How did you get started with your career – and how does your current role reflect your personal aesthetic?
It all started with a simple job that I got at the age of 19: hostess of a small seafood restaurant in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I was taking a year off from college to rethink my initial plans to be a lawyer. During that year, I discovered my love for restaurants and returned to school and switched majors to hospitality.
Even though I have played (and continue to play) many roles in my business, I am a hostess at heart. I enjoy making people feel welcome and cared for.
Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?
The marketplace is packed with noise on the topic of cultural trends and how to stay relevant. The pressure to implement the next best thing is a constant bug in the entrepreneur’s ear. I am obviously speaking from experience. But what time has taught me is this: first know who you are and stay true to that. Once you accept that, listen to the people who matter: your customers, your employees, your community. Staying connected is the act of being open and humble. And staying ahead of the curve, I believe, is achieved when we let the moment inspire us.
How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?
Time is essential. In this digital world of instant gratification, we forget what nature has always offered to teach us: the tree takes time to bear fruit. I believe that it is in our haste that we are most susceptible to losing track of our goals and suffering from burnout. Creativity cannot be forced.
How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?
I find that anyone who inspires me (whether I know him/her or not) is a qualified mentor. I’ve worked closely with a few professionals in the field of restaurant operations and even had a life coach. And while I have taken much of their advice, I cannot say that there was one person who had my sole focus. You need other people to help develop perspective. But to have true impact, you must act out of your own sincere desire.
What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?
Enjoy yourself, enjoy the process and take risks. Whatever the outcome, know deep down that there was nothing to prove, nothing to gain and nothing to lose. You came into this world complete, and you will leave complete. So why not make the world your plaything?
- Place that inspires me the most… Nature.
- I feel most powerful when… I’m on a horse’s back.
- I love what I do because… I have creative freedom.
- My idea of success is… When you can take delight in yourself, without needing a reason.
- Best advice I have ever received… Pray.
An acronym for Love is the Message, LITM is Jersey City’s neighborhood destination for seasonal cocktails, American food and the local art and film scene.
Monthly art shows and film screenings are home to LITM, with over 100 exhibitions to date.
140 Newark Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07302