Real Local RVA’s June 2019 Meeting
“Women in Food Panel”
Sponsored by Riddle Design Co.
For the second year in a row we hosted a Women in Food Panel moderated by Robey Martin, a food, spirits and culture writer for CBS 6 and host of the podcast “Eat It Virginia.” For those of you who missed it, we welcomed Shola Walker, Owner of Mahogany Sweets, Sally Schwitters, President and CEO of Tricycle Urban Ag, Kate Lee, VP of Operations and Quality at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and Kelli Lemon, a Social Entrepreneur, Radio Personality and Owner of Urban Hang Suite. The women discussed the ups and downs of working in local food/drink, what it’s like to be a woman in Richmond’s food and beverage scene, and how they take time for themselves on a daily basis to take a break from their busy schedules. We partnered with Rebelle Con to extend our celebration of women in food with a second panel event on Thursday evening, June 6th at ZZQ, completing a full week of women in food and beverage.
Upon arrival guests enjoyed drink samples from Mother Shrub, health conscious bars from Gratisfied and coffee from the Cafe at St. Stephen’s. The room was a buzz with many attendees from the Richmond food and beverage scene.
After a short introduction from Shannon with Rebelle Con, moderator Robey Martin asked each of the women to introduce themselves and share a little bit about how they got to where they are today. We heard stories about how their family lives have shaped their careers, discouraging first interviews that led to persistence, and inspiring leaps of faith in leaving corporate jobs. They commented on what it means to be a woman in what is very often perceived as a “man’s world,” how in light of the #metoo movement workplaces and expectations are finally evolving, and how young people are leading the way in changing workplace culture.
The ladies also discussed their feelings on how minorities are perceived, both in relation to women and race and how that affects their day to day lives. They talked about the importance of a work life balance, what they do to “check out,” and how they stay inspired. One of the best threads of the day was the last one, when Robey asked about “what’s next” in their work and each of them shared what’s on the horizon for them.
They all attributed part of their success to Richmond’s supportive food community, and said that collaboration is key when you are growing a business.
We are so thankful to all who where involved with this event. Thanks to our panelists and awesome moderator, to Rebelle Con, to St. Stephen’s Church for hosting us, and to Riddle Design Co. for sponsoring the meeting. Support these women, and all your other local farmers and food businesses. Help us grow Richmond’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Next month we will be back at St. Stephen’s to hear from Steve Rosser, Owner of Gelati Celesti. More details here.