can’t wait to see a Tupac & Notorious B.I.G. concert when I get to heaven.
What do you love about planning events in Chicago? Chicago is a city full of rich history, architecture and some of the best event professionals in the world. It is such a joy to help my couples and clients get to experience all of those with their wedding or event.
What is your favorite restaurant or bar (Personally)? I’m not sure someone in Chicago can have just 1 favorite restaurant or bar. I have many favorites, not only because of the food and drink served, but because of the moments I have had there with friends and colleagues – Hub 51, Frasca, Quartino, Matchbox, The Kerryman, Wakamono, Hamburger Mary’s, The Publican, Sunda, Timothy O’Toole’s, Hutch, Big Star, Bang Bang Pie Shop, Glascott’s, The Dark Horse, uncommon ground…
Future trends in event planning? I’m very intrigued to see how technology is going to continue to change how we plan and experience events.
What does it take to be a successful event planner? With any profession, it takes passion and hard work to be a successful event planner. You must have an innate ability to help your clients and other event professionals and you must want to continue to learn more about the industry and be flexible in your business.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about helping my couples and clients. That is why I jump out of bed every day, why I meet with them at 7pm, why I work a 14 hour day on event day. I love what I do every single day.
What do you recommend for others who want to get into the event planning profession? The best way to learn more about events is to 1) study hospitality courses in college, 2) volunteer to shadow other event professionals, 3) get involved in an event Association.
Do you have any Association affiliations? I do! I am actually the Chapter President of ISES Chicago. The International Special Events Society provides members with Collaborative Networking, Education & Professional Development, Inspiration, and Outward Awareness and Credibility. I have been a member since 2010 and credit my involvement in ISES to the success and growth I have experienced as a business woman with LK Events.
Are you a Cubs or Sox fan? Cubs fan. Not only do I live on the North Side, but I grew up in MN. There is no way I would ever be a Sox fan. Go Twins!
What’s your go-to meal when you’re home alone? I make a very good street taco. I prepare my own tortillas and use ground pork with some spices. I top it off with some diced white onions, cilantro, monterey jack cheese and tapatio sauce. Yum!
What are your thoughts about Hereschicago.com? It is the #1 event resource for Chicago events and also provides the largest platform in Chicago for event professionals to network and promote their business. We are very fortunate to have such a trusted resource in Chicago!
Nicole Zenner is the senior event consultant at LK Events, LLC and can be reached at: