Jillian Rocco

Jillian Rocco

Jillian Rocco, Director of Operations of Row 34 and Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston, shares her career timeline and advice for up-and-coming talent.


I love creating the space for people to grow and develop their goals. I get a real pleasure from helping people realize these goals and guide them to success.


EXPERIENCE
EDUCATION
Flexibility is one of the most important skills to have in the industry. My personal mantra is "get the ball down the field". It helps me get through tough services, personal decisions, and long days.
Understanding that you will always be learning and growing is key. If you stop learning, you are at a problematic point in your career. Good communication skills are a paramount to success in management. You need to be able to create the landscape and communicate it to your team; it’s then their job to contribute to it.
I am the picture of positivity and enthusiasm. I’m bubbly, effervescent; I’m constantly bouncing off the walls to keep everyone’s energy up. I am also always available to my team whether it’s professional or personal things. I like to be able to connect and be empathetic of what’s going on in their lives, and help them create new goals. I hope it helps them stay motivated and engaged. I also try to connect with my General Managers on a weekly basis to help keep them moving forward. I do a lot of research, podcasts, reading, and I like to share that with my teams.
When hiring, I consider candidates that are teachable and they need to be eager to learn and grow while seeking feedback. I also look for, which cannot be understated, nice people that are looking to love their job.
I find inspiration from the people around me - plain and simple. I believe I have to something to learn from everyone. People are the most interesting thing around, whether it’s my team or our guests. And I love engaging with them all!
My Calendar - I can’t live without it, it’s synced to so many things!
Observe, read, ask, listen. I read the Harvard Business Review religiously. Books that are really great for management : "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman and"Presence" by Amy Cuddy. A few podcasts I recommend: Radio Lab, This American Life, The Ted Radio Hour, Startup podcast (interesting to hear how different people started a business and how they overcame he challenges), and Fresh Air by Terry Gross - I enjoy her interview style and how she guides a conversation, which is really helpful for me who is regularly interviewing high level management candidates.
My boss Garrett always tells us : "ask yourself what does winning look like?" It's so important to find balance and to take care of yourself. People take this for granted, especially in our industry, but to in order to have longevity, you need to be as healthy as possible.
When I was at Eastern Standard, I was also trying to prepare for grad school. I thought at that time that I wanted to be a professional student or an english teacher. I was also totally falling in love with wine and the hospitality industry. At that point, I was feeling a real push and pull. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. I packed up and flew to France for 5 weeks, where I traveled around all the wine growing regions all on my own, trying to learn the culture. I came back and I realized that I was going to commit myself to the industry. I still love all the things I loved before, but I have this whole other sphere that excites me and motivates me.


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