When Abby Schademann first started her college education at Wayne State College, she saw herself graduating as a public relations specialist and working in the big city for a major corporation.
Fortunately, the big city’s loss is becoming a gain for Wayne Area Economic Development, as she has come back to town and is assuming the new role of marketing and events coordinator for the Wayne Chamber of Commerce.
The 24-year-old Columbus native graduated from Wayne State two years ago after working as an intern at the Wayne Chamber office before accepting a marketing and tourism position with the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce.
“I had an internship opportunity here my senior year, so I had a lot of chances to work on events like the Chicken Show and Chamber Banquet and it was really an awesome experience,” she said. “A few days before I graduated, I applied for the position in Beatrice and got the job, so it was a whirlwind experience.”
While in Beatrice, she had the opportunity to work on a number of tourism-related events, then came back to Wayne about a year ago to work for her alma mater as a traveling admission representative.
“I learned a lot about tourism and events in Beatrice and got to know a lot of people, but the idea of traveling around and representing Wayne State was interesting and was a fun experience as well,” she said. “I got to see a lot of western and central Nebraska and talked with a lot of students.”
Schademann said she was surprised during her travel around the state when she stopped in tiny villages in western Nebraska and people would come up to her and share their experience as a Wayne State student.
“You’d be surprised how many people in the state are graduates of Wayne State,” she said. “I stopped at the grocery store in Arthur and people saw the logo on the car and would tell me about when they went to the school, so it was awesome talking to them and talking to students and offering some real-life advice.”
When the new position opened up at the Chamber office, though, she jumped at the opportunity to go back to the place where she served as an intern.
“It’s been weird because I remember a lot of the stuff that we did here, so it was really easy to come back to that and know a lot of the policies and procedures that are already in place here,” she said. “With that and the experience I had in Beatrice, I thought this was a great opportunity.”
Schademann picked up a lot of ideas and met a lot of people she said she’ll be able to network with in her new position at the Chamber office.
“There were a lot of different opportunities for meeting new people and seeing what other chambers are doing and I’m looking forward to bringing some of that to this position,” she said.
She joins the Chamber staff not long after Luke Virgil came on as executive director. The newcomers join longtime assistant director Irene Fletcher to fill out the staff.
“Irene has been here for 12 years, and with Luke’s experience in Laurel and the skills he brings to the table, it’s very exciting to be here,” she said.
Virgil said the Chamber is looking forward to utilizing Schademann’s talents in the new position.
“We’re excited to have the office filled out with all of our positions,” he said. “Abby has experience in tourism and has been able to travel the state a lot, so she’s seen some different things and I hope she can bring those experiences to the organization. She’s been able to dive into things right away, so she’s on board and come in ready to go on day one.”
Between work on the monthly newsletter and preparing for the upcoming Ag Seminar, Schademann said she’s hit the ground running and is looking forward to some of the big events coming up, including next year’s Chicken Show.
“Fortunately, it’s not my first go-round with the Chicken Show,” she said, smiling. “I’ve been on the committee since I came back, so that won’t be as new an experience. It’s more like getting back into something and I’m ready for it.”