Jenny Gandhi

Hi! Meet Jenny of Pearl Dentistry. Let me be honest here. I’d rather take all my clothes off in front of someone then give someone a peak inside my mouth. It feels so personal. Is that weird? So inherently this makes finding a dentist that I trust or would ever trust about the hardest thing ever and i’m sure i’m not alone here. What I love about Dr. Jenny is I truly believe she get’s this. She understands everything is built on relationships, community and the experience you give people. We didn’t meet because of Pearl. We met because she showed up to a #WeLoveCLT event and acted like a real human. Total kudos for being the first dentist I’d actually like to have a beer with. I think that’s awesome. I think she’s awesome.

Full Disclosure. I’ve never been to Pearl Dentistry and can’t vouch for the supposed awesomeness that happens to your teeth when you walk in there. If the talk of awesomeness is absolutely true then my teeth need Pearl. They are ready. It’ll happen soon.

What are you passionate about?

The obvious would be teeth or dentistry but there’s so much more than that. Whose passionate about teeth, right? But I am. I’m passionate when I meet someone that tells me they hate going to the dentist. That it’s the worst thing in the world. That they are scared. I want to change that perception for that person. I’m passionate about the way I make someone feel through what I do. When they smile for the first time after they see it and say that was not horrible. That it was actually fun. At the end of the day that’s what keeps me going. People.

What is your least favorite trait about yourself?

You wouldn’t think this because most dentists are not this way. Most of them are Type-A personalities but I have an issue with focusing. I have twelve hundred things going through my mind at all times except when I sit down and work on patient. In that case that’s all I think about. Though once I walk out of that room i’m a business owner. There’s so many things going on and I find that sometimes I really have to make lists and make myself more efficient because it doesn’t just come naturally to me. I wish I was one of those people that could sit down and focus on one thing and then move on to the next.

If you had the ability to change one thing about Charlotte what would it be?

We moved hear a year and a half ago and moved into uptown. When we moved here I felt that until I found things like #WeLoveCLT or #instabeerupCLT that it was missing the community feel. Now that i’ve been exposed to that I think very differently. I love Charlotte and how the people support each other but I wish there was a way I could have found out about it earlier before I met Torrie and Paula and it comes up during our marketing meetings. What i’m saying is more support and marketing from Charlotte itself to expose people to the cooler more niche things happening. I wish it was put right in my face.

Tim Cheadle asked if you could make your own ice cream what’s in it and why?

I am a chocolate freak. Obsessed with it. It would be vanilla ice cream with chocolate in it. The perfect amount of both. Not straight up chocolate though. There’s that balance when you have vanilla that allows you to really taste every bite of the chocolate. It’s so good.

Dee of Uncommen asked what was the greatest moment you’ve had with your dad?

My dad was very sweet or sour. There was no middle. He was either really stressed and not super fun to be around or the most loving person in the world. There was a moment growing up when I became a teenager where he grew this incredibly outward expressing soft spot for his children. It felt like the rules switched at some point. I stopped feeling intimidated by him. That I had someone to go to with anything. That he was my biggest advocate and that he loved me no matter what. Something changed in him. I remember it very distinctly. It’s crazy.

What is one thing your truly unhappy about?

You know what makes me truly a little unhappy inside? I’ll be honest. It’s just me and my husband here in Charlotte. We have no family here and we hate it. I feel like with nieces and nephews because we have siblings with new kids that we are missing out on so much. We see them every couple months and I think so much is happening in their lives and we’re missing all of it. It makes me so sad. Truly. But what do I do? We don’t live by either of the families. It’s just making the time to get down there so it’s both easy and easier said then done to make all this happen. We can’t just make trips to see family, have dinner and come home. It would have to be an ordeal.

Learn more about Dr. Jenny here or on Twitter at @PearlCLT. Also, get in there and check her new office out. It looks bad ass. I’m hoping to get in soon.

Joel Tracey

Photo credit: Tonya Russ Price – PopRock Photography

Hi! Meet Joel. We met because of #WeLovecLT and our mutual interest in seeing Charlotte taken to new levels of awesomeness. I’ve had a lot of those types of conversations since starting all of this. Most people are interested in seeing Charlotte be bigger and better but are ok just watching it happen. Joel’s going to make it happen. Whether that’s through his own events with Culture Initiative or supporting the things others are doing. He’s showing up for Charlotte. That’s awesome.

Also, ask him why he chose the heart emoji.

What are you passionate about?

I would say that I am passionate about Charlotte. I know that sounds completely generic. I’m passionate about seeing and help facilitating a growth in our city that really puts us on the map for food, for beer, for art and for culture in general. Just seeing this city nurture and me just playing my part in helping it grow.

What frustrates you?

What frustrates me more than anything is people that completely replicate what’s already being done in this city versus playing a part or supporting those people that are already doing it and doing it well. Just this kind of desire to be in charge of and in front of something instead of supporting it. It’s frustrating to see because it ends up saturating the development of awesome things because you have several people trying to do the same thing versus jumping in, doing it together and really making some noise on a national level on what’s happening in Charlotte. Instead it just ends up being a lot of little murmur that doesn’t escape our city.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Music. As much as I love food and beer I think music is something that I indulge in on a constant basis. Working for myself and working from home I’m constantly seeking new music to fall in love with. My days are filled with blasting music. All day, every day. I would definitely say music. Right now i’m listening to My Morning Jacket, Built to Spill and kind of anticipating Heartless Bastards new albums.

Where are you ripe with talent and where do you quickly deflate?

I would say where I’m ripe with talent is developing ideas. When it comes to brand or event development i’m good at being original and plugging in variables to create unique experiences. I feel like i’m firing on all cylinders. Where I fall short is communicating and being able to gain assistance during these developments. Just getting people on the same page as me. I definitely think communication is where I fall short.

What’s one question you would ask something that you’ve never met before?

I think I would ask them what they feel their community lacks? Often we focus on what it is that we love that’s going on around us but there’s always one thing that people wish there was more of or obtainable. In the mission of developing community and making Charlotte a cooler city is figuring out what we don’t have and filling that void. A lot of the projects i’ve done that have seen marginal success has been by creating things that we don’t have. Do something that’s missing. I’m always interested in seeing what people want more of.

Joanne Spataro asked if you could be transformed into one food what food would that be and why?

That’s a complex questions. Is it an actual produce or is it a meal? I think that I would be escargot. I would be a sea snail because in preparation it’s so simple but it’s one of those foods that you experience. You have that moment where it just changes your life. That’s what I would be… sea snail. {laughs}

You can find Joel on Twitter at @Captntracey and @CI_CLT. Also check out the last happenings over at Culture Initiative and find out how he’s trying to take Charlotte to the next level.

Field To Fork

Hi! Meet Tyler. We had lunch yesterday at the Mayobird and talked all the things. It easily felt like one of the safest conversations ever. No judgement, just honest conversation. I appreciate that. She’s doing awesome things here in Charlotte with Field to Fork. The concept of a pizza garden is so easy to grasp. It’s smart and kids get it. I love it. I truly believe in educating children at a young age on the importance of food, nutrition and sustainability. Where was this when I was growing up? I asked her five questions. Beth Mack and Kerri Flanigan each asked one.

What are you passionate about?

That is such an interesting word and I’m careful with it because I feel like it’s been getting thrown around a little loosely lately. I’m very intense about food. That would have to be my passion. It’s a really broad thing to say. That I’m passionate about food but I do feel this way about every single aspect of it. I just went back to school to study nutrition but the thing about food that I think is so cool is it really drives so much of what we do all the time. Culturally why do we eat what we eat? I believe the socioeconomics of food are really fascinating. I have always been so interested in it. It’s the reason I decided to rethink my career and go in that direction.

What frustrates you?

Just one thing? {laughs} Really slow internet as well as the lack of use of turn signals really frustrates me. But on a more serious note I get frustrated by people who are deliberately ignorant. They won’t hear other perspectives or entertain other ideas just because they want to main their own way of thinking. That frustrates me because it’s really hard to talk to people like that and have an honest conversation. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but you should be open to hearing the other side. Otherwise your just cherrypicking what you want to justify your opinion.

What is your least favorite trait about yourself?

I’m a really really harsh critic. I’m really hard on other people. I have high expectations but it goes both ways. I’m also really hard on myself. I would say that’s my least favorite characteristic. It can be detrimental at times so I try to be conscious of it.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Three years ago I completely left my career in banking and to me that was an indulgence in a way. I had this career that was really good and I was doing a job that paid really well. I don’t think that everyone is able to leave their jobs and start a whole new career just like that. To me that seemed like a really big indulgence. I know it took a lot of courage for me personally but when I think back on it it was definitely pretty indulgent. I kind of just threw one career aside and said alright, I’m gonna do a whole new one now. But day to day I would say craft beer is my greatest indulgence.

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

If it was not going to a nonprofit of my choice I would buy an awesome RV or rent one and I spend several months going around the US. There’s so much of the US that I haven’t seen and that’s always been a dream to have all this time to just explore. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the chance to do it but I think $10,000 would help kick it off. I just want to thoroughly go through the US… all the little towns.

Beth Mack asked what’s the dorkiest thing that you do?

So I’m really into Consumer Reports. Anytime I buy anything I have to look at Consumer Reports, all the reviews, all the specs. I can’t by any piece of electrical equipment, appliance or car without getting all tech’d out in Consumer Reports. I love it.

Kerri Flanigan asked if you could hang out with one celebrity for a day who would it be?

I would say Jimmy Fallon. Because he’s hilarious and does that craziest things. Also, we’d do a lip sync battle because I can’t sing so I think I’d be pretty good at that. Maybe Oprah as a back up. She’s awesome.

You can find more information about Tyler and Field to Fork here or on Twitter @Field2ForkCLT.

Kerri Flanigan

Hi! Meet Kerri. I have the pleasure of seeing and talking with her almost every day. She’s the owner of AIR Charlotte and that’s where I get my daily workout in. When I first gave AIR a shot I never thought it’d be part of my daily routine. Kerri’s commitment to creating a space that is all welcoming and supportive is what gets me there and through each workout. I never ever feel like I can’t do it. She’s awesome.

She’s also taking over out Instagram today! Follow along here.

What are you passionate about?

I don’t want to do the obvious and say fitness. Can I say life? I’m passionate about life and under that umbrella is my company, my job, my family, my home and my friends because I think a healthy balance of all of these things makes you in general just more relatable which is important. Without all those things I probably wouldn’t be as passionate. If I just had my job I wouldn’t have that balance and ability to get away from it for a little bit. That’s important. Oh and traveling. I love it. Oh man, I could go on and on so let’s just say life.

Who do you look up to?

She’s not hear anymore but my grandmother. We call her Oma. She immigrated from Germany, with my Dad when he was little and my grandpa. They lived through WWII, in prisoner of war camps and such, and came to Canada and basically started a life from nothing. They saved everything they made, I think they took one trip to Hawaii, and brought us up like their own kids. She was just one of those people who always put other people first before herself. She worked so hard for what she had and then just gave it to people. Her generosity and love for everything makes me a little jealous at times. I wish I could replicate it. She definitely still inspires and motivates me. There’s a reason my LLC is called GoodRoots. My maiden name is Gut which means “good” in German.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

In college, I used to drive an old van, and ’81 Volkswagon vanagon which is actually still sitting in our backyard, waiting to get fixed up. We had that gas shortage in Charlotte about 7 or 8 years ago, and I had pulled into the Walmart gas station in Belmont, waited in line and finally got gas. I went to start the car and no joke it wasn’t starting. This van would break down driving to class. So I had all these cars honking at me, of course I have no idea what to do and can’t push it by myself, finally these two older men, probably from Gastonia, helped me push it out of the way and eventually get it started. The battery had some issues. Anyway, I said my thank you’s and right before I got back into the driver’s seat, the old man looks me in the eye and says, “You’ve got some real purty eyeballs”.

How do you think people would describe you?

Active. I have a hard time sitting still too long. I’m a little fidgety. Outdoorsy. If i’m not working out in here i’ll be outside hiking or doing something. Music festivals outside are the best.

What frustrates you?

When people say I can’t. Those words. Especially here in the studio. You get people being pushed to their limits and outside of their comfort zone a lot so the first reaction they have is I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. Sometimes we’re in a go go go setting and you have to stand next to them and basically say yes you can. I know in my head that they can do it.

@jmitchem asked where are you from?

Edmonton, Alberta. People always go where’s that? It’s Canada. It’s actually the second most populated northern city in the world. It’s also F’in cold. I grew up snowboarding… though I’m not much of a skater. I came down here for school and what like wait, it’s much warmer down here. I’ve been here about ten years.

Katie Levans wants to know what’s one thing you’ve failed at but learned from?

I wasn’t the perfect daughter. My mom and I had a rough relationship so i’d probably say I failed her a little bit. I couldn’t give her the relationship she wanted with her daughter because I was sort of a nut job for a little while. I was standoffish and wasn’t that ideal daughter when I was younger. So, when I moved away I realized what I had done and have since rekindled our relationship. Not that we were enemies but a mother has a daughter and they want a certain type of relationship and I think I failed her a little bit in that sense. I guess you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.


You can find Kerri training people at AIR or on Twitter @AIRFITCHARLOTTE.

Joanne Spataro

Hi! Meet Joanne. I love random chance meetings. My friend … the one and only Amy Herman was meeting with Joanne at the Daily Press in NODA. Their meeting ended early so I jumped on the opportunity. Turns out she’s awesome. Incredibly funny but in a thoughtful way. She say’s it below but she’s not into dumb humor. It’s easy. She likes to make people think. In the end, twenty or so minutes together wasn’t enough. I wanted this conversation to continue. I learned so much. Did you know that Charlotte had a pretty awesome burlesque dancing scene. Me either. Learn something new every day.

Also, ask her about Pillow Talk because it’s weird and awesome. Oh, and pizza onesies…

What is your passion?

So I am a humorist and a writer and my mind is always working a mile a minute and it’s always been that way. When I was growing up around my kitchen table my family and I were always making jokes. It was kind of a fight to get a word in edge wise and kinda still is. You had to be fast. You had to be able to tell your story quickly, concisely and also make it funny. It was always a perk to make my parents laugh or make my sister laugh. I like to make people laugh and I like to make people think. You’ll never see me doing any dumb humor… nothing to obvious.

What frustrates you?

Boring, regular non-people. I hate that. It makes me crazy. People who are just like I’m going to work at this bank until I die. I don’t like it. I like people that get the bank job and then say they’re going to work on let’s say… their music or on a book. I hate people that sit by the sidelines and judge others for the art they are creating and they’re not doing anything of substance.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Oh goodness. I am a lady of indulgence. I have myself on a treat system. If I do well for the week then I go do something nice for myself. My greatest indulgence is ordering nachos, bringing them home, wearing my pizza onesie and watching either the L Word for the billionth time or Bob’s Burgers cause I really identify with Tina. That was me as a teenager. Just sitting in my own filth on my couch. I love that more than anything.

If you could go back in time and change one thing about your life what would it be?

Oh wow. Good question. If I could go back in time? You know I often say that I regret becoming a paralegal. I was a paralegal for eight years starting when I was twenty-two and I became that because my mom told me to do that. I don’t blame her for that. I was belly dancing and I had no idea what I was gonna do for money. I want to say that I regret being a paralegal. I don’t. It made me more structured and gave me some good stories. I do regret that I did it so long without realizing that I could live a life where I do Pillow Talk, my humorous essays and still make money.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Oooo! Ya know, I don’t get embarrassed…almost…ever. I’m trying to think when I was ever embarrassed. Good question. So I was hosting Charlotte Pride and I sweat a lot. When I’m filming under hot lights sometimes I’ll put maxi pads under my arm pits. I can conceal them under my clothes so I don’t sweat. During one Pillow Talk episode my arm pits got so sweaty it was running down pretty heavily. My videographer had to CGI feathers from my boa around it to get rid of the stain. I was very paranoid about this during Charlotte Pride because it was August so I had mini maxi pads. When I was in my air conditioned trailer and I wasn’t on stage I wouldn’t put them on. When I went out on stage to introduce the next group, it wasn’t till I was done and walking off stage that I realized I had them in there the entire time. I don’t think I lifted my arms but I knew they were there.

Jolenna asked if you could instantly improve one area of your life what would it be?

Does that mean snap of your fingers and it’s done? I would love to be a full time writer and not have a day job.

You can find Joanne hanging out in bed and talking with strangers here or on Twitter @lookitsjoanne.

Relay For Life of Charlotte

Picture: Left to Right (John & Kelly DeMario, Julie Grosse)

Hi! Meet Julie Grosse of Relay for Life of Charlotte. I have to say I absolutely love happy people. People that give off an energy when they talk about anything. It gets me so freaking pumped. This is Julie. Whether she’s talking about her story, RFL, family, friends, Charlotte … anything. There’s a fire in her. I’m completely inspired. She’s awesome. Her big event for RFL is actually tomorrow! Find out more here.

Fun Fact: The Duke Energy building will be lit of purple this Saturday in support of RFL. Pretty awesome.

What is your passion?

My passion is helping people in whatever capacity that is. I love to be around people and learn what makes them tick. If there’s something I can do that makes a difference in someones life that makes me happy. It makes me feel great to make a difference.

If you could go back and give yourself advice 15 years ago what would it be?

Have a better plan before you pack up and move across the country. I moved from California and was up for an internship with NASCAR. It was my senior year of college at UCLA. I was one of less than 5 finalists for the position and they told me they didn’t pick me because I lived so far away. I thought well I’ll pack my stuff up, move to Charlotte and they’ll hire me because I’m awesome. I have a degree from UCLA. That’s a big deal, right? Turns out that was the wrong attitude. No one was impressed. It was tough.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Music. Life just doesn’t exist unless there’s music. I listen to just about anything. I went to see New Kids on the Block last night. I work in a country bar. I love Poison, Motley Crue and all the 80’s hair bands. The spectrum is large.

What frustrates you?

Probably what frustrates me most with working with nonprofits is the lack of … I don’t want to say attention. It’s just there’s so much going on in Charlotte. It’s really hard to get people’s attention. We feel like we worked so hard on this event and I feel like it could be so much bigger in a city the size of Charlotte and it’s frustrating that it doesn’t get more attention than it gets.

Sara Beth wants to know why you love Charlotte?

My favorite thing about Charlotte is the skyline. I love to walk around uptown at night. It’s so pretty. I like that I live 15 minutes out of uptown but I’m in a nice quiet suburban neighborhood. I’m not super far from uptown but feel like in most cities I’d have to go much further out to get the amount of peace and quiet that I have.

Corley May asked if you had to sing a song for your supper what song would you sing?

Is is everyone I’m singing to quite drunk cause I’m not singing unless they are. Hmm… When I get bribed into singing karaoke at the bar I usually sing “Back in the Saddle” by Matraca Berg. She’s a song writer.

Emily Rester asked if you could combine any two animals what would they be?

How about a dog and a monkey? Dogs are so happy, fun loving and there to help. Monkeys are really smart and able to learn advanced things. I can’t help but think if I could train my dog to be smart like a monkey I’d be in business.

You can meet Julie in Person tomorrow! Find out more information about the big event here.

Dustin Adams

Hi! Meet Dustin. We met through mutual friends but just recently sat down and have a full on conversation. I appreciate his desire to cut through the BS and make real human connections. He has nothing to hide. That kind of honesty is what breaks down barriers. I love it. He’s awesome.

Also, ask him about Cruise Carts. He’s doing awesome things here in Charlotte. Things that have never been done.

What is your passion?

This is crazy to answer because there’s so many things I thoroughly enjoy doing. I’m passionate most about connecting with people. That’s not a bullshit answer. For me it’s truly all about meeting people, making that connection and then doing something awesome together. I’d also say building things and seeing them grow is my passion whether it’s a table or building a business. That start to finish accomplishment is where I get the most energized.

What frustrates you?

Ignorance, and I don’t mean that to be mean. Just simply not putting forth effort to achieve the things in front of you because your too lazy is ignorance to me. It drives me nuts. To ask someone to do something and for them to act as if they don’t know how to do it because they don’t want to do it. It’s my number one pet peeve in life.

What’s a perfect day look like for you?

I’d say a perfect day for me is getting into the shop and getting the carts out on the road. Then grabbing a group of friends and heading out on the lake. We live on the lake so taking the boat out, doing some wake boarding and just enjoying good company. Experiencing the sun and the water. Phew, that’s a perfect day for me.

How do you think people would describe you?

Intense is a word they would probably use. I can be very passionate about things that I’m involved with so intense on that side but also you’ll find with me that there’s two spectrums. Either intense or very laid back. I’d bet there’s two opinions there.

What advice would you give yourself 10 year ago?

Concentrate on what’s in front of you right now instead of what’s going to happen or expected to happen a week, a month or a year from now. I think that’s my largest setback in life is that I’m always looking too far ahead and because of that it puts me in freak out mode. I know that where I’m going there’s a long road to get there. If I just concentrated on right now and the amazing things that are happening I think I’d be a much more positive person.

Brigitte asked if you could either learn to play one instrument or learn one language what would it be and why?

I would say instrument and piano. I’m very envious of people who are musicians. It’s something that I can never grasp for some reason. I’ve given it a shot. Probably not 100%. I’m just very envious of that skill and their ability to play. I’ve been around a lot of piano people my whole life and it’s a beautiful instrument. It’s very relaxing and intimate. Not to mention pretty romantic.

You can find Dustin on Twitter @DustinAdams3 or cruising through Charlotte in one of his carts.

Hospitality House of Charlotte

Hi! Every Friday “Have You Met?” becomes “Have You Supported?” where we feature a Charlotte nonprofit by introducing you to one awesome person making it happen behind the scenes.

Meet Emily Rester of Hospitality House of Charlotte. I use the word passion a lot. A whole lot but it’s the reason I do #WeLoveCLT. When I heard Emily’s story. Why she is who she is and does what she does. It’s driven by passion. By using the experiences she’s had in life to ensure that people who go through similar things are taken care of. I’m floored by her willingness to give back, support others and do it all with an intense amount of energy without expecting anything in return. I’d bet she never stops. She’s awesome. I also had the pleasure of getting a tour of the HHoC house itself. They’re doing everything possible to ensure families in crisis feel as at home as possible.

Also, she introduced me to excited goats on YouTube. Heads up, that’s a deep dive that can steal so many hours from your life. Careful.

What are you passionate about?

Do I just have to choose one thing? I’m passionate about so many things. There’s not just one thing that makes me tick. Helping people is high on that list. I love helping people. It’s one thing that drives me through every day. I’m also passionate about my family, my friends, animals, everything. This is probably not a good answer. {I disagree}

What frustrates you?

When people are selfish. I don’t like selfish people. I truly believe that everybody in some way shape or form is here for a reason and can give back. I love to see how people give back.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Chocolate! or getting my nails done at a spa. I really like the spa.

If I gave you $10,000 what would you do with it?

Donate it all back. My husband and I are very blessed with what we have. We don’t need anything else. There’s so many people who I see struggle every day and they need it a lot more than I do. I’d also do it anonymously.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

I’m a hugger. I went to hug someone that I just met and they gave me the hands up, no hug please sign and rejected me. It was awkward and embarrassing.

In one sentence what advice would you give yourself ten years ago?

Don’t take yourself too seriously and give yourself a break.

Eric Hailili asked if you could add one thing to Charlotte that you’ve seen in another city what would it be?

Nashville has this really awesome entrepreneur program called Jumpstart. My sisters involved with it. I talk to my family every day and she always comes back to me and shares information about how it is benefiting her and her business. I wish we had more programs like this in Charlotte. It’s done amazing things for her.

HHoC is celebrating 30 years of helping families in medical crisis. Come join them July 22nd between 5-7pm at 1400 Scott Avenue right here in Charlotte. See the house, meet all the people and have a slice of cake. If you would like to bring a gift here’s a couple items on their wish list. Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Laundry Pods, Styrofoam cups, Coffee and Tea.

You can learn more about Emily on LinkedIn or by visiting the HHoC website.

Steven Radney

Hi! Meet Steven of Seismic. I met him last October through working out of @809 (where we host the #WeLoveCLT speaker series). He has a skill. It’s called listening. When we have a conversation I can see that he’s actively participating even though he’s not speaking. Does that sound weird? Well, I think it’s awesome and truly appreciate it. It’s something I’d like to do better myself. He also is the first person to make me not feel like a child for having toys on my desk in the office. That’s awesome.

We asked Steven how he thought people would describe him. His answer is below. To test his response we went ahead and asked two people that know him as well. Here’s what they said.

Addie Holby described him as “super chill, curious, and always ready to brainstorm”
Ramya Mahalingam described him as “hyper-context aware”.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about solving problems and my passion is design. I’ve been a designer for… I don’t know how long but formerly trained for about twenty years. I’ve been designing and sketching and exploring since I was in fifth grade. So a long time.

If you could back in time and instantly change on thing about your life what would it be?

That’s interesting because I have watched enough science fiction to know that if you go back and change one thing it may have really weird consequences on the entire world, right? If you forget to brush your teeth one day and then you come back and aliens have taken over the planet. I think if I could change one thing I would have stayed in Calgary and continued to train for the olympics in speed skating.

How do you think people would describe you?

Probably easy going. I’d say curious. Hopefully smart. I think approachable would be in there as well.

What is your greatest indulgence?

A good latte. I’m all about Not Just Coffee. Lately i’ve found the Daily Press to awesome. Usually hanging around one of those is a safe bet.

Where are you ripe with talent and where do you quickly deflate?

I love building experiences whether it’s digital or physical. I think about products as building experiences. That’s my thing. I hate and am easily deflated by preconceived sort of solutions and ideas where the process isn’t allowed to play out. That’s a huge downer. Process is super important but not process in a prescribed way. It should be flexible.

Jolenna asked if you could recommend one spot in Charlotte that everyone should go to what would that be?

Wing Haven Gardens. It has a lot of history. It’s a hidden gem. I think everyone should see it.

You can find Stephen on LinkedIn here or doing rad work for Seismic Partners.

Jolenna Mapes

Hi! Meet Jolenna. Full disclosure. I’m a self-proclaimed Pink Toast Fanboy. I’ve always been an admirer of the work they put out. It’s awesome. Knowing the people behind the scenes like Jolenna making it all happen make’s it even better. It’s driven by passion. I love it. I asked her five questions. Addie asked her one.

P.S. Shoutout to #instabeerupCLT for bringing awesome people together. That’s where we met.

What is your passion?

My passion is finding happiness through creativity. Being here at Pink Toast doing graphic design as well as my artwork has allowed me to explore my passion. It could really be anything that allows me to be creative. For instance, it could be food related. I just started a paleo diet so I’ve been restricted as to what I can eat. I figure if I have to eat a restricted diet I may as well plate it really pretty. I’m really enjoying that. I was a pastry chef for a couple years which was also a great outlet for my creativity.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Wine! no… just kidding. I would have to say coming up with creative ideas or designs that i’m really proud of. Then I get obsessed with it. If I discover a new medium or technique I indulge in it and I want to do nothing but that.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Stay true to yourself. Stay focused on what you actually want and not what other people expect of you.

What frustrates you?

Rude people. They are the worst.

Where would you move to live the rest of your life if you could only move one more time?

Hmm. I would say Tuscany. It’s so beautiful. The idea of living on a vineyard, drinking wine and being with family seems perfect. Plus I can work remotely.

Addie Holby asked what was your screen name in high school?

JJG which is Jolly Jo Giant. That was my nickname throughout all of high school.

You can find Jolenna on Twitter @jomapes13 or designing awesomeness at Pink Toast.