Janine Obiedzinski

Employee Spotlight: Janine Obiedzinski, Director of Sponsorship Production & Project Management 

Janine Obiedzinski is the Director of Sponsorship Production & Project Management for Shepard. Based in Bedminster, New Jersey, she’s been with the company since 2016.

How she got her start: Janine grew up in a large family known for hosting parties year-round, igniting her passion for events. In high school and college, she furthered this passion by volunteering for and later overseeing Relay for Life fundraisers for the American Cancer Society.

“I’ve always loved being part of putting on an event and seeing it go from being nothing to something,” Janine recalls. “I started to think, ‘How do I make this into a job? How can I do this forever?’”

After college, she started working at a small meeting management firm in Baltimore, followed by a three-year stint at the Baltimore Convention Center. However, she found herself yearning for a role with more travel and day-to-day variety—and a former colleague told her about Shepard. “I applied for an account executive job, and the rest is history!” she says.

Why she loves events: “The event industry is never boring,” explains Janine, who likes to refer to herself as a “professional problem-solver.”

“Day to day, there are so many things that come up and we’re always being looked at to provide a solution,” she says. “I have a show coming up where I have to figure out how to ship a rocking chair to someone, and I’m thinking, ‘Well, that’s something I never knew I’d be figuring out!’ It keeps me on my toes.”

“You have to be a little crazy to want to work in this industry, because it’s such long hours and sometimes work on weekends and holidays,” Janine adds with a laugh. “But if you love it, it’s truly in your blood and you thrive in the chaos.” 
 
Why she loves working at Shepard: Those long hours have made Janine really reflect on the people she’s surrounded by every day—and “Shepard really hires great people,” she says. “It creates a really great atmosphere when you actually want to see the people you work with, when you’re willing to lean on them when you have a question, and when you care how they’re doing both personally and professionally.” 
 
Janine also values the open and transparent culture at Shepard, which she credits for fostering her career growth. “I was in one role for five or six years, and instead of feeling compelled to seek opportunities elsewhere, I approached my boss and expressed my aspirations for career advancement within Shepard,” she recalls. “Thankfully, they were receptive and worked with me to chart a path forward. Being able to openly discuss my career goals and concerns with my boss made all the difference. I didn’t feel the need to leave; instead, I could explore opportunities for growth and evolution right here at Shepard.”

Memorable moment: Janine fondly recalls when Shepard produced a large show for the American College of Rheumatology back in 2019. It was the first year Shepard would be producing the event—which had a bit more rigging than the team had typically handled—and no one was sure what to expect.

“I remember being blown away by how everybody came together to make sure the event was a huge success for both Shepard and our client,” she says. “We really knocked it out of the park, and we’ve been able to retain that business and create a great partnership with that client.”

Janine actually has a framed photo of the team at that event hanging on her wall. “Every time I look at it, I think, ‘Man, we did such a great job.'”

Where she finds inspiration: Janine describes herself as methodical and detail-oriented—but still finds creative inspiration both by brainstorming ideas with her team, and by the world around her. “When I travel, I often find myself inspired by my surroundings,” she explains. “Whether it’s a unique feature in an airport or a design element in a restaurant, I’m always thinking about how I can incorporate these ideas into our events.”

She also finds inspiration from being able to give back to Shepard. “Day to day, I actually feel like I’m making a difference, like I’m being heard, and like I’m really part of a larger team.”

How she spends her free time: In her free time, Janine enjoys reading—she’s currently part of two different book clubs—and has a “borderline problem with reality TV!” she says with a laugh.

She also likes to crochet. “I love to make crocheted blankets for my friends,” she says. “It’s actually something my grandmother started; she’d crochet blankets for all her grandkids for wedding gifts, so I actually started doing that for my friends’ weddings.”

The advice she’d give her younger self: “Follow your heart. Often when I tell people what I do, they say, ‘I didn’t even know that was a job!’” she says. I think it’s so important to find your passion, find what you love to do—and then find a career that makes you happy.”

Shepard is a full-service event production company. We design, develop and manage trade shows, corporate and other events throughout the U.S.