July 31, 2019 4:00 am Published by

Episode 17:

Amy Zaroff is the founder and Creative Director of Amy Zaroff Events and Designs. Her mantra is “All you have is your name. Use it wisely.” As an extraordinary event planner with over 20 years of experience in a wide range of industries including television production, restaurant ownership, marketing, hospitality and event production, Amy has refined her skills in design, planning and time management. She has produced events for companies including: Target, HealthPartners, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Major League Baseball, the Minnesota Vikings and the James Beard Foundation as well as many luxury weddings and mitzvahs throughout the country. She is a mother, active Women Presidents’ Organization member, and volunteer who is truly engaged in her community. As a woman entrepreneur who is driven to please others, Amy has had to look internally to find clarity and consider her own happiness as an important part of a successful life.

What You Will Learn:

  • Amy discusses her mantra, “All you have is your name. Use it wisely.” She shares the meaning behind the mantra and explains the importance of building a trusted reputation and having nonstop enthusiasm for her work.
  • Amy explains how she has worked to put herself first more often, focus on her family more intensely, and reevaluate and redefine her priorities in life. She shares how recent life experiences have brought her a new level of clarity.
  • Amy shares why turning her business’s focus from social events like weddings and bar mitzvahs toward corporate and nonprofit events and experiential marketing helped revitalize her and brought her to a new level of passion for her work.
  • Amy shares how she learned to recognize and worry less about the things she can’t control, and she explains how this reframed her work as a woman entrepreneur so that the joy comes from the process and not just from the final product.
  • Amy discusses how her business evolved from invitation stationery and gift shop she purchased 15 years ago despite knowing little about retail. She shares how she evolved the business into event-planning and learned to shed what wasn’t working to become a more successful woman entrepreneur.
  • Amy shares how her company’s big break came when Target hired them to produce a national corporate event with 11,000 attendees, and she shares how this marked the beginning of a new era for the company.
  • Amy discusses how her company delivers an exceptional experience and builds trusted relationships with their clients. Amy explains why it’s not only important to trust your clients but for them to also gain trust in her and how she creates that culture.
  • Amy talks about the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness, and shares her struggles with anxiety especially surrounding the 9/11 attacks that took place shortly after she had her children. She shares her family’s open conversations about mental health and the importance of seeking help when it is needed.
  • Amy discusses the times that she feels most unfu♥<kwithable, and she discusses the times that she feels more vulnerable. She shares her advice about finding a good mentor that can support you, and the joy and sense of giving back found in mentoring other women entrepreneurs and business leaders.


Learning to Let Go

You’re here because you know that learning never ends. You’re the kind of entrepreneur, business owner or leader who realizes that the pursuit of a perfect life, while a worthy goal, is also an impossible one. You know there is no end to the race, and you’re ready to power through anyway. You know that the climb to the top is endless, and you’re going to make the climb anyway. In short, you’re ready to become an unf<kwithable leader.Women Entrepreneur | Creating Exceptional Experiences, with Amy Zaroff

Amy Zaroff is the founder and Creative Director of Amy Zaroff Events and Designs, a thriving event planning business focused on creating extraordinary experiences for corporate and nonprofit clients. As a woman entrepreneur who purchased a retail stationery business with no background or experience in retail management, Amy had to learn to think on her feet, adapt to her clients’ needs, and innovate creative solutions. Amy was able to turn her stationery business into a thriving event planning firm through adaptability, resilience, and recognizing opportunity.

During our conversation, Amy discusses how her passion and intense drive have been both a blessing and a curse when it comes to running her business. She shares how she worked to learn by doing and was able to scale her company while focusing on the kinds of clients she most enjoys working with. And she talks about the importance of mental health and her family’s efforts to dispel the stigma that is too often a part of the conversation. I know you’ll be inspired by Amy’s wisdom.

Control and Focus on Your Passions

As an intensely driven woman entrepreneur, Amy’s focus has always been on delighting her clients with incredible experiences and lifelong memories. However, the pressure to be “always-on” and create perfect moments has sometimes been difficult for Amy to deal with. One of the key strategies she has learned is the importance of letting go of the things she is unable to control and focus on the parts of her business that she is passionate about.

For example, Amy has shifted her company’s focus away from weddings and bar mitzvahs and moved primarily toward large-scale corporate and nonprofit events. Doing so has helped revitalize Amy and allowed her to lean into her passions of creativity and expression, rather than dealing with the micromanaging that often comes from planning more personal-scale life events like weddings. This has helped Amy avoid feeling burned out, and it has given her the ability to establish trusted relationships with her long-term clients; further leading to being a more successful woman entrepreneur. That trust is a big part of what fuels Amy’s work, and focusing on the kind of work she most enjoys doing has allowed her to avoid feeling burned out even despite the immense pressure of her work.

Recognizing and Promoting Mental Health Awareness

One of the topics Amy touched on during our conversation was the importance of self-care and mental health. As Amy explained, there is a pervasive stigma around mental health, especially in the business world and for a woman entrepreneur. However, taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body, and so Amy has worked to instill a sense of openness about the topic into her family. They have had many open, honest and frank discussions about this important topic, and about Amy’s struggles with anxiety that hit hardest after the 9/11 attacks.

To Amy and her family, there is never any shame in seeking professional mental health assistance, nor is there a reason to feel embarrassed about being prescribed mental health medications as needed. This level of mental-health positivity inspired her youngest son to create a fundraiser with another student at his high school to help break the stigma of mental health in his school. That’s an incredible, healthy and inspiring way to view mental health issues, and Amy is rightly proud of her son for recognizing and sharing with others the importance of taking care of their mental health.

I hope that my talk with Amy Zaroff inspires and energizes you as much as it did me. Please visit www.intentionalgreatnesspodcast.com for more inspiring and uplifting episodes featuring of remarkable woman entrepreneurs like this one.

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