Spotlight: Jennifer Daurora

It's our very first Spotlight interview! Meet Jennifer Daurora of McGinnis Sisters.

She's passionate. She's sassy. She's a hot tamale! {See below :) }

It's been an honor getting to know Jennifer over this past year. I really admire the dedication she has to the city of Pittsburgh. In addition to her work at McGinnis Sisters, she is President of the Junior League of Pittsburgh and serves on the board for Leadership Pittsburgh.

One thing that I love about Jennifer is that not only does she believe in everything she does, she makes sure to have a great time while doing it! She really knows how to have fun.

Carrie, Emily and I are ecstatic that Jennifer sharing her secrets to success at our Launch Party on October 11, at Shadow Lounge. We hope you'll be joining us!

Enjoy Jennifer's Q&A!

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Introduce yourself and business as if you were speaking from the cockpit.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain Jennifer Daurora speaking. I am assisted by my co-pilots, the members of the McGinnis Family. As we travel toward our destination of delicious meals for the home and office, I want to remind you that sampling is encouraged! Pay close attention to all of the local and state offerings but don't shy away from international cuisine. Remember to share with friends and family, and don't forget to help clean up!

When did you earn your wings?
I joined our family business full time almost eight years ago after working outside of the family business at a large firm in Pittsburgh for four years. Of course I grew up in the business and we all worked in some capacity as children, teens and throughout college. I can still remember when I used to stand on a pop crate to be able to reach into the seafood case at our first Monroeville location.

If you could name a nail polish color after yourself or your business, what would it be?
Hot Tamale - Yes, of course we sell food and all the great things that go into tamales, but for some reason Hot Tamale was the first thing that came to my mind for our business. And not because of the candy! We have fun, we can be spicy or sweet. Our meals are filled with love and we help create wonderful experiences for our guests. Just think about the wonderful memories you created the last time you shared a meal with friends or family. That's what I want to create in our business everyday for our team and for our guests.

Not all flights are smooth. Tell us about how you handle turbulence in your business.
Stay calm, assess the situation and determine the best response for the business and for yourself. Above all, always do the right thing - even when it is hard. Remember that being right doesn't always mean you win; sometimes you have to pick your battles and let some things go.

Who is the wind beneath your wings?
Of course, my mothers and aunts who paved the way for working women with families in the 1970′s and 1980′s. I have been incredibly fortunate to have many formal and informal mentors in my life from all walks of life. Sometimes these women come to me through other businesses via the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh. Other times they come into my life from volunteering for my alma mater, with The Junior League of Pittsburgh, Leadership Pittsburgh or Alpha Chi Omega. When I really think about it and count the women who have mentored me over the years and the things they have accomplished in their lives, it is really staggering. I realize just how lucky I am to have been able to learn from these women and I am very grateful.

Advice to other women as they navigate the business world?
Be yourself and strive for constant improvement. I think sometimes women get caught up in wanting to navigate the business world like a man to be taken seriously. If you are knowledgeable, credible, honest and professional you can be yourself and be successful. I think it is important to be open - open to learning new things, open to helping others and open to exploring new opportunities. Hold yourself and others around you accountable; this can be hard but it is necessary in all aspects of life. As you are able, be sure to help other women in business and in life. Sometimes even a small connection can make all the world of difference. Once I was held out of a peer networking forum for a small technicality. I will never forget that experience and I will never do that to another woman in business. We all need to chip in and help pave the way for those who are coming after us, just like those women who came before us. I think sometimes women loose sight of that critical issue.

*** For more about Jennifer, check out her interview on Yinzpiration!