• Meet Nicki Polan, Making a Splash

     
    POSTED August 21, 2019
     

    Nicki Polan’s job truly floats her boat.

After Nicki Polan graduated from Michigan State University, one of her neighbors (on Brendal Lake in Oakland County), who, at the time, was president of the Michigan Boating Industries Association, suggested Polan interview for an open position there.

But her heart was set on living in Chicago. “More than a year later, while I was still living in Chicago, I learned of a different job available and went for it when home in Michigan for a visit. And I’ve never regretted that decision.”

Thirty-one years later and Polan, a White Lake Township resident married with two teen sons, is still with the association, now with 350 members and in its 61st year. For the past six years, Polan’s been the executive director. Members include everyone from boat dealers and marinas to boat stores, insurance companies, dock specialists and just about any business related to boating.

“Boating is a big deal here in Michigan,” says Polan, whose organization, based in Commerce Township, organizes three boat shows, including the big Detroit Boat Show in February at Cobo Center, which is “considered a top five in the country.” The other two are the Novi Boat Show and the Metro Boat Show. Michigan is ranked as the third largest marine market in the country behind Florida and Texas. Boating has an annual $7.4 billion impact on Michigan’s economy.

“We’re a nonprofit trade association, so all funds we receive go back to the industry through education programs, boating awareness programs, lobbying in Lansing for boaters’ rights and other things.”

Polan, an avid boater whose kids and husband enjoy fishing and water sports, shares that her favorite part of her job is the people.

“This industry is filled with friendly, motivated, upbeat and energized people who bring joy to other people. They love boating and the boating lifestyle.”

She also loves that her job is never dull. “I’ve learned how to tap kegs and how to lobby. On any given day, I could be meeting with a congressional leader or unloading items for a boat show.” And if it’s good weather, she might be in a boat. The owner of a fiberglass 15-foot Boston Whaler Montauk fishing boat, Polan says she and her family can haul their rig just about anywhere.

There’s no doubt Polan, who has a master’s degree in business management from Walsh College, is where she’s supposed to be.

“I love to be on or near the water. I’m an outside person. I’d say eight or 10 times a year we’re meeting at a member location or a regional gathering, and usually it’s on water, which is icing on the cake!”

As CEO of Miami-based Loni Paige Events, Loni Paige has launched and managed experiential campaigns for high-profile brands such as Bacardi, vitaminwater, T-Mobile, American Express and Target. While many people used quarantine cocktailing as a coping mechanism during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the bars and everyone’s favorite mixologists who needed their own shot of help. Paige set out to do her part by creating Mixology Mixer

 

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.