Extraordinary Events Podcast

Ep 63: Career Confidence with Rachel Polin

March 25, 2021 Extraordinary Events
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 63: Career Confidence with Rachel Polin
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 63: Career Confidence with Rachel Polin
Mar 25, 2021
Extraordinary Events

In this podcast episode, I am joined by the amazing Rachel Polin. Rachel, a former student, now serves as the Director of Growth at MediaMonks. Listen and hear about how Rachel got her start in the Hospitality industry, the variety of amazing opportunities that Rachel has had during her career, as well as a story of how she had the opportunity to ride on a private jet for work at the young age of 22. 

If you want to come to our April 1st event, Level Up Your Event Game, send an email to [email protected] and I will send you your own coupon code with money off of the event at registration! 

If you are interested in learning more about Level Up Your Event Game, please visit our website at levelupyoureventgame.com

Show Notes Transcript

In this podcast episode, I am joined by the amazing Rachel Polin. Rachel, a former student, now serves as the Director of Growth at MediaMonks. Listen and hear about how Rachel got her start in the Hospitality industry, the variety of amazing opportunities that Rachel has had during her career, as well as a story of how she had the opportunity to ride on a private jet for work at the young age of 22. 

If you want to come to our April 1st event, Level Up Your Event Game, send an email to [email protected] and I will send you your own coupon code with money off of the event at registration! 

If you are interested in learning more about Level Up Your Event Game, please visit our website at levelupyoureventgame.com

Dr. K: Hello, hello everybody. I am so, so excited to have a special guest on the podcast today. She is phenomenal. I'm so excited to share her with the world. Today we have Rachel Polen. She is the director of growth at Media Monks. And you might be saying, what is that? What is director of growth? What is media monks, and you will find out all about it. Rachel is so amazing. And I have known her for almost a decade now, which is crazy to think about. So thank you so much, Rachel, for being on the podcast today. Do you want to take a moment and introduce yourself and what you do?

Rachel: Sure, super excited. Super, super excited to be here. I feel like I'm coming like full circle thus far in my life, being able to speak to you since you taught me at UNLV. So the Director of Growth. My role is really focusing on bringing new clientele in all different forms that might be working with existing clientele that have, you know, only been with us for a certain amount of time and we want to do more business with them. And or finding new clients in all fields. 

Media Monks is an end to end production agency. And they are part of the escor capital, which is owned by Sir Martin Sorrell, who is trying to make this beast of the modern agency, which is super dope. And it's all things you can think of you need from an agency, some sort of escor capital agency will have for you. Media Monks started in Amsterdam, they are a Dutch company and moved to LA in 2001. So from there, we have been just really killing the game. It sounds terrible to say that we kind of benefited from COVID but the company did. We do everything from virtual events to embedded teams that we work with specific tech companies that I am unable to name on this podcast. We also do full film production, AR, VR, you name it, we can do it. It's really cool. And the world is possibilities from there.

Dr. K: So Rachel, you mentioned just a little bit that you were one of my past students, I love, love, love to have former students on the podcast specially on these industry spotlights. I've had students from all the universities that I’ve taught at at this point. You I can so distinctly remember you I think as a teacher, you have 1000s of students that come through your classes, and you just can tell you can automatically tell when someone gets it and someone's gonna just excel. And I distinctly remember you in my capstone advanced events class, I remember where you sat, I remember your attitude, which has definitely served you in this industry.

And I just knew then that you would make it. So tell us about your journey you graduated, I believe in like 2013 or 12 or 13. So tell us what you did in school, and then you graduated, and then how you ended up being director of growth at Media Monks.

Rachel:  Yeah, that was the nicest way to explain that I was a pain in the, I don't know if I'm allowed to say certain words on this podcast, so I won't. So during UNLV I actually worked the entire time, unfortunately, wasn't privileged enough to not work. But also in a way it got me ahead. And I think that that was amazing. I started at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which I owe so much to. It was so great to work there. I was there within the first five years that they opened as a casino in general and they were working and developing so many things internally where I really got to touch so many different aspects of the overall way that they do business and almost kind of got to create my own role. I was very, very lucky enough to session, I started as a host at the front door at the pool. And from there the following year, they asked me if I wanted to join the management team. And it started with just doing hiring and scheduling of 250+ humans, which is a lot. And then it moved into being able to help develop, you know, the overall event, category and offerings at the pool. I got to work with the banquets team, which any nighttime event needed to run through the banquets team, all daytime events, we got toast ourselves, we were killing it that year, we made I think within like, the six core months of the summer, we grossed like $4 million just at the pool in and that was all cabana and daybed reservations. Like we were definitely just selling and wheeling and dealing. And it was so amazing. And I think that's where I kind of started learning that I could basically sell anything.

It's all about you know, your excitement and your voice, and pretending that whatever you're selling them is cool enough for anyone to pick up an offer. But from there, I kind of decided, “Hey, I really wanted to focus on what I went to UNLV for which was event marketing, and I saw a position open at MGM Grand into the special events team. And I interviewed with them. And it was just like a match made in heaven. And it was so interesting to really learn what casino events mean people think, they don't even know what it means actually. And it's everything from planning some beautiful, beautiful events, but also the legality behind it of of getting these these rules and contracts made so people can play poker tournaments and when they win money that all the contracts are there and the taxes that need to be taken out and all the forms they need to fill out it's so interesting.

And then, you know, it was prior to T-Mobile arena being in Las Vegas. So all of the big entertainment events were hosted at MGM Grand Garden Arena, which also was just like such an epic time to be there. Again, I feel so lucky in my career, started my career off at the Cosmopolitan making my own core, like what I wanted to do type of job. And then I go to, you know, MGM kind of the same. I told him I wanted to focus on large events. I wanted to learn how to call shows, I wanted to you know, really just be in the nitty gritty like true production. And they gave it to me and it was amazing.

The other really cool part was at the time MGM Grand didn't, well MGM resorts didn't have a full Event Management Department for their corporate offices. So we also got to do that. It was amazing. And shout out to Betty Gain Snyder if she ever listens to this because she was definitely to this day, the best boss I've ever had, love her. She also gave me advice to move to Los Angeles to kind of jumpstart my career and make a little bit more of the money I deserved. And it was also the best advice I ever had. And that just makes me want to full circle back to her and say like, that's really what makes a good leader like she was willing to tell me what I needed to do to be where I needed to be. Even though you know, she didn't want me to go, she told me what to do, which is just beautiful. And again, that's why she was the best boss I've ever had. 

Got to LA started working for a really small production company where we hosted like, sort of like awkward Hollywood celebrity, house parties and it was just uncomfortable, just not for me.

So then I moved over to George V. Johnson, where I really focused in automotive marketing, again, never thought I'd be an automotive marketing. When you think of it, you think of like, that doesn't sound like fun is very straightforward, cut and dry. But it was beautiful. And I was able to really focus on sponsorships and partnerships and sporting events and music festivals and film festivals, which then landed me at MediaMonks  where I get to kind of basically do the same thing. But hand it off to other people to fulfill it, which I'm okay with at this point.

Dr. K: You have had just such an incredible career, and you're still so young. And I just I've so enjoyed keeping up with you over the years, like every two or three years, we end up getting on a Zoom or a phone call or something and just catching up. And so for our podcast listeners today, you've had just such an amazing career. What was?  I have so many questions I'm going to come off of your story with but so let's start first, your student, your student mine in this class, and you are already getting experience, and then you graduate. And then you accept your first like full time career minded goal. You're like jumping in, what was the most surprising thing to you positive or negative? What was the most surprising thing transitioning from being, you know, a student learning about this and getting your feet wet? and doing some things that cosmopolitan into this is the career forever for me?

Rachel: Yeah, I think there's a lot of things. But I think one thing was when you have such high expectations for yourself, and how well you want to do, not everyone has those for themselves. Everybody's work ethic is different. I think. I think I always knew that. Obviously, like, in elementary school, you're in group projects, you always know other people have different work ethic. But I actually grew up in the hospitality industry. My father is an event planner, and I'm probably that's why it's in my blood. And I just remember seeing him and his friends. And they were always so eager, and they were always gunhoe. And so I just assumed everyone was like that. Because also it's so many hours. Like, if you're not like that, you have to have some sort of passion in this. And I know that that's such a typical thing everyone always says is the passion for the industry. But you really do. Because the amount of hours you're putting in if you don't like it, then you just probably feel like your life is being wasted away. So I feel like the biggest learning curve I had when I got into the actual industry was that not everyone was excited and eager. And we could also say aggressive as myself.

Dr. K: There are so many reasons why I love this answer. And I'm just laughing so much. Because the number of students that have said, You know, I always do group projects and the number of students that have come to me and said, Well, this is it like it is when we graduate and go into the industry because then people care because they're getting paid. And I'm like news fact, people don't care at the level you care just because they're getting paid like not at all your motivation and passion levels are very different. Some people are in it to make a difference. They're in it because they care. They're in it because they love it. And there's people that are in it because it's a paycheck, and those are very, very different. 

Okay, so second question off of your spin off, you've had such a wide variety of roles, just so many different roles all within events. What's your favorite memory in events? Share with our podcast listeners today! 

Rachel: Oh, I have a good one. And I'm very fortunate that this all happened. So

at different casinos for casino guests, there is a, if no one knows this, there is a room at every casino. Watch, I'm probably going to get like an email after this. And you shouldn’t have told me there's a room at every casino that is full, full of sign memorabilia. And basically when, for instance, someone loses a lot of money. And they're like, “Oh my gosh, how do we make this person happy again?” They can just go into this room of signed beautiful memorabilia and get something out. And it could be like, Mayweather signed, you know, some boxing gloves or, you know, some sort of NFL player signed a helmet. And it's like, they give it to them, they gift it, and it makes them happy. And they come back and they lose more money, which pays for everybody's, you know, careers and jobs. 

So there is insurance that you can purchase for all of this sign memorabilia to ship to you. It is highly expensive. It's a very expensive thing. It's like millions of dollars, no matter and it's based on how much money everything's worth, but it's still as millions of dollars just to start with. So one day, I get a call from my boss at MGM Grand and she's like, “Listen, we are getting in the shipment of all these like signed NFL helmets. But we really don't want to spend the money to ship them here. Do you mind going on our private jet to Baltimore? Getting on this private jet to Baltimore. Going into the practice facility of the Baltimore Ravens, seeing I think it was Joe Flacco I'm terrible. I'm not know nothing about the NFL, seeing Joe Flacco watching him sign everything taking photos so that we can get it often authenticated. And then flying back. And like, “Sure, I'll go on your private jet that I'll probably never be on in my entire lifetime.” So I go on this private jet thinking it's just like gonna be just great, just as a private jet. Well, what I find out is Jim Moran, who is the president of MGM resorts at the time, he wanted to go somewhere, too. And he heard that I was taking a private jet. So why not just be cost effective and doing it together. 

So then I get on this private jet with Jim Moran, who I mean, a he's a sweet man be I also, I don't know if anyone can tell from my personality at this point and to intimidate by nobody. So I, you know, chatted up the whole time, but since he's on there, it's also full service. So I have like a gourmet, like, almost that's made by the chef in the back and like all these like beautiful things that normally I would assume I wouldn't have gotten on the private jet just because I was you know, Joe Schmo flying to go pick up some helmets. So then when I get there, because I'm picking up millions of dollars, I also have my own private security. I was like a celebrity so I get picked up in this escalate with my own private security. And that drives me to the Ravens practice facility where then I meet Joe Flacco and he's like signing all the helmets. And then we you know me in the security, we put it back into the car and I have to stay overnight. 

Well, this is like the most nerve wracking part of the story. They decided they wanted to put everything in my hotel room overnight. So I'm like in my hotel room, contemplating do I even go out to like get food because like I'm so nervous about these millions of dollars of like, signed NFL memorabilia in my room like what am I going to do? It was fine. I was just being dramatic. And in the morning we get back on the private plane. We make our one stop to pick Jim Moran back up where we dropped him off in the first place. Again, gourmet like meal like three meals too, it was like, every time I felt like I was done eating, they asked me if I wanted a snack and it was like beautiful fruit. And we made it home and I got all the memorabilia in there. But again To this day, definitely the most amazing story I have. And I was like, What? Maybe 22. So it was, I was living up living it up.

Dr. K: Oh my gosh, I'm just I'm so good that I'm on mute. Because I'm just dying over here. I can only imagine because I knew you back in the day. And I can only imagine. Oh my gosh, that's so hilarious. So as we're wrapping up the podcast today, I know that the listeners of the podcast are just loving every moment of you, you have such a contagious personality. I've already described, we have so many people from all around the world who listened to this podcast. So if you had one tip for anybody that's listening, of what they can take away what they should think about one tip for the listeners, what would that be?

Rachel: Yeah, and it's such a like cliche thing to say. But unfortunately, like you think it's so cliche when you're learning about it, and then it happens and you're like, “Oh, shit, this stuff actually does happen.” I would say that your number one thing is that you you learn from every situation, even the bad ones, right? And you should never stop learning. You should never realize that the learning point is that even if you have a terrible boss, you're learning how you never want to be, if you have a great boss, you learn exactly how you want to be. If you're in a terrible situation, you learn how to never make that mistake again, right? You know, so these are the situations to learn from. And if you don't look at life that way. What you realize is the ones that you people you don't want to learn for from are the people who also don't think that they have anything to learn that they know everything. And as we know, with anything from this pandemic this year, that we don't know anything, though every situation is a learning curve. And I think that that's what really helped me because, I was affected in the pandemic, I lost my job because obviously the event industry suffered. And but luckily, I love trends. I love keeping up on trends in every job. I always like to learn something new that maybe you know, maybe might have not been part of my job in that project, but it can help me learn. And I was able to swing myself into, you know, a job where at the first I thought I knew nothing about. And then when I kept talking about, you know, myself during the interview, I realized, “Oh, actually no more about this kind of stuff than I thought I did.” And that all comes from, from learning. I mean, there's nothing wrong with learning. There's nothing wrong with asking questions. And if you ever worked for a company that feels otherwise, that's not the company for you.

Dr. K: Such great and sage advice. Thank you so much, Rachel. If our listeners today want to reach out to you or connect with you, what's the best way for them to do that? Do you have a preferred social network or LinkedIn or email or tell us how to get in touch with you? 

Rachel: Yeah, this is the part where I plug myself I love that. Um, yeah, on LinkedIn, I'm just, Rachel_Polen. Feel free to message me I'm always down to talk and just make new friends. I mean, the industry is huge, but it's actually really small. It's crazy.

Dr. K:  Thank you so much, Rachel, for being on the podcast today. It's been so much fun catching up with you. 

Rachel: Yeah, thank you. This was amazing.