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Meet our Team: Kim Saleik, Event Director

Meet our Team: Kim Saleik, Event Director

Kim Saleik Head shot

Where are you from?

I was born in Washington, DC but have always lived in Maryland. My family roots stem from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Go Steelers!

What do you spend your free time doing?

Spending time with family and friends, visiting great restaurants and local wineries, dancing, travelling, going to beaches, mountains – just wherever. Meeting people and experiencing places.

What made you interested in the event world?

I started my career in a lot of different areas, and throughout I really enjoyed working with people and creating a high level of service. I did everything from public relations to corporate, and found that I consistently gravitated toward the event side of things. It was sort of my niche. Part of my job then was managing community relations, so I was doing events for inner city kids that were programmatic – seeing the event through from beginning to end. I really enjoyed putting together the whole program, the strategy, the design of what that was. It was anything from designing an 18-wheeler that was outfitted to meet certain community needs to teaching kids how to call 911 – that’s where I really started to know that my interests lay in events.

What was your major in college?

I didn’t go to college. I went to work right out of high school. I got an internship at the World Bank that summer, it was meant to be a 3-month internship – so while my friends were at the beach I was waking up early and working! My 3 month stint at the World Bank turned into 3 years. I was the youngest person there and (if you can believe it) was the one teaching all the older folks how to use technology. Our first word processing system was Word Perfect and we had to use typewriters and white out! I decided to stay on because I thought it was good experience and really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I eventually ended up going to MCI and was there for twelve and a half years – I thought I wanted to be an accountant! But I was bored out of my mind and one day I’m wandering around the office and I wander into the office of the Director of PR – he had a stack of over a hundred resumes and when I came in there and said I’m interested in learning and I want to work for you, he picked up the stack of resumes and said “why am I bothering with these when you’re standing here and you’re excited and you’re ready to work. You’ve got the job” – and that’s where my event career started.

How did you end up at Linder?

After my twelve and a half years there, MCI was acquired by WorldCom which created a lot of redundancies within the company. Our whole community relations department was laid off and I went to work for a web hosting company called Digex. One of my day assignments was for the CFO who had been the CFO at MCI. I told him that I really wanted to get into the event side of things and he said “you should meet the VP of Marketing – if you can be patient I can get you in for an interview.” So after that introduction I started managing their east and west coast events, internal and external, and all of their partnership events – basically anything they wanted to do. I hired Rebecca for an event while she was working in catering – we drove each other a little nuts. But that’s how we met – and in one of those conversations she told me about how she was interested in starting a new company. She asked me if I’d make the leap from corporate to private. We started a yearlong dialogue and then she got a little bit more serious, and a bit more serious, and a bit more serious. I had 15 years’ worth of corporate background – and she made an offer. I took a total leap of faith. Quit my job. We eventually moved from that small studio apartment to 2164 Wisconsin and then to 2150 Wisconsin. Where we are now. We went from local, to nationwide, to global.

What’s the best perk of the job or favorite part of working here?

There are so many. The fact that the company invests in us. That they invest in me as a professional. And the happy hours aren’t too bad either – where everyone gets together and we can just be ourselves. And softball!

What is something most people don’t realize that event planners do?

Everything that we do. We don’t plan parties, in the casual sense. It’s not glamorous. They don’t realize that we do everything from contract negotiation to strategy to scoping to budget to final billing…and everything in between.

Is there a particular role during events that you enjoy working the most?

Video production – because it gets up close and personal with people and it evokes emotion and it’s set to music. To me it sets a tone and tenor, it really creates and drives a message, an emotion, a feeling.

Have you gotten to travel anywhere because of this job?

My first international trip was to Dubai and I had to get a passport because I didn’t have one! I’ve also now been to Istanbul, Jakarta, Cancun, Chile (most recently) and a ton of places nationwide as well. But international travel was something new and different to me. Before Linder, everywhere I’d traveled I’d been able to use a birth certificate. So that was exciting.

What is your dream event to plan?

The Superbowl Halftime Show – because I love sports. The other one I’d like to plan would be a fashion show like Victoria’s Secret or New York Fashion Week – that would be kind of fun!

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