by Jaylynn McClendon
Most days, Renee Roberts Kopp is busy running her own business, being a single mother to five boys and lending an ear to victims of domestic abuse. It’s a juggling act that makes every day completely different.
“I don’t control my days, and so my days are consumed with reacting,” says Kopp. “It can all change because of what people need from me. It’s just being able to react to the change, hold it all together and still get my task list done.”
While her kids are at school, Kopp’s main focus is her job as bridal-show producer for Best Wedding Showcase, an event created to connect wedding businesses with couples looking to plan weddings. She selects everything from florists, caterers and bands to set up booths and educate couples on the services they offer. But there’s more to it than just providing them with the space.
“We’re not just selling booths in a bridal show. We are selling an opportunity for wedding professionals to meet their prospective couples. They can achieve their goals and connect with the couple planning their wedding.”
Through her expertise in marketing and her knowledge of the millennial bride, she creates a unique opportunity to take some of the stress away from wedding planning for the couples and provide opportunities for local businesses. The 52-year-old Ephrata native, who started planning her first bridal show in 1993, is now the producer of seven shows per year in four Pennsylvania locations.
Though her work centers around the love that leads to marriage, the fact that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their life is never too far from Kopp’s mind. While working, she never knows when she’ll get a call or text from someone in need. Though Kopp is not a counselor, she makes it a point to extend her story and advice to sufferers of domestic abuse. Kopp was involved in an over-20-year marriage that showed patterns of domestic violence, but it wasn’t until after an intervention from a few of her friends that she mustered up the courage to seek help.
“After that intervention, I drove right to the police department that evening, and the next day my husband was served with a PFA.”
Unlike most stories of abuse, Kopp’s was picked up by international news outlets and eventually found its way to the Dr. Phil show. The publicity gave her the platform to speak up in efforts to create awareness.
“I can hear the crazy in it now. I hear it. I get that part. But I made a choice that day in that courthouse to not be ashamed, because I didn’t want people to be ashamed of domestic violence.”
To better help women feel comfortable talking about their abuse, Kopp set up a website where she posts inspiring messages and links to resources for women who are looking to get out of an abusive relationship. Sharing her story, whether it be through television or podcasts, provides a face to an issue most people find uncomfortable to discuss.
“I refuse to let any other women sit somewhere in a courthouse and not know who to call,” says Kopp. “I’m not a counselor. I don’t act in that capacity. But people send me people, and all I do is connect them.”
Whether it’s producing an event, sharing her own personal story or advocating for victims of domestic violence, Kopp has a gift for connecting people with what they need while maintaining a “go with the flow” attitude.
“I enjoy what I do. I like the opportunities in my life and the pace at which I have them. They seem to all balance in my life.”
This article appears in the July 2016 issue of Harrisburg Magazine