Things are always more clear in hindsight. Here are key learnings from female leaders who have had many experiences on their own career paths which you can hopefully (and proactively) apply to your own.


"Learning how to keep an open mind and sit with decisions has been an important and challenging lesson I’ve learned throughout my career. It’s so easy to want to move things quickly or do them the way they’ve always been done. Another great lesson is simply to test things even just for a couple days, sometimes it’s okay not to be perfect and actually few things once done are set in stone. Math is important too!"

Erika Chou, Co-Founder & CEO of Rivers and Hills Hospitality Group in New York, NY

"Attention to detail is everything. You have to think about this work as creating experiences for people and wonder how they will feel, what would make this memorable, and does it all look our absolute best."

Jocelyn Ramirez, Founder of Todo Verde, Co-Founder of Across Our Kitchen Tables and Cookbook Author in Los Angeles, CA

"Important lessons I have learned throughout my career are: (1) Done is better than perfect. (2) Keep trucking, as long as you know in your mind why you are doing something. (3) “No.” is a complete sentence."

Julia Coney, Founder of Black Wine Professionals, based in Washington, DC and Houston, TX

"Emotional intelligence is an essential skill to have in this industry! Being a leader in the hospitality space means supporting humans so they can serve other humans. It's all about the people with whom you work and whom you serve and how you make them feel."

Emery Whalen, CEO/Co-Owner of QED Hospitality in New Orleans, LA and Nashville, TN

"I think that for too long, my education was much too narrow, focused solely on passing wine exams. I became a better professional and sommelier when I started participating in philanthropy, my local community, and I learned how wine fits into the bigger picture. If you don't fully understand how you can create a positive impact on the world with your passions and skill set, your education is a waste."

— Victoria James, Beverage Director & Partner for Cote Korean Steakhouse in New York, NY and Miami, FL

"I found myself working unrealistically hard and long to prove myself early in my career. It never left me feeling satisfied and created an isolating lifestyle. I’ve since learned to unapologetically set boundaries. Owning my own business and starting a family has intensified the need for those boundaries to stay intact. I want to set a good example for our staff and for them to know their work/life balance is important to us and should be important to them."

Erin Smith, Chef and Owner of Feges BBQ in Houston, TX

"I’ve always had a desire to run my own business. So I sought out jobs that would help me build the skills that I needed to be confident enough to move forward and take the plunge. There is never a perfect time to dive in and take the risk, just a series of gut feels that gives you enough encouragement to overcome the doubt."

Alice Cheng, Founder & CEO of Culinary Agents based in New York, NY