CATERING & EVENTS TEAM

The dedicated Venue Catering team—from our chefs to our serving staff, office personnel, and marketing team—are here to make sure your experience with our company is exceptional. Get to know some of the individuals you will work with as you get ready for your next party or event!
Ally Vrbas

Ally Vrbas

Director of Hospitality and Events

I firmly believe once you have the restaurant industry in your blood, you can’t get it out. I’m a true tale of that saying. My first job was a server in my small hometown. I eventually moved into hospitality and project management then made my way back to the restaurant industry as the Director of Hospitality and Events for the Pillar Restaurant Group. Our team goal is to provide you with your perfect event. Details matter, and we are here to guide you through the decision making!

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my little family. Our newest addition is sweet Bennett James! I also enjoy working out, cooking, gardening, and hiking!

Shelly Richardson

Shelly Richardson

Event Director

I’ve always had a passion for helping others bring their dreams to light. Seeing someone’s vision come to life, and the satisfaction and pride in the client’s eyes as they live their moment is so rewarding to me. I received my Bachelors degree in Art and Art History from UNL in 2009 and continued my education by becoming a licensed wedding planner through the American Academy of Wedding Professionals in 2011. From then until now I have been the onsite coordinator for many popular venues in and around Lincoln as well as founded my wedding planning business, Event Design, in 2012. Through this journey, I’ve gotten to experience every aspect of the event industry. In 2020 I was selected to be on the board of Advisors for UNL’s Hospitality and Tourism Management and enjoy speaking to the future generations of hospitality. In 2022 I was asked to join the Venue team as director of their event spaces; Jasmine Room and Scottish Rite Ballroom. I love being part of a team that shares in my passion for creating special moments for people.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, my son, and our exchange students we host every year. We’ve had the pleasure of sharing our home and learning about cultures from around the world with our amazing teens from South Korea, Brazil, Germany, and Spain so far.

Olivia Kempkes

Olivia Kempkes

Assistant Event Director

From a young age my passion and love for helping others has been my biggest motivator in finding my dream career! Although my career path initially took me down the health care route, I have been involved in many facets of the wedding and event industry. I have eight years of floral experience, one year as a bridal stylist, two years event supervising for another local venue and three years as a private wedding and event coordinator. In 2023 I was given the opportunity to join the Pillar Restaurant Team full time and it has been a great experience being able to continue to expand my knowledge further in the hospitality and event industry!

If I’m not working you can find me traveling, reading, spending time with my friends and loved ones, and cuddling my two cats, Athena and Artemis!

Chloe Schwarting

Chloe Schwarting

Catering & Events Coordinator

I started as a server at Venue in 2019, and moved into my current role in 2022. My background is in hospitality and I have been working in the industry since I was 18 years old. I pride myself on being detail-oriented and goal-driven. These skills allow me to take events from conception to execution as smoothly as possible. Whether it’s an intimate family dinner or a large conference, it’s my goal to take the stress out of event planning for my clients. The less you have to worry about, the better!
 
When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my fiance and our two dogs and cat, performing in local theater productions, and gardening.
Brooklyn Guess

Brooklyn Guess

Catering & Events Coordinator

I have been a part of the catering team since July of 2022, and have loved every part of it. I have a history of experience in both event planning, as well as the food and beverage side from my time spent as a host here at Venue back when I was 16. While in the office, I have mainly coordinated on-site events here at Venue, over at Piedmont, and at Cactus. However, I also coordinate a few off-site events here and there as well. I am currently a student at UNL, studying Hospitality, Restaurant, and Tourism Management, and I plan to graduate after completing the fall 2023 semester. I’m looking forward to continuing my hospitality journey with Venue and our catering team.

Heather Guess

Heather Guess

Catering & Events Coordinator

I have been a part of the Venue catering team since January of 2023. In my prior career, I worked  in event coordinating for 5 years. In the office, I mostly coordinate on-site events which include here at Venue, Piedmont, and Cactus as well. I enjoy building relationships with people and look forward to being a part of the Venue family.  

Eric Pomajzl

Eric Pomajzl

Events & Community Manager

I have 15+ years of experience in a variety of fields, including the performing arts, non-profits, hospitality, and now the corporate world. I’m currently the Event and Community Manager for Pillar Restaurant Group (Venue Catering & Events) and was previously the Events Coordinator for the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, NE. After a stint living in Freiburg, Germany, my professional career began when he moved to Chicago, Illinois.

I wore many hats at various businesses, including AidsCare, Halsted’s Bar & Grill, Merit School of Music, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and EdgeAlliance. I’m a graduate of Doane College with a B.A. in Music Performance & German with a minor in Business. I’m also a member of Generous Connections (a philanthropic networking group), Lincoln Southeast Kiwanis, and an executive committee member of EventLNK, which is Lincoln’s event professional group. In my spare time, I enjoy singing karaoke, acting in Murder Mystery dinners, and traveling whenever I can.

Merri Jo O'Dell

Merri Jo O'Dell

Catering & Events Coordinator

I believe people eat with their eyes, so my vision is always to create an attractive plate for each event. I love the opportunity to create a menu that fits the guest’s personality while using my experience to tie everything together. You can find me on the quick service side of our Pillar Group, from Goodcents Deli Fresh Subs to the event and corporate planning of Venue Catering & Events. Having over ten years experience, I am available to help coordinate any-size event.

Catering Services

Wondering what types of events Venue can cater? Take a look at our current service offerings as you get ready to plan your next party, rehearsal dinner, or company get together!

Contact Venue Catering & Events

Want Venue to cater an upcoming event? Give our team a call or send us a message today detailing what you’re looking for! We’re always ready to help anyone turn their next get together into a can’t-miss event!