The Cherry Bombe Jubilee, which took place this year on Sunday, March 29th at The High Line Hotel in New York City, was an extraordinary day of talks and panels filled with fabulous, fierce females. Personal success stories and healthy eating ruled the morning, followed by a cavalcade of witty anecdotes and comforting sweets in the afternoon. Fueled by direct-trade coffee and artisanal teas, discussions on business, family and community hummed along, peppered by personal tales of feeling overwhelmed or inspired by experiences, oftentimes both. Here were my four favorite themes.
1. Embrace the fear
Padma Lakshmi talked about how, early in her food TV career, she had no culinary background to rely on so she (smartly) took advantage of her best tool, an incredible palate. Ina Garten saw a store listed in the newspaper one day and bought it, having never run a food shop before. The takeaway: don’t be afraid to forge ahead without all the answers, and don’t let your insecurities keep you from persevering.
“Give yourself permission to learn on the job.” - Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef)
“I’m willing to work scared. I always think it’s not going to work out. It always turns out better than I can imagine.” - Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)
2. Turn your passion into your work
Erin McKenna gave a compelling talk on the power of meditation, how it helped her transform from an unhappy-go-lucky fashion worker to a vibrant, inventive baker. For others, an indirect career path made them realize what they really wanted to do. However one might connect with a deeper sense of self, the lesson was clear: figure out what you really love, and then go for it.
“When you follow your gut and you totally believe in what you’re doing, things fall into place.” - Erin McKenna (Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC)
“Find something you’re passionate about and share your story.” – Danielle Walker (Against All Grain)
3. Choose the joy
Ina Garten, the queen of easy entertaining, spoke about how when you’re relaxed and having fun, you can’t help but attract more positivity into your life. On achieving the elusive work/life balance, keeping a sense of humor and being easy on yourself was the consensus.
“I just do the best job I could possibly do that day and then I go home and have a good time.” – Ina Garten
“Don’t be balls to the wall all the time.” – April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig and many others)
4. Be a great boss
Many women who spoke were CEOs of their own companies, stewards of their own brands who, when it came to managing their employees, believed in leading with a strong but supportive touch. Furthermore, for these business leaders, appreciating others and giving honest feedback paved the way for awesome results.
“When you give people the respect they deserve, they do a good job. People are not robots.” – Martha Hoover (Patachou restaurant group)
“When you tell people the truth with the right intent, they feel empowered, inspired.” - Karen Kelley (sweetgreen)
Out of the buzzy, green juice-scented air from inside a gorgeously gothic, spectacularly windowed room, I emerged wiser and more inspired than ever. Cause for jubilation indeed!