Why we need to re-examine the meaning of leadership in bars
As we kick-off a brand-new season of Perspectives with a new theme, Campari Academy creative director Monica Berg examines the role of leaders in bars today – and what needs to change for a stronger future
This month marks one year since we launched the Global Campari Academy (you can read more about it here) so it feels appropriate to use this occasion to introduce our newest theme AND our next season of Perspectives to celebrate!
Our latest theme (which completes the set) – Business & Development – joins the previous Community & Culture, Design & Technology and Raw Materials & Flavour in forming our four pillars of education, on which the Campari Academy is built. As the Academy continues to grow and form, the topics and conversations will continue to evolve – but these four themes will remain as the foundation that supports and facilitates its development for years to come.
“The aim of Business & Development is to give the next-generation-changemakers the tools they need to be successful leaders in the future.”
Personally, I’m very excited about this addition, because the theme touches on topics ranging from business-related matters such as entrepreneurship, business planning, finance and team management – but also personal development, brand building, teambuilding and leadership. In the context of hospitality, I often find these matters to be less talked about; and in the past, I’ve certainly struggled to find relevant information which can help me make the decisions I need to on a daily basis.
The aim of Business & Development is to give the next-generation-changemakers the tools they need to be successful leaders in the future, as well as create considerate business owners and team builders – and empower learning opportunities for the wider community.
As our industry slowly recovers after a tough few years, it’s important that we not only improve the skills we already have, but also focus on extending the range and reach of our skills to face the new challenges that have already arisen, or will arise in times to come. More than many others, we are a community that highly depends upon a diversity of talents – and not just a singular perception of ability – and we are dependent on finding ways to distribute knowledge equally and deliberately, amongst everyone. Our ability to adapt and overcome challenges is only partly our strength and resilience as an industry and learning from our past mistakes will hopefully become part of it too.
“It doesn’t matter who ‘leads’ or who is more ‘influential’ within our hospitality community if we can’t unite behind the important matters.”
One of the biggest lessons for me personally during the pandemic, was to realise that it doesn’t matter who ‘leads’ or who is more ‘influential’ within our hospitality community if we can’t unite behind the important matters that will make or break us as an industry. For positive change to even be possible, we firstly need to be present when decisions are made – meaning we need to get involved politically. We need to show up (and not just on social media) and fight for what we really need changed: employment (with all that entails), regulations, rent protection and so on, in order to reshape ourselves into something that can sustain and succeed moving forward.
Consider this: why was it so easy for politicians to sanction ‘performative’ measures on the hospitality sector, despite having their own science contradict the decisions, whilst industries with far more lobbying power were allowed to operate as ‘normal’? In short, we need our voices to be heard where the important matters are discussed – and for that to happen, we need a different type of leadership which unfortunately, in my opinion, does not exist today.
“I am nothing but optimistic in my beliefs for the new generation and what they can accomplish, if they want to.”
My goal with this new theme, is that people like myself and our contributors can help the next generation of bartenders by opening the doors and creating opportunities that will provide the inspiration and platforms needed for them (that means you!) to do whatever they want – because, despite sounding a bit pessimistic, I am nothing but optimistic in my beliefs for the new generation and what they can accomplish, if they want to.
And with that, we kick off our new season of Perspectives, where we build on the momentum that we gained last year and re-examine what leadership looks like in hospitality – how it has changed and how it continues to change – by posing the notion: ‘Leadership is…’
In NYC, I meet up with restaurateur and author of Unreasonable Hospitality, Will Guidara, who’s leadership skills have awarded him countless accolades – but who also helped redefine what hospitality and teamwork can be. I’ve known Will for a few years now: to me, there is no one better when it comes to building and fostering a company culture, and making sure everyone is aligned and pulling in the same direction.
“It’s time to rethink what leadership looks like, and ask ourselves: who do we want our leaders of tomorrow to be?”
We travel to Colombia to visit Jean Trinh, co-owner of Alquímico in Cartagena, whose integrity as a leader helped him and his team navigate the pandemic in a truly unique way: by building a farm in Filandia to live on together whilst the bar had to be shut. Today, he spends most of his time at the farm, whilst his team is back running the bar, making drinks from the ingredients he harvests.
Finally, we go to Buenos Aires where we talk to Inés de los Santos – a true icon of hospitality – who owns CoChinChina and Kona. With years of experience, her generosity and endless energy is a source of inspiration, both locally and globally, and she continues to push the boundaries every day.
It’s time to rethink what leadership looks like, and ask ourselves: who do we want our leaders of tomorrow to be? It might be you, or it might be one of the bartenders we spoke with for our ‘The future is yours to create’ article series that will run as part of this theme alongside our video feature ‘Up Close & Personal’ (perhaps my favourite series we’ve done so far), where we meet up with bar owners to learn more about what it takes to own and run a bar.
I really hope you enjoy this new Business & Development theme as much as I and the team have enjoyed working on it – and I’m thrilled to be sharing more exciting news in the next coming weeks!