Jrink Juicery and Apothékary’s Shizu Okusa discusses the personal challenges of building an empire at 23; Ben’s Chili Bowl’s Virginia Ali remembers what it was like being a young businesswoman, mother and wife in 1958, the day MLK was assassinated, and the 1968 riots.
[1:11] Mary talks about her favorite zero-calorie lunch.
[3:45] Virginia builds the Ben’s Chili Bowl empire in the old Minnehaha Theater on Black Broadway in Washington, DC.
[6:08] Virginia recalls the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.
[13:12] Shizu shares the ups-and-downs of starting a business in a digital world.
[14:39] Shizu trades in her days at Goldman Sachs for a year in Mozambique to find herself.
[16:06] Shizu realizes risk is not for everyone.
[19:05] Virginia recalls the hardest thing she ever had to do as a businessperson.
[22:10] Virginia shares the personal impact of business on her young family.
[23:33] Shizu shares what personal sacrifices she made as a young entrepreneur.
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.