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Women Making Their Mark In Beverage: High Spirits, Empowering Conversation and Networking

Still buzzing from our event on Wednesday, May 15, The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, "Women Making Their Mark In Beverage," in collaboration with New York City Women of Hospitality (NYCWOH). The panelists: Meaghan Dorman, Beverage Director for Dear Irving and Raines Law Room; Christina Grdovic, head of partnerships, Wonder, the former publisher of Food & Wine; Jill Mott, Wine Director, The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel;  Kellie Thorn, Global Bar and Mixology Lead, Suntory Global shared their personal journeys, challenges, insights, and the driving forces behind their successful careers. The panel was introduced by Nancy Mendelson, co-founder and columnist for hertelier and Joli Barfield, founder of NYCWOH, and moderated by hertelier founder, Emily Goldfischer.


hertelier event NYC may 2024

The Journey to Leadership


The paths to a career in hospitality are varied, and this panel was no exception. One panelist began by sharing how she was inspired by her mother to enter the industry in the early 2000s. At that time, women in leadership roles were rare. However, today, there is a notable increase in support and opportunities for women. She emphasized that what used to be exceptional, such as seeing women as head chefs, is now becoming the norm. Reflecting on her past experiences, she noted that finding female mentors was challenging back then, but now there are numerous women to look up to and seek guidance from. Viewing her career as a craft, she expressed pride in the industry's growth and the support system that now exists.


Emily Goldfischer with panelists Meaghan Dorman, Christina Grdovic, Jill Mott, Kellie Thorn, 
(L to R) Emily Goldfischer in conversation with panelists Meaghan Dorman, Christina Grdovic, Jill Mott, and Kellie Thorn

Overcoming Isolation and Finding a Voice


Another panelist, a beverage bar manager in Atlanta, discussed the isolation she felt due to the lack of female peers. Today, she feels a significant shift with more women rising in the industry, and voices like hers are now heard and valued. While acknowledging the progress made, she also recognized that there is still work to be done.


The panel emphasized the importance of having a voice in the room and advocating for oneself. One panelist shared her success story of becoming a partner by confidently asking for it and ensuring her voice was heard. Balancing motherhood and work was another key topic, with panelists highlighting their love for the work and the creative passion that drives them.


Overall, the event highlighted the positive changes in the industry, with more women in leadership roles and partnerships, and a call for continued effort towards equity and support for women in hospitality.



Top Takeaways from the Discussion


  1. Supportive Community: Women in the beverage business are increasingly supporting each other, fostering a collaborative environment.

  2. Creative Industry: Beverage and hospitality is a creative field, and living a creative life means blending work and passion. The idea of work-life balance is evolving.

  3. Personalized Career Paths: There is no 'normal' career path. It's essential to create a life that works for you.

  4. Setting Boundaries: Establishing boundaries, such as using a work phone and taking time off, is crucial for personal well-being and professional success.

  5. Paying It Forward: Mentorship is critical for professional growth. Experienced professionals should mentor and empower the next generation.

  6. Hiring with a Broader Perspective: The journey of an individual is often more important than their resume. The goal is to recognize the best talent, regardless of gender.

  7. Technology and Customer Behavior: Technology is driving changes in customer behavior, making it essential for professionals to stay informed.

  8. Industry Trends: Current trends include more informed customers, a rise in natural wines, a return to classic cocktails, and an increase in non-alcoholic and low-alcohol options.



Networking and High Spirits


The night was characterized by high spirits and lots of networking! The room was buzzing with attendees engaged in meaningful conversations, and many remarked leaving feeling inspired and motivated. The speakers' emphasis on passion, creativity, and evolving opportunities for women left a lasting impression on all who joined!


hertelier event NYC
Panelists Meaghan Dorman, Christina Grdovic, Jill Mott, and Kellie Thorn cheers with Emily Goldfischer and Nancy Mendelson

MASSIVE THANK YOU to our sponsors: Beam Suntory; The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel; Sevenrooms; and Thynk.




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