Sondra Bernstein of The Girl & the Fig in Sonoma wins a North Bay Business Journal Women in Business award.
Professional background: Restaurateur
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Philadelphia College of Art; Associate degree in hospitality and culinary management
Tell us about yourself and your company
After many years in hospitality, I finally opened my own restaurant in 1997 in Glen Ellen. Over the past twenty years, we have continued to grow our company, with a focus on guest & food service including another restaurant, a catering company, a food truck and more.
At the end of 2016, I started my Sonoma FIG Foundation which gives grants to entrepreneurs in the food, wine, farming landscape.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
We recently collected over 10,000 cookbook donations for WildFire Survivors and were able to give them an opportunity to replace lost collections and participated in food relief during the wildfires.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Having a business that people enjoy and continue to visit after 20 years and the ability to keep over 240 people employed.
What is your biggest challenge today?: Staffing, inflation
Words that best describe you: Busy, lots of balls in the air, risk taker, insomniac
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
Proving myself by trying to work harder than those around me.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
I don’t anticipate my job to change - but I hope to slow down a bit.
Who was your most important mentor?
I do not have one mentor, many people have encouraged and inspired me over the years.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?
Look at all the available options, learn everything you can about the business, don’t be afraid to ask for help, surround yourself with the best possible team you can find.
Most admired business person outside your organization: Danny Meyer, Alice Waters
Typical day at the office: No typical days. Everyday is different, which is how I like it.
Best place to work outside of your office: On my back patio
Current reading: "Harry Potter" series, trying to understand a different generation
Social media you most use: Instagram
Stress relievers: Meditation
Favorite hobbies: Traveling and photography
What would parents or significant others brag about you?: "My daughter has a restaurant in Sonoma." My mom is my biggest cheerleader.
Founder and proprietor
The Girl & the Fig, LLC
1206 E. MacArthur St., Suite 3, Sonoma 95476
Read more profiles of 2018 Women in Business winners: nbbj.news/wib18winners