From Simpson to Event Planning in NYC

Tony Warnke ’06 knew he wanted to work in event planning and after falling in love with Simpson College during a campus visit, he knew his path.  Getting support from his Admissions Counselor, Kara May, (now Assistant Director of the Hawley Student Resource Center) and numerous professors, Tony created an academic path in International Management with numerous events related internships in the US and abroad. His International Management and Spanish majors with minors in Corporate Communication, Latin American Studies and Marketing helped prepare Warnke for an exciting future in the New York events industry.

“Be vocal about what you want and lean on your professors and the Simpson staff. If something you want doesn’t exist, create it!”

Now working at American Express in New York City, Tony pursued his goals with a singular passion.  He credits his success in his path to the experiences he had over the years in internships, in the classroom and in creating events through PRSSA while at Simpson.

When working with the small PRSSA group back in 2005, Tony realized they needed a stand out project to include in their portfolios for job interviews. The group created the Goodwill Fashion Show, an event that, 9 years later, is still strong at Simpson.

Tony’s career path started in Des Moines in a position at the Integer Group gained after a successful internship.  His boss there encouraged him to pursue his dream of working in events in New York and gave him a fall back ticket, saying if things didn’t work out, he could return to his position at Integer.

Since moving to NYC, Tony has worked in wedding and social event planning, luxury event planning and now leads the premium sponsorship and experiences platform at American Express.

“The work touches a lot of different access points focusing on the luxury experiences.  A lot of marketing and public relations, social media, press work, and brand and sponsorship.”

When we talked, Tony was juggling work for New York Fashion Week, the US Open Tennis Championship, and a concert in Chicago.

Thinking back to his time at Simpson, Tony said,

“Marilyn Mueller was always pushing me and helping me get to where I wanted to go.  She was generous with her time.  Kara May got me to Simpson and was constantly a great help and support.”

When asked about Tony, Mueller said,

“Tony was passionate and on fire and knew his vision for what he wanted to do.  He was also a super networker (before the practice was touted widely) and it has served him well!”

Warnke worked his way from a small town life to the big time in New York City. With his Simpson education and experiences, he has a solid foundation to continue building a career upon. Tony Warnke is yet another example of how far Simpson success and hard work can take someone.