Fabulous People: Riley Mullane

Riley Mullane is the co-founder and co-owner of Anne & Ellis Events, which offers consultations, in-house wedding service options and curated vendor connections in Cedar Rapids and beyond. “We’re a team of passionate wedding experts committed to elevating and streamlining the entire wedding planning process for our clients.” Learn about Riley Mullane…

Hometown: Marengo, IA

First job: Dishwasher at PHAT Daddy’s Restaurant in Marengo, IA, at the age of 14. I’ll never forget the feeling of getting my first paycheck. 

Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: My wife and I have seven-year-old twins so needless to say, they tend to dictate our free time and I’m OK with that. I think they’d live at SkyZone. 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: Without a shadow of doubt, my biggest accomplishment has been turning a passion into a profession. I feel you enter a new dimension of life when you’re able to fully express your passion in the form of a business. It wasn’t easy and it takes a very long time, but once you start seeing even just a fragment of progress, you’re reminded that life is truly limitless if you’re willing to work for it. 

The biggest obstacle you overcame: Rising above negativity and the naysayers. I’ve been in rooms full of people who told me that my ideas were terrible, and they’d “never work”–only to have those same people years later asking to do business. Life has a funny way of working itself out, doesn’t it? 

Someone who inspires you and why: My business partner, Megan Knatz. Honestly, there are some days I can’t believe I’m not only lucky enough to know Megan, but have the pleasure of actually co-owning Anne & Ellis with her. She is kind, passionate, intelligent and extremely disciplined. Our favorite saying among the two of us is “logic over emotion.” We keep each other accountable and focused on our collective goals. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: First and foremost, ego kills talent. Let’s just make that very clear. I’m not the first or last person to say that, but now more than ever, it’s imperative people remind themselves of that statement on a daily basis. It’s easy to get hung up on “competition.” Once you fully understand and realize that you’re in a race with no one, your life both personally and professionally becomes more meaningful.

Favorite quote: I have quite a few that I love, but this one has stuck with me, especially when you’re in the growth phase of business: “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” –Charles Bukowski 

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Hopefully I have permission to get a little vulnerable here, but something not a lot of people know is that I now live a life of sobriety. It took me a while to finally accept that my relationship with alcohol wasn’t going to end well, but with the help of my incredible wife, Melissa, and the support of my children and family, it’s made the decision to stop drinking one of the easiest choices I’ve ever made. 

What makes someone fabulous: To me, being fabulous has nothing to do with money, status, likes, follows, etc. It has all to do with being honest with yourself and the people around you. If there’s problems or inefficiencies in your life or organization, address them quickly and concisely. As my good friend, Kenny Jacobs once said, confrontation doesn’t always have to equal conflict. I’m also naturally attracted to those who are unapologetic when it comes to their goals. If you are chasing down a dream, tell everyone you know and the universe will take care of the rest.  

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