Since the first-ever Salt Lake Comic Con in 2013, Erika Sabrowski has volunteered at each event to ensure that things run smoothly, and to manage the details that can seem daunting and overwhelming.
Erika is now the head of all volunteers for the League of Utah Volunteers (which provides the needed volunteers for FanX®), a role she fulfilled for FanX® several years prior to the formation of LUV. Erika was a dedicated volunteer when she learned that the previous director was about to leave. She sent a Facebook message to co-founder Bryan Brandenburg, letting him know she was interested in the job. After an interview process, the job was hers.
The key to her job, Erika says, is communication. “I have to communicate with the volunteer staff, outside vendors, GrowTix, Media One, floor set up, the community council and the anti-harassment council.”
Erika manages between 750 to 1000 volunteers at each event, and they are in charge of “just about everything, from line control, ticket sales, security, check-in, celebrity handlers, and weapons checks.” There are new people every time, but several people return for each event.
When complaints surfaced about how the conventions handled harassment complaints, Erika was part of the council who rewrote the zero-tolerance harassment policy that prohibits bullying, abuse, assault, or harassment of any kind.
The craziest things that arise at each convention are issues with fans and lost children. “There are crazy, adoring fans,” Erika says, “and sometimes they get over-the-top excited to meet their celebrity. It can cause emotions and sometimes tempers flare.” It is the job of the volunteers to step in and smooth things out.
Despite the crazy situations Erika encounters, it is the sweet moments that keep her coming back; a celebrity that takes extra time and effort with a fan, the attitude of caring from her volunteers, and the overall party atmosphere of one of Salt Lake’s biggest events.