March 8th has been an international day of celebration and recognition of women since the early 20th (the earliest claims are in 1857 New York) and was officially marked as a holiday by the United Nations in 1977. With over 100 years of global championing women’s equality, we would like to think that our world would have achieved much greater gender parity. However much further we need to evolve together, we want to focus on the positive and honor women all over and especially in our industry.
As women, we are required in life to take on so many different roles and to face unique challenges that are rife with societal expectations. We love and appreciate all of your women in the industry and are constantly in awe of the power which you bring to it. To celebrate, we spoke to some truly remarkable women in the beverage industry and asked them to give a shout out to another female whom they consider a rising star and one to watch.
International Women’s Day 2019
Natasha David – Co-Owner, Nitecap
I’d be delighted to shout out Lauren Corriveau, Bar Director at Nitecap. Lauren operates with zero ego and is completely motivated by her love for her work. She started working at Nitecap a little over 3 years ago as a newbie bartender and in those few short years has grown into a leader. Lauren is constantly trying to find ways to make things better, run smoother and more harmoniously. Her background in fashion and art have also had a real chance to shine in her creative and colorful approach to cocktail creation. Lauren is not one to toot her own horn or promote herself on social media, she just believes in good old fashioned hard work. And when things get challenging, she makes sure to maneuver the situation with grace while always remaining kind and level headed. On a personal note, Lauren has now seen me through 2 challenging pregnancies and as I was trying to figure out how to balance motherhood and work, stepped in for me whenever I needed. Lauren has been more than Nitecap’s Bar Director– she is a collaborator and a partner.
A-K Hada – Head Bartender, Please Don’t Tell
I would love to give a wholehearted shout out to Jodi Calderon, of the Normandie Club and Nomad LA. I meet Jodi for the first time in the CAP program four years ago. I’ve since had to privilege to travel with her on a couple brand related trips and work with her every summer. She is amazing, and has really grown over the years as a leader. One of the most inspiring moments of hers I’ve witnessed was her competing (and kicking ass) in the Bartender Boxing Organization at Tales after a long week of brilliantly leading her teammates through their seminars. I couldn’t think of a kinder, more dedicated woman to celebrate, and I can’t wait to follow her sure to be amazing career!
Kate Boushel – Beverage & Education Director, Barroco Group
Upon reflection, I decided to turn our attention towards a friend who has been around for a while, but is immensely deserving of recognition right now. In my opinion, she embodies the true sense of what it means to be an agent of change — and that is what should be celebrated on days like today! So here is a toast to my good friend Chantelle Gabino: bartender at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, Bittered Sling Ambassador and Dandelion Initiative board member (an amazing Canadian organisation that has developed an industry-specific training program for safer bars & safer spaces).
Simply put, this woman inspires me daily. Not only is she a exceptional bartender and saucy karaoke queen, but everything she does is done with the intent to affect change. At every chance she gets she will talk to you about her bees, bee-keeping and the importance of urban gardening. She uses every cocktail competition as a backdrop for change from her rooftop garden initiatives when she was vying for Bombay’s Most Imaginative Bartender 3 years ago to physically challenging herself by joining this year’s Bartender Boxing and, now, with her #MakeACambiar initiative for Bacardi legacy. This most recent initiative is one of her most important because it is something she works towards daily — seeking to spark conversations of change. Whether it is within our industry, within ourselves or with our environment.
This is the exact example of what it is to use your passion to promote and propel change. If more people looked closely at what she does, they would realize that we all have time in our week — above and beyond — to go out and do something that makes a difference, no matter how small or great it may be.
Earlecia Richelle – Ambassador, Grey Goose
When I think about women on the rise, Kapri Robinson immediately comes to mind. A shear force who is not talking about the change but doing the work in real time, creating change. Motivated through the personal challenges she faced navigating spaces where she didn’t see representations of herself in our industry, Kapri founded Chocolate City’s Best Cocktail Competition last year. It is more than just another cocktail slinging competition, it is a platform to help bartenders of color in the District gain access, exposure, and find community. Kapri’s passion is electric. She is steadfast in her mission and vision, committed to consistently expanding her skillset and will not be stopped. I look forward to seeing just how this fierce one will revolutionize the beverage industry.
Sharon Bronstein – VP of Marketing, Fords Gin
I want to shout-out Kisira Hill, a fellow member of the cocktail community in Chicago and Co-Founder of Radical XChange with Ashtin Berry. I met Kisira when she was working at Lost Lake and got to know her better over the past year through her participation in Chicago Style. Kisira has a strong academic background in anthropology & cultural studies which she’s melding with her experience in hospitality to be a progressive young voice for our community, organizing profound events like Resistance Served. Kisira is doing meaningful work, and inspiring many of us to get involved.
Chockie Tom – Brand Ambassador, Thomas Henry USA
I want to give a shout out to Amanda Swanson as one of my favorite industry women to keep an eye on. Since meeting her at the Manhattan preliminaries for Booze and Infuse 2018 and watching her place 3rd in the Finals, I’ve enjoyed watching her career continue to take off. I admire how her passion for the industry drives her to push herself to new limits, whether it’s completely immersing herself in education to become the Agave Sommelier at Anejo Tribeca or taking over the innovative cocktail program at Fine and Rare. Amanda is amazing at what she does, her palate is unmatched and the creativity she puts into her drinks is inspiring. She is also one of the strongest women I have ever met, whether it’s taking no nonsense, addressing depression and other issues that affect industry professionals or lifting up other women, she is grace under fire and I look forward to seeing what she does next.
ms. franky marshall – Modern Bartender/Educator
There are so many women in our industry making impressive strides and accomplishing great things, it’s very exciting. That said, i am turning my focus to Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swede who went on strike to protest political inaction on climate change. After initially protesting alone, she started a movement, and has since inspired students across the world to go on similar strikes, hold demonstrations, and call for accountability from their own governments. Some teachers have even joined in to call for changes to climate change education and make it a priority in schools. There is a worldwide student protest planned for March 15.
It’s impressive, to say the least, that this woman is so young, focused, and feels that she has a moral responsibility to do what she can. I purposely chose someone outside of the F&B realm to remind us that we can lead, inspire, disrupt inside and outside of our industry. That women can be change agents anywhere, at any time, and for any cause. To quote Ms. Thunberg: “We are not fighting for our future, we are fighting for everyone’s future!”
Tara Fougner, Co-Founder, Thirsty Media
Every single day, I am grateful for my business partner and dear friend for over 15 year, Casey Brennan. She is the brilliant Editor-In-Chief of Thirsty Media working alongside me daily 24/7. Regardless of how our business grows and evolves, she expects zero recognition, actually she shys from it preferring to be behind-the-scenes. Casey is a working mother of two beautiful girls, a true partner, a loyal friend and a fierce entrepreneur … I know her little girls will grow up so proud of their Mommy. I am eternally thankful that her hard work, positive attitude, sense of humor and endless support has allowed me to live my dream in pursuing Thirsty. Although words can never express my gratitude, and she might be annoyed I am shining a light on her DL persona, Casey is a magnificent human and my daily empowerment shout out.
NOTE – Thirsty Media is Co-Run by two females and we aspire with our growth to continue to do more to empower women and under-represented groups in our industry. We recognize that we still have a long way to go and grow and know that we can with your support. If you have ideas or would like to connect with us in this mission, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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