As someone who has built a successful and well-respected female-run catering company, I think a lot about what it means to be a woman in a position of authority. It’s difficult, and mistakes can be made, but you can also learn from the difficulties I’ve faced so your path can be a little easier. Here are a few lessons from someone who has been there and done that (more than once)…
Sure, manners are important, especially when you’re in a customer service-based industry like hospitality, but being polite isn’t everything. As women, passion for our work can often be mistaken for aggressiveness or worse. That can make us feel like we need to be timid and reserved. Here’s the thing, though — taking a back seat to our business is a recipe for failure. Don’t hold back. Don’t let others take the lead when you know better. Be 100 percent you and 100 percent engaged, no matter how those who feel threatened might view your intensity.
Keep Your Confidence
There are three main things that can sap women’s authoritative power incredibly quickly: apologizing for having an opinion, staying silent and minimizing the things they’ve accomplished. Many of us do all three. I know how difficult it is to kick these habits to the curb, but not addressing these issues is like leaving a pot on a burner with no supervision. Eventually, all the water is going to boil away, and you’re going to have a scorched mess on your hands. Believe in yourself and your abilities and don’t forget to check in on yourself from time to time.
Don’t Let Your Maternal Instinct Take Over
Pardon the generalization, but women do tend to be more forgiving than men. We want to give people the benefit of the doubt, and we’re not immune to stories of woe. It’s good to have a big heart, but there must be a line drawn between being understanding and being taken advantage of. If an employee is late to work because a child is sick, that’s one thing. If your client is three months behind on a bill, that’s another. You can be compassionate and still be a titan of industry — it’s all about balance.
Always Value Your Staff
This one isn’t limited to female entrepreneurs, but it’s important enough that I must mention it. Running a business is a juggling act except, instead of one person seeing to a handful of balls, there’s an entire group of people trying to wrangle an ever-changing amount of tasks. No two days are the same, a problem can crop up at any time, and you can’t do it all. Hire people you can trust and let them know that you value their challenging work and dedication. You may not always be able to pay out bonuses or be Ms. Nicey Nice when a client crisis hits, but a nice word here and there will be remembered. For your staff, appreciation is quite literally priceless.
About Saint Germain Catering
Saint Germain Catering, locally owned by Mina Ebrahimi, has served the Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland area since 1999 with excellent, high quality dishes and catering for a wide variety of events including: weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, business meetings, business lunches, and more. With professional service, talented staff, and great attention to details, Saint Germain Catering can provide the perfect catering for any event.
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Saint Germain Catering
8455 K Tyco Road • Vienna, VA 22182