Katie Zulkoski ’05 witnessed early on her potential to grow and create her own story went far beyond the confines of a classroom at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration. The same attitude continues with her today and shows in the wealth of opportunities she is helping build for other people.
Zulkoski, a business administration major originally from Ainsworth, Nebraska, was involved in activities across campus including new student enrollment, student government, the Greek system and the Nebraska Human Resources Institute.
“I appreciated then and now that the CBA experience allowed you to be a business student, but also be a university student taking part in all the other campus offerings,” she said. “The combination of activities helped me connect with a variety of people.”
That ability to connect has become a life and business skill integral to Zulkoski’s career. After UNL she attended Creighton University School of Law where she graduated first in her class with a certificate of concentration in business law. She then turned her attention to facilitating business opportunities for the entire state of Nebraska as a lawyer and lobbyist at Zulkoski Weber, a lobbying and government relations firm in Lincoln.
“Starting this firm has allowed me to combine my business education with my professional experience,” Zulkoski said. “My partner, Michelle Weber, and I are both natives of Nebraska, and we understand the success of our state depends on policies that build businesses and industries statewide.”
The two spend their time crafting legislative and executive branch strategies to promote and grow national and local businesses, associations and non-profits across the state.
“Nebraska's unique unicameral system encourages citizen, stakeholder and business participation. Through businesses and trade associations engaging in this law-making process we help our state leaders build and maintain Nebraska's pro-business environment,” she said.
After attending a CBA Women in Business event, she saw the potential to advance the local business community by connecting women through professional and personal development opportunities. This idea led to the creation of Rise Lincoln.
“Rise Lincoln is a monthly speaker series created for women in business to celebrate the ways women can and do excel in business while strengthening the areas we know we can improve. When women are brave enough to talk about our unique challenges, and then determined enough to help each other overcome them, our entire community will excel,” she said.
Zulkoski believes Rise Lincoln has been a success by featuring local and national speakers addressing issues important to women. More than 200 people attended eight different events featuring local business women including finance graduate Lisa Smith ’90, an investment consultant at SMITH HAYES who spoke on "Making Money Matter", and Kimberly Rath, chairman and co-founder of TalentPlus who spoke about "Surrounding Yourself With Mentors and Motivators.” The series culminated in a summer bash with more than 350 attendees featuring, Gala Darling, an international speaker, blogger and author who discussed “Radical Self Love.”
She also used her connections at CBA to secure the 2015 fall series. Dean Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business Administration, will be the first speaker this fall presenting "Negotiations and Claiming Your Authority" on Thursday, September 3 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel. People interested in learning more should find Rise Lincoln
“Continuing to stay engaged with the college has meant I am able to connect with others in the nation and the world. Through advisory board meetings, alumni networking events and mentoring current CBA students, my UNL experience continues to reach far beyond the borders of Nebraska,” she said.