Dame Hall of Fame® is a celebration of leaders who have made unique and lasting contributions to accessibility and intersectionality within the global hospitality industry. Established in 2012, it serves to acknowledge and encourage mentorship throughout the beverage and hospitality industries. Past Dames’ groundbreaking accomplishments have shaped the beverage landscape and provide visible models of achievement for tomorrow’s leaders.
Lauren Paylor, R&D Production Chef – Silver Lyan | Owner – Focus On Health and the 2021 Dame Hall of Fame U.S. Inductee presented by Woodford Reserve answered a few questions about her accomplishments, her role as a mentor within the industry, and the importance of self-care and personal growth.
Q: How have you influenced accessibility and intersectionality in your community?
A: I spent my time in 2020 developing programs via my company Focus On Health to assist the food and beverage industry in learning new and innovative ways of taking better care of themselves and their health. As beverage professionals, we know and understand our industry well and so we pride ourselves in working with health and wellness professionals to provide us with best practice and guidance.
Additionally, we worked on programming that leaned in the historical context associated with different demographics in the US, best practices for healing with trauma in regards to these demographics and even celebrated the work that people from these groups are doing today to make this industry as special and amazing as it is.
Hospitality starts with taking care of yourself and it only makes us better equipped to take care of our staff and our guests.
Q:Do you make any specific efforts to be a mentor and leader to those around you? What are they and why?
A: I have had the great pleasure and opportunity to mentor many in the DC area. Many of these relationships form unintentionally and I try my best to lift others up. I pass along opportunities whenever I can, speak up when I see something wrong and provide advice when asked to do so. I have done this a lot more on a local level but am happy to know that there are individuals in other states that can benefit from advice that I am happy to share and give. I want to ensure that as my career progresses and I accomplish more that those around me do the same. I will continue to lift others up and my hope is that they continue this momentum. We are only as good as our weakest link and community is all about having each other’s backs. It’s one of the best things about being in this industry.
Q: What does this award mean to you?
A: I’m honored to be the recipient of this award and it honestly won’t change anything that I am currently doing. It’s a beautiful thing to be given acknowledgement for the work that you do. My focus is on making a difference. I want to empower individuals to stand up for what they believe is right and provide them with the tools they need to be able to do that. Everything else is secondary.
Q:Is there one moment, from your long and impressive career, that stands out as the most impactful and/or that you are most proud of?
A: I am proud of developing a platform that is ever evolving. One that has the potential/ power to encourage, enlighten and empower individuals to be better advocates for themselves and others. We have learned a lot but also have a lot more to learn. Our primary goals are to ensure that conversation involves tackling the issues and situations we encounter as individuals of different backgrounds and most importantly that the solution is specific to the individuals seeking the change.
Q: What advice would you offer to other industry individuals who look up to you and aspire to be where you are today?
A: Keep asking questions, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, welcome criticism and feedback with open arms, stay genuine and true to who you are and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Q: What is your definition of COMMUNITY and why do you think it was an important theme for #TOTC2021?
A: The work that we do is FOR the community. One of the biggest lessons I learned this past year was to reflect on how I define community, and the ways in which I can assist in fostering growth within my community and myself.
The 2022 Dame Hall of Fame nomination period is open for U.S. and International inductees until March 30, 2022! Know an individual who you feel has made unique and lasting contributions to accessibility and intersectionality within the global hospitality industry?