"What I enjoy most about being an immigration attorney is having a seemingly impossible case, and delivering results for deserving people," said Artie Renee Pobjecky, owner of Pobjecky & Pobjecky, LLP. "Some people have come to the United States because they may not be alive if they stayed in their home country. Despite the scary times with what's going on in the news, I still love being an immigration attorney. This is what I was meant to do and I'm excited about the future."
Pobjecky's father, J. David Pobjecky, originally founded the firm in Winter Haven in 1984. Pobjecky flirted with becoming an astronaut, but was always destined to take over the family practice. Following in her father's footsteps, Pobjecky attended Baylor University School of Law and, immediately after graduating in April of 2001, returned to Polk County to work with her father. Pobjecky didn't practice immigration law right away. She started off with divorce, real estate, civil litigation and other types of law, but quickly realized she wasn't happy. By divine intervention, a client that was seeing her father for tax purposes mentioned her desire to bring her two step-children from Cuba to the United States. Pobjecky offered her services at no charge, figured out how to get the children legally into the United States and, along the way, discovered that immigration law is her true passion. Pobjecky and her father, who bravely served the United States Army as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, worked side by side for about 10 years. Due to an illness, David Pobjecky retired in 2011. Renee has been at the helm ever since.
We asked Pobjecky about her experience running the business and what she enjoys most about being her own boss. "When I took over it was challenging because my father didn't do immigration cases," she said. "I had to protect his clients and close out those cases. The first four years were stressful. The experience did however confirm that I only wanted to do immigration cases. Now that I'm running the business and we're strictly immigration, what I enjoy most is the flexibility in being able to pursue new opportunities. I'm hoping to build out my business by getting into I-9 Compliance. I'm starting to work with businesses to help them with correct hiring procedures, advise them on how to complete the I-9 forms correctly and, in general, consult with them on how to avoid visits from Immigration Customs Enforcement."
Pobjecky's flexibility also gives her the ability to participate in programs designed to accelerate the growth of her business. Once such program is the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Businesses Program. The program is designed for business owners who have a business positioned for growth and are passionate about growing their business and creating jobs in their communities. Pobjecky recognized that she needed help with being a business leader and wanted to shift the focus of her attention to working on her business and not in it. Of the 5,000 applicants, Pobjecky was one of 133 selected for the program. She initially flew to Boston and received five days of hands-on training at Babson College with marketing, branding, accounting and finance experts. She then spent 10 weeks meeting virtually, one to three times per week, with 33 other small business owners. She built out her growth strategy as it relates to developing her immigration compliance programs for small businesses. "As a Goldman alumnus, I am connected to a network of peer support from other small business owners, as well as leaders in the business world," Pobjecky said. "I am excited to use the tools from the program to grow my firm and contribute to my community through job growth."
Immediately following our interview, Pobjecky was giving an offer to a law clerk to join her team on a part-time basis. She shared with us some of her other future plans. "I do want bring in more employees, especially with opportunities to assist businesses with compliance issues," she said. "I've been asked to speak at corporate events thanks to Goldman Sachs. Also, the nature of my services allow me to represent businesses outside of Florida. I envision doing workshops on compliance and immigration around the country."
Pobjecky offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "The biggest thing to open doors is to become active in your community," she said. "I got involved in the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and it provided me with so many contacts. I also believe that sending old-fashioned “Thank You” cards has set me apart from others. I send such cards to each person who joins the Chamber. When you're ready to move on from your day job, don't burn any bridges on the way out. There may be jobs your old employer can send your way. Also, try to live below your means. Look for free resources such as SBDC, SCORE and FLVEC as a way to grow your business."