What role does authenticity play in inspiring social responsibility? In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, Kathy Behrens, President of Social Responsibility and Player Programs for the NBA, and Hillary Sterling, Chef at Vic’s in New York City, discuss building community, inspiring others and earning leadership positions in male-dominated fields. Host Billy Shore asks these “two formidable women” about their experiences. “It’s predominately male in kitchens, which is funny when you think about it, because who really cooks in the world?,” says Sterling. She remembers feeling very alone in her early days in restaurants, but notes that being the only woman gave her a goal and the determination to fight a lot harder to succeed. “It taught me to become a better manager, to get to know people better and figure out what made them tick and get people to respect me,” she believes. Behrens places great emphasis on inspiring the younger generation to grow and making sure women are given an opportunity to succeed. “How you inspire them is by being authentic, genuine and true to yourself, and make sure that they see that that’s what it takes to succeed,” she concludes.
Behrens see an interesting correlation between sports teams and restaurants. “They’re almost like community treasures. There’s a sense of community for people when they’re at our games and when you’re at a great restaurant,” she says. She developed the NBA Cares program as a platform for players to use their celebrity to support causes that have personal meaning to them in their communities. “Players are at their best when they can genuinely and authentically involve themselves in something that really matters to them,” she believes. Sterling focuses on inspiring a sense of community among her restaurant staff. When recruiting new employees, she discusses her commitment to causes such as the No Kid Hungry campaign and support for small local farmers. “That might get them in the door, but to keep them excited and interested is about how to inspire them,” she says. The authenticity in her ingredients, cooking and relationships underpins the sense of community at her restaurant. “I want to remember [my guests]. I want to remember what you ate the last time. I want to know that you don’t like parsley… I know my farmers’ names, I know my guests’ names, and I want to make sure that you feel you’re walking into an extension of your living room,” she says.
Listen to these two amazing women get to the heart of inspiration, community and social change.