Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Maureen Petrosky, author, television personality, chef, food stylist, and entertaining and lifestyle expert. Maureen shares with us her exciting career, her passion and inspiration for creating, and her advice to women pursuing dreams in entrepreneurship.
Image via Jeff Wojtaszek
1.Tell us a little about yourself and your career. It’s been a whirlwind.
I started off behind the scenes at Food Network and have been working both in production and on-air for twenty years now-which sounds crazy long. But time flies when you love what you do.
2. Describe a typical work day.
There’s no typical work day. One day I may be writing for 8 hours straight in my home office, one day I might be tasting vodkas in Amsterdam and the very next I could be in hair and make up for the TODAY show. I don’t do typical and this work style suits my undiagnosed ADD perfectly.
3. Whether it’s for a TODAY show segment or for an upcoming article, can you explain your process for creating wonderful recipes, lessons, crafts, etc?
I see everything in life as an opportunity to learn, to improve my skills and my lifestyle and in turn see them as teachable moments too. I do a lot of thinking in bed. At night before I fall asleep or in the morning before I get up. It’s the only time the rest of my life is quiet around me. It can be a word in a book, something my kids say, or something I taste that inspires me. I want to make a beautiful life accessible, not daunting.
4. Can you name two domestic gurus you look up to and why?
My mom and Martha. I grew up in a house with seasonal decor vignettes, beautiful tabletops and a lot of fun. I mean who else’s parents were making green eggs and ham for St. Patrick’s Day or serving pink Farina for breakfast on Valentine’s day? My mom was the original inspiration. It’s in my blood. And then of course Martha. She took it to another level that lets all of us now have parties and make a career out of it. And now with her latest collaboration with Snoop, I have to give her mad props. She keeps pushing herself and that I admire.
5. When it comes to entertaining for either small or large gatherings, do you have one expert advice to share?
Pour a drink first. It makes getting ready more fun, and that’s what it’s all about, having fun. Don’t forget that.
6. How do you mix social media when hosting or entertaining? Do share at all, and is it in real time or do you post later?
I guess the evil of social media is a part of everything we do. I hate to miss the moment so typically I post later, after the fact. I try to document our moments but it’s more important to me to actually engage in them and be present.
7. What is your most successful form of marketing?
Getting out of the house. Really, as a creator you can spend endless days hulled up in front of your computer. It’s important to meet people face-to-face. All aspects are important, getting by-lines and being on TV are immensely successful outlets, but I get those jobs because I meet people and make connections. You will always be your best PR.
Image via Jeff Wojtaszek
8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I barely know what’s coming this year. That’s the nature of entrepreneurship. You need to be able to roll with the tide. You throw twenty ideas out there and if one sticks it’s a success. I just hope in 5 years to be happy and healthy and creating beautiful, interesting work.
9. When you’re not working what do you enjoy doing most?
Hanging out with my family, hosting happy hour, and Dragon boating.
10. Do you have any advice for those looking to enter the world of entrepreneurship?
Anyone who wants it badly enough can be their own boss. But you have to recognize if you have the personality for it, brace yourself for irregular paychecks, schedules and being on call 24/7. If you’re game for that here are a few tips: only work with people you like, spend a third of your time reaching out for new work and making new contacts, be responsive to emails and texts immediately, pick up the phone and call people- it’s much more powerful than an email, exercise and take care of yourself- you are your business card, dream big- then aim bigger- if you fall somewhere in the middle you’ll have succeeded.