As a California native who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, with professional experience in start-up marketing, PR and hospitality, I moved overseas to pursue a Master’s degree at the Oxford School of Hospitality. After a year in London, I moved to Tuscany to fully embrace entrepreneurship by opening a medieval (eco) B&B and launching Kynder simultaneously.
Hospitality is in my DNA. I come from a long line of hoteliers and publicans, and looking back I can see how all paths have lead me to honor hospitality in our world. Everything from obtaining an undergraduate degree in Sociology, studying organizational psychology, and ultimately understanding that hospitality is a truly noble profession filled with lots of people with hearts of gold. I realized it’s high time we take care of these people who take care of us.
Nothing means more to me than taking care of others, and letting them know they matter in this noisy world. I believe hospitality is perfectly poised to make a powerful difference in people’s lives.
Q: Describe your work in three words.
Ethical. Authentic. Kind.
Q: What gets you excited to wake up each day?
I’m excited about mobilizing hospitality as a force for good in our world, by supporting hospitality establishments with a true heart for hospitality (as evidenced by the way they treat their guests, their staff, and the planet). Elevating the conversation between guests and hosts and restoring hospitality as a noble profession, beyond the glitz and glamour is what fires me up every day!
Q: How do you stay inspired?
My family and my members continue to inspire me! They are the wind beneath my wings. I am uplifted by guests who believe in authentic, eco-conscious travel and hospitality, and I am motivated by other entrepreneurs and organizations who are forging new pathways for our common, kind and sustainable good.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your work and how do approach it?
Many travellers are hypnotized by brand, imagery and illusion. So it can be an uphill battle. The truth is, much like the ethical fashion movement, the fancy shirt is not so pretty if the workers who made that shirt were exploited. Same goes for hospitality. That cocktail may look glamorous, but if the bar back is treated as a lowly servant, we should question whether we really want to patronize this bar, no matter its high design, good reviews, Instagram followers, Michelin stars etc.
From the business side, I’ve been surprised at how inhospitable many hospitality businesses have been that we’ve reached out to… especially because they are eco-conscious companies. I believe that as a hospitality professional, one should aspire toward a hospitable life, which means your kindness does not discriminate. All people are worthy of kind acknowledgement and respect.
Q: What is the highest potential of your work and how do you see it contributing to the world?
The highest potential would be realized if all hospitality establishments elevated their consciousness to the point where the industry as a whole understood the fundamental necessity of eco-ethical values and practices. I believe the finest hospitality experiences are made possible by mindful owners who cherish their team and consider the earth that sustains us. Our world would benefit from more joyful hosts, guests and travel experiences, and our world population would benefit from a nourished, inhabitable planet.
Q: How does consciousness play a role in your business?
Mindfulness in how hospitality staff are treated empowers them to give an authentically kind experience for guests. This fosters a virtuous circle of hospitality between staff and guests, creating an atmosphere where people feel truly cared for. Being mindful about hospitality’s impact on the environment also plays a role, and points to hospitality being a powerful force for good in our world.
Q: If you could offer advice to yourself one year ago regarding your entrepreneurial journey, what would it be?
When breaking new ground and seeking to disrupt an industry from a more heart-led perspective versus a quick fix, profit driven one, you’re going to encounter resistance. There are many reasons why hospitality establishments will say ‘no’ to the Kynder mission, but there is one very powerful reason why they will say ‘yes’. Remember those are the ones you seek, and those are the ones you are doing this for.
Q: Are you seeking collaboration right now?
I always have open arms for those who seek to collaborate, whether it be hospitality establishments, sponsors, partners, advertisers, the media. We seek like-minded individuals and organizations to join forces with and I welcome the opportunity for conversation.
Q: What’s coming up for you?
Kynder is continuing to grow by welcoming new hospitality establishments and expanding to new communities. Europe is on the horizon sooner than I expected, so there is much to be excited about! We’re also about to release the Kynder App so we can be at your fingertips when out and about. Our Tuscan eco B&B is also opening this summer so hospitality truly is at the center of my life in more ways than one!