I was born in the Bay Area in the late 80’s into a family of service-oriented entrepreneurs. From an early age, I demonstrated qualities of independence, creativity, and innovation—usually around food and entertaining. It wasn’t always a clear path or one that my high-achieving peers took, but it was one of true passion and intuition. As a child, what began as makeshift restauranting from our garage with a card table and a couple of lawn chairs, evolved into a life-long passion for good food, hospitality and service.
Growing up in the era of The Food Network Channel, I dreamt of cooking, traveling and perhaps owning my own business. I wasn’t sure how I would achieve this or if it was the wisest path to take. I’d never been a straight-A student nor was I ever academically driven, but I was determined to do something with my life that I knew I would love. That’s the only way I imagined being successful. And it turns out, sticking to your gut can really pay off…
After high school I took a few months to travel before starting college. At the age of 17, I packed my bags and flew to South Africa where I volunteered for free room and board at a bed and breakfast in a seaside town on the Western Cape. It was an important time for me; learning to travel and navigate a new part of the world on my own, forming connections with new people, immersing myself into a new culture and learning the ins and outs of running a hospitality business.
I returned home with a greater sense of self, a stronger sense of independence and confidence that I can achieve what I set my mind to. I enrolled in culinary school which began my college journey. Shortly after the program, I relocated to Napa Valley where I continued my studies and worked as a hospitality coordinator for a local hot air ballooning company. I realized there, how much I enjoyed the “production” of it all—creating an experience for guests from all over the world that they’ll never forget. It was during this time that I was nominated for Student of the Year by one of my professors in the Napa Valley Community Awards. I won the award and shortly thereafter, graduated with my degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
For a few years, I took on catering and related odd jobs while working as an assistant at a non-profit that helped entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. The knowledge I took from this position and from my schooling allowed me to eventually open my own business. Within a couple of years, I’d gone from catering small, private events to working with companies like Yahoo and world-wide law firms like Ropes & Gray. In 2013, I married my best friend—someone who I’d met during my travels to South Africa in 2007. 10 years later, we’re back living in the East Bay Area with our two wonderful kids. I might not be a world-renowned executive chef, but according to a couple of very picky critics, I am the greatest chef in our home.
Today, along with maintaining my own business, I enjoy helping other start-ups grow their own. I am passionate about using tools like social media for digital marketing to engage with clients and community members. I believe in grass-root efforts to grow businesses organically. I believe that in our fast-paced, densely populated society, it’s important not to lose sight of why we’re all here doing what we’re doing. Of course we all need to make a living, to be knowledgeable and passionate about the services we’re offering, but I also believe that the secret lies in forging meaningful relationships with our neighbors and community. This is one of the many reasons why I was drawn to Handymen. I share in their values of customer satisfaction and community engagement. It has been a pleasure working with them in growing their online presence and seeing their development as a small business, forging a path within their own community.