Feeding Your Passion Recap


Feeding Your Passion
April 30, 2019

We’ve heard the generic phrase - “follow your passions and never work a day in your life” or “live a life full of passion.” But what does that really mean?

How do you find your passions?

Do your passions need to be productive to matter?

In our busy lives, how do you even make time for it?

On April 30th, we took a closer look at the topic of a passion-filled life with a diverse panel of women from all walks and stages of life, who provided advice on their individual journeys with living a curiousity-driven life. Our panelists included:

  • Hillary Reinsberg of The Infatuation and Zagat

  • Mollie Chen of Hungryroot

  • Adriana Urbina of The Table

  • Vallery Lomas of Foodie in New York

  • Sujean Lee of Milk Bar

All amazing, accomplished women that helped shed light on what living a life of passion means.

What is your advice for someone whose passion might not align with their career? Or who would like to better integrate their passions with their professional life?

Hillary - [Continue] doing the “thing” despite not necessarily knowing where it’s going to go. Pursue your passions and side things even without a grand plan and be experimental because you never know where it can lead.

Adriana - My passion is my full-time job. My goal is to keep my passion my full-time job. It’s important to not put too much pressure. What’s important is not the end goal but the journey and that’s hard to understand. It’s important to visualize what you want to do and making goals to stay more encouraged.

Sujean - When you’re thinking about a job, there are so many layers that make it what it is; the physical work and the role - which is very important. You can be doing a function within your job that you really enjoy and working for a company that doesn’t necessary “sell” what you’re passionate about can still be a very fun, fulfilling experience because you’re doing a function that you’re passionate about. That’s what led me to Chobani. Align yourself with brands that have that ‘special sauce’ that can make you happy in your 9 to 5.

Mollie - Having your work and your passion be the same thing can be really challenging. Sometimes your passion not being your full time job can be a good thing. When you think about roles and how you’re going to be passionate day to day, you need to understand what motivates you. Uncover the connection to what motivates you and keeps you going day to day.

Vallery - Always ask yourself ‘why’. Why am I doing this? Sometimes, you have to take the leap and bet on yourself.

In New York City, it feels like it costs to just breathe. What are the pros and cons to monetizing your passion(s)?

Vallery - Any time a side gig came along, I asked myself - “Do I want to do this?” You have to decide if it’s going to be something you can be ‘all-in’ on.

Mollie - The answer to this question depends on what stage of life you’re in. You become more deliberate. Think about what you need to learn to get to the next step and skills you need to learn in your next role. The money does matter but what you’re learning from the job is promising as well.

Hillary - Even if the job feels relatively small, go for it. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn or what it could lead you to.

What is your why? What is the thing that truly makes you tick?

Hilary - I wanted to write and make things. Making content that’s helpful to people, and that’s authentic and real. That’s what I strive for everyday - building something that is useful and valuable which keeps me passionate.

Sujean - There is this magic that these brands (Chobani and Milk Bar) have. The challenge that was posed for me was, how do you take this magic and share it/make it available to more people. It’s the problem solving that keeps me going.

Mollie - Having high expectations for myself is what drives me.

Adriana - My goal has always been merge people together through food, and show other women that they can do it too. Having power through community!

How do you balance it all - your passions, your family, your career, finding mentorship?

Vallery - Building community is a great way to branch out to build your resources and gain mentorship.

Sujean - New York puts so much pressure on career success, but I realized that at the end of the workday I had zero energy left. You need to prioritize all of the time outside of the 9 to 5 too because that’s not what’s left over. That is just as important. Then I started prioritizing that time. Approach your person life, social life, your health and wellness life with as much effort and strategy as you approach your performance at work.

Mollie - Finding what gives you energy and finding what sucks energy. You aren’t going to be successful in your career if you don’t find what gives you energy.

Follow your curiosities. Take that next inspired action that seems frivolous but could end up being meaningful or maybe it is intended to just be fun. Trust in your value. We learned that there is no clear cut way to live a passion-filled life, but it is a life full of seeking. Seeking to know yourself better and your interests is what counts.


Inspiration Kit

Interested in this topic and going within to discover your inner wisdom? Feel free to download our Inspiration Kit for some thought starters and tips from our speakers!


About our Wise Women Speakers

Hillary Reinsberg

Editor In Chief of The Infatuation and Zagat. As The Infatuation's first hire, Hillary has overseen the editorial expansion of the restaurant review platform and its signature voice into cities across the U.S and U.K. With The Infatuation's 2018 acquisition of the legendary restaurant guide Zagat from Google, Hillary is now also working on developing that brand and platform. Previously, Hillary was an early member of BuzzFeed's news team, and as a writer and editor there covered everything from New Hampshire's election of the first all-female state delegation to viral trends on YouTube. She was recently recognized on the Media section of Forbes' 30 Under 30 list.

→ Visit her website

Adriana Urbina

Co-founder of The Table and three-time winner of the Food Network’s Chopped. Originally from Venezuela, she refined her talents at top international culinary programs including L'Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse in France and Sumito Estévez’s Instituto Culinario Caracas in Venezuela, before serving as an apprentice at Spain’s Michelin 3-star restaurant, Martín Berasategui.

In NYC, she held the title of executive chef at the James Beard-award winning Nolita eatery, De Maria. Additionally, Adriana is a three-time winner of the Food Network’s Chopped; her most recent victory was on the highly competitive "Chopped Grand Championship" – she is the only Latin-American female chef to have won the title. Beyond her work in the kitchen, Urbina is also a passionate activist. Her ongoing mission is to use her unique culinary expertise as a voice to shine a light on meaningful causes that support immigration reform, women’s rights, and aid to those in need in her home country of Venezuela. Her most recent project was feature in Forbes and it’s called The Table. A platform that gives paid opportunities to womxn in the food industry to showcase their work to a wider audience.

→ Visit her website

Sujean Lee

Chief Operating Officer of Milk Bar. She brings her expertise in building consumer brands to run all facets of the global business spanning brick-and-mortar retail, e-commerce, consumer packaged goods, and brand experiences. As COO, Sujean is responsible for corporate strategy and operations, business development, finance, talent acquisition, and sales and marketing. Prior to Milk Bar, she was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Chobani, reporting directly to the founder and CEO. She launched Chobani’s corporate social responsibility platform, co-founded the Chobani Women's Leadership Forum, and was founding President of the Chobani Foundation. Sujean began her career in the federal government, serving as Assistant Staff Secretary to the President at The White House, where she prepared the President’s daily briefing book.

→ Visit her website

Mollie Chen

VP of Brand and Customer Experience at Hungryroot, the direct-to-consumer healthy packaged food company that makes it easy to eat healthy. She is a cofounder of Birchbox, the beauty ecommerce site, where she built the brand, community, and content strategy for six years. In addition to her current role at Hungryroot, Mollie is an advisor to early stage consumer companies, including Collective Retreats and Misfit Foods. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter, where she spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about food and general life optimization. 

→ Visit her website

Vallery Lomas

Food blogger and winner of ABC’s “The Great American Baking Show.” A casting director for ABC’s “The Great American Baking Show” discovered Vallery’s Instagram account @FoodieInNewYork, and urged her to audition for the 2017 season. Vallery was cast as a contestant and ended up winning the season.  She has since appeared on CNN, the Hallmark Channel, ABC, and Fox. She presented at the 2018 James Beard Awards, and has joined the board for the International Association of Culinary Professionals.  She has been featured in People Magazine, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Variety, Grubstreet, the Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, and many others.

Prior to becoming a "full time foodie," Vallery worked as an attorney for eight years. In fact, she started her blog, FoodieInNewYork.com during her final year of law school. She now spends her days developing recipes, working as a brand ambassador, and appearing at food and wine festivals on behalf of a number of prominent brands. 

→ Visit her website

Shanika Hillocks

Freelance journalist and Influencer Marketing Manager at bread & Butter. Shanika Hillocks brings her passion for hospitality and experience leading influencer marketing campaigns in the wine & spirits spaces, to the bread & Butter digital team as an Influencer Marketing Manager. A successful freelance journalist, Shanika has covered the philosophies behind a restaurant's cuisine, a beverage director's sales strategy, and regularly profiles luminaries within food & beverage. As a MoxxieMade Courage Invigorator, Shanika has a penchant for classic cocktails, a good library read and creating community out of the connections this digital age brings about. 

→ Visit her website