Bakehouse, Creamery, Deli, Mail Order, ZingLife, ZingTrain

Good Advice from the Women of Zingerman’s

Last month, we celebrated Women’s History Month by asking the women partners of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses to give us their best advice. We posted their responses on our Zingerman’s Community Instagram and  thought it’d be fun to recap their wise words here.  Here’s what they had to say:

Amy Emberling, Co-Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Bakehouse
“During my first experiences in the food world in the late 1980s, it was clear that in some restaurants gender bias lived strong, as is the case today. I thought it was bizarre. I just ignored it and forged ahead. I recommend this as a strategy. Don’t engage with it except if necessary to call it out. Don’t embody it!”

Ji Hye Kim, Managing Partner of Miss Kim
“I am not a native speaker. I am not a native. I’ve been a woman all my life, and I’ve been an immigrant ever since the age of 13. I had fancied myself as a fighter, with this idea that I have to go after what I want, because no one ever is going to hand it to me. In much of my personal experience, this has been true. But I know that with the right people and community like Zingerman’s, I can tune out all the noise, even internal ones calling me to be a fighter. I can just focus on being a leader and building something wonderful and delicious together.”

Aubrey Thomason, Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Creamery
“Do not be afraid, do not back down. If they tell you that you are loud, direct, abrasive, and competitive, you are probably doing it right! There are times to be soft and times to be hard, and over time you will learn to balance those things. But first you need to know what you are talking about, be fearless and direct, command attention.”

Grace Singleton, Co-Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Deli
“If I was going to give advice to any woman trying to move up the ranks or own their own business, I’d say believe in yourself first and foremost—you can do anything you set your mind to. Work hard. Nothing great comes easy, don’t lose sight of your goals—it’s easy to get sidetracked—and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others by sharing your vision of success.”

Toni Morell, Co-Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Mail Order
“Never let anyone tell you what is and is not possible. You can be confident and kind, strong and humble. You only learn from your mistakes—you will make them, so get ready to learn. Don’t be afraid to say what you think. You don’t have to know all the answers, but be willing to admit when you don’t. Let your passions guide you. You set the organization’s tone, so be careful you are setting the right one.”

Maggie Bayless, Managing Partner of ZingTrain
“I grew up in an academic family and for years thought there was something a little sleazy about being in business—that corporations were out to take advantage of people. As I found myself in a variety of different jobs, however, I began to see that there were good businesses as well as bad businesses….Now, 23 years after starting ZingTrain, I have the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world, and I’m completely convinced that small businesses can be an incredible catalyst for positive social change.”