Who The Folk: Allie Markman Divine

For Allie Markman Divine, life is at its best when she’s busy. And she’s busy a lot. Between working at Target and volunteering a number of non-profit boards in both the Jewish and secular communities, while embracing life as a newlywed and a new homeowner. How does she juggle it all? Find out how as we ask: Who The Folk is Allie Markman Divine?!

What do you at Target?

I’m on the experiential marketing team, which is a fancy way of saying event planning and producing. We’re responsible for planning any meeting or event that happens here internally for team members or external, guest facing events. Everything from our big fall national meeting, to store openings, design partnerships, editor previews. Any type of event that Target puts on, our team handles.

How did you get into the event planning field?

I sort of happened into it. I needed an internship in college in 2007. My mom suggested I look into it because I love planning and attending parties. So party planning seemed like a natural fit for me. I was going to school for journalism, and I knew I didn’t want to be a magazine editor any longer. So I was looking for a new career trajectory. I got an internship for Amy Zaroff and worked for her for several years. It was by chance and 10 years later I’m doing the same thing. I’m passionate about it, and it’s fun and fulfilling. Why do something different if you love what you do?

What are some of the big events?

Our team handles several hundred meets and events each year. There are 18 of us on the team, and we partner with a lot of agencies and teams within the organization to bring the meetings and events to life. We aren’t totally going at it alone. We have our finger on the pulse of what’s happening across the organization.

Is there a type of event that you really prefer?

I’ve only been here 10 months, so I haven’t even seen a full year of events. Some events are more “fun” than others, but in September we have our fall national meeting, where they can hear about our goals. I’m working with the stores team, so all our team leads come here.

You’ve been here 10 months, so what were you doing before?

I worked for Amy Zarroff Events and Design for 8 years, and about a year and a half ago, I started my own event planning business, Divine and You. During that time, I was lucky enough to get several clients right out of the gate. My now director Elizabeth happened to call me, and I knew her from working with Amy. There was an opening on her team at Target, and my husband works here, and I think very highly of Target, so I thought I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Are you still able to juggle your business with your job here?

Yes. I feel very fortunate in that. I feel like the weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and social events I do are definitely a different kind of creative outlet than the work I do here at Target. That’s how I choose to spend my time outside of here.

In addition to running your own business, working at Target and being a newlywed, you volunteer a lot. How do you have the time?

I love to be busy. I don’t really like sitting at home and maybe I could benefit from a little more down time, but I just feel so passionate about everything I do. When you get excited and passionate about something, it doesn’t feel like work. I love it, and feel passionate about these organizations I’m involved in.

I just finished my term as president of [JFCS] NextGen, so I’m transitioning off of that board. I was on their board for six years and that was very rewarding. I also just finished a term on the JFCS board. I recently received the JFCS Emerging Leader award, which is awarded to a young adult who demonstrates a commitment to JFCS, the NextGen program, and the broader community, and exemplifies leadership through collaboration, work, and service. It was incredible to be honored in this way, and I (truly!) was shocked and so honored to even be considered for this award.

Currently, I’m on the J-HAP Board. They’re doing amazing work that’s needed in the community. I recently started a board through HCMC through their foundation. The Hennepin Health Foundation started a young professionals group that supports the foundation’s mission and bring awareness to people of all the great things HCMC does.

Three years ago I was asked to join the board of Wish Upon a Wedding, a national non-profit that grants weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness or life altering circumstances. I was the planner for the first wish in Minnesota and joined the board soon after. This organization is an amazing way to tie in my love of volunteerism with another passion of mine, wedding planning.

Where does the community-driven involvement come from?

My parents were always very involved in the Jewish community and the broader community, so I grew up with the sense of tzedakah and giving back to the community. It was a part of what our family did, so it was just engrained in me from a young age. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve used my skills to help these organizations grow. It’s amazing the people you meet and learning about these organizations that we’re lucky to have. What I love specifically about JFCS is that it’s an organization with a Jewish lens, which is important to me, but we serve the broader community. Most of our clients and the people we serve aren’t Jewish. Also what’s important to me is that I’m 30. I don’t have a ton of money to give. I can’t write a huge check to every organization. But I do have skills and I do have time, and I think that’s important to teach people. It’s not all about giving money; yes, organizations need money to grow and run. But time and skills are so important as well to organizations that really need it. Everyone can contribute something.

Favorite Jewish food?

My mom’s matzah ball soup and my cousin Amy’s brisket. I love Jewish comfort food. You can’t go wrong. I could eat it all day every day.

Favorite Jewish holiday?

Passover. I love the tradition of being with family and reliving our history. But I dread having to give up the bread and baked goods.

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