5Q Friday profiles women who took a leap of faith career wise to start their own business and create the life they wanted. This week Stephanie Berghoff shares her story.
1.) Who are you?
My name is Stephanie Berghoff, 29 years old, and I am the co-founder of Culintro (www.culintro.com), a restaurant organization based in NYC. Culintro was formed in 2009 by myself and my partner, Alina Munoz (also 29).
2.) What do you do/what’s your business?
Culintro offers business solutions to industry professionals including the fastest-growing job board in the country, culinary internship opportunities, as well as networking and educational events.
3.) Where do you do it?
Culintro is currently based in New York City and will be launching in San Francisco in 2012.
4.) When did you decide to take the plunge and “create the life you want”?
I decided to take the plunge while I was working in public relations for restaurants. Prior to working in PR, I worked as the Event Coordinator for Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW). CEW is a trade organization for women in the beauty industry.
Through these experiences, I realized there was no organization similar to CEW for the restaurant industry. I had always known I wanted to work for myself, but when I saw a ‘need’ for this type organization, it all came together. Soon after, I met Alina Munoz, who at the time was working for Gourmet Magazine. We both had similar aspirations and goals for starting our own business revolving around the restaurant industry. We put our ideas together and collectively came up with Culintro (Culinary Trade Organization).
Alina and I saw the industry as very fragmented with no cohesive tie that connected all these restaurant professionals in an organized way. The restaurant industry is one of the largest industries in the nation (and world), so we figured if we could create a source that unified these professionals with an educational spin and focus on career development, we were onto something. And I guess we were right…
To date, Culintro has offices in NYC with plans to move into San Francisco, 15,000 members and a Board of Advisors who are all leaders in the restaurant industry.
5.) Why do you love it?
There are so many reasons I love what I do. For one, it is the best feeling to work for yourself and set your own goals.
It has also been an incredible journey getting here. The greatest challenge we face is selling people on an ‘idea’ that they haven’t thought of before. It is much easier to go into business when you are selling a product but trying to convince people they need a service to better their career is completely different. When you have a tangible item to sell, your business success is easy to quantify.
It has been so gratifying to watch Culintro grow and to have people recognize our name in the industry. It is incredibly rewarding to see our programs such as the Job Board and Stage Program, have profound effects upon people’s careers.
-Contributed by Stephanie Berghoff. Learn more about Culintro.
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