As hard as we tried, we simply couldn’t trim Jennifer Emerson’s interview down to one blog post. Every story she shared was intriguing, and every piece of advice she gave was inspiring. If you missed Part 1, start there. Then continue learning more about our Advisory Panel member and hardworking owner of Walker’s Drive-In, CAET, Parlor Market, Local 463, and Capital Club.
What advice do you wish you could go back and give yourself 10 years ago?
JE: Ten years ago, I was always finding myself in development meetings with men who thought I was tagging along with my husband underestimating the value I brought to the table. I found myself trying to win them over. I would tell the younger me to get up and leave. All those meetings turned out to be a huge waste of time anyways.
What’s your proudest moment of your career?
JE: Being able to provide free healthcare for all full-time staff at our restaurants. It was something that Derek and I talked about for so long and really couldn’t afford. When it became a reality, we were both so proud of ourselves for being able to pull it off.
What is your favorite item in your office? Tell us the story behind it.
JE: As a person who shares an office at each restaurant with about five other managers, I will say my favorite thing in our offices are the people who work with me. Of all those people, my favorite is Effie Hubanks. Effie runs Walker’s and is one of my partners in Parlor Market. She also happens to be my BFF. We just love being around each other, and since we are workaholics, sometimes the office is the only time I see her. I do my best work with her. She’s my brain and memory most days. So much so, “Ask Effie” is on our patio wall at Walker’s. My Rolodex was a close second, but truthfully-it’s Effie.
How do you stay motivated?
JE: I’m always conscious of my role within our companies. I’m the leader. Of course, there are days that I want to stay in bed, but I can’t expect my busboy to show up if I don’t. My job is to motivate them! Yes, my job is a lot of work, but I created it. I worked hard to achieve it. I’m lucky to be living my dream, even if some days it’s a nightmare.
What is something no one knows about you?
JE: I’m assuming everyone already knows I’m an awkward introvert. Not many people outside of my family and close friends know that I’m a BIG Lee Greenwood fan. If “God Bless the U.S.A.” comes on, I’ll be singing it loud and proud, standing, and those around me better be too. I’ve requested it at my funeral.
Jennifer’s hard work and attention to detail is obvious if you’ve ever had any interaction with her or her restaurants. She continues to set the bar high for the culinary world of Mississippi, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!