“When you are truly doing what you love, others can feel it.„
The most important lessons I have learned throughout my career: (1) always go with your gut, and (2) it's ok to not be perfect.
Working at Trois in Atlanta and meeting Eric Simpkins was very impactful in my career, I was able to see a higher level of craft bartending and learning about technique, spirits, true service, and hospitality.
In 2015, I was written up in an amazing article with 4 other African-American women bartenders, it finally shined a light on me and ladies I adore and am still friends with now. It showed people that women of color in the South had a voice and it has only gotten louder.
It's been a struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance, but I had to set strong boundaries and set office hours for myself, so that my team understands not to reach out to me outside of those times unless it's an emergency. I learned I can't let people have that much access to me as it can get overwhelming. My husband has supported me being able to have my time, it's needed.
I find inspiration in the garden, in my kids, my husband, and my culture as a Liberian woman.
Being kind is the most important skill to possess in our industry, there is no reason to be in hospitality if you are a jerk, just do us all a favor and don't do it if you are.
I keep my team inspired by checking on them, listening to their long-term goals and offering support and advice when asked. It's selfish to think people don't have goals and dreams outside of yours, our industry needs us to always be mindful of our people.
I truly love this industry, that's a huge part of it, I love it, my circle is very tight, so I lean on them a bit, but my family is probably the biggest inspiration.
Are you a team player, do you work well with others, do you listen to directions, or always feel like you know all the answers? Do you show up to work early, on time, or always a few minutes late? Are you kind to guests and coworkers? These are the most important things for me when putting together a team, I believe I can teach you everything I need you to know.
I am lucky to have access to people that are always sharing knowledge, I read a lot, and learn from pioneers in my industry.
If you are serious about growing in your profession as a bartender, read 'The Drunken Botanist' by Amy Stewart to understand flavors also grab a flavor wheel, 'Imbibe' by David Wondrich to understand some cocktail history, and 'The Craft of the Cocktail' by Dale Degroff to understand technique and service, but beyond that, compete in competitions, find a mentor, meet other bartenders. Travel and learn bar culture outside of your city.
Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.
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