Chat with our Founders
By Baharan Abdollahi, Digital Marketing Intern
Happy Women’s History Month! The whole month of March, we get another excuse to celebrate the strong women in our lives.
As an Intern for the Millennial Wine Beer & Spirits Competition, my first real look into the working world has been through the thoughtful instruction of our competition’s founders, Olivera Markovic and Amanda Greenbaum. These two women and I have been working together closely for the past few months. So, when International Women’s Day rolled around, I eagerly snapped up the opportunity to learn even more about their experiences as women in the wine and spirits industry. Here’s what they said!
- Why did you both decide to create a wine and spirits competition catered towards millennials?
OM: I’ve been working in the beverage industry since 2016. As I made my way through the industry, I realized the importance of the millennial consumer to this industry. Moreover, I realized the lack of focus on this specific audience, even though Millennials are the largest alcohol-consuming generation in the market. The more I researched the current market climate, the more I realized the need for a tasting event like ours. That’s why we’re hiring a younger generation of judges who have the power to raise brand awareness of the winning products amongst the Millennial generation.
AG: MC is a movement toward connecting the producers in the wine beer and spirits world with their respected consumers through blind tasting evaluation. When I was introduced to Olja, we knew right away that we were going to be great business partners. She had an idea and I wanted to be a part of making this amazing change in the industry. I wanted to be an advocate for young women and young people hoping to dive into the wine and spirits industry. So together, we do just that.
- What advantages are there in being women business owners?
OM: As two female Co-founders, we’ve been able to lift each other up, promote honesty, conversation, and constant support. We know each other’s goals, and since the beginning we’ve had conversations to help support each other to get there. Amanda is like a sister to me, seeing as neither of us have sisters (only brothers), it was fitting. I love working with her because being two women we have a special sisterly bond where we continue to support each other. We are constantly confirming and affirming each other’s career and personal goals.
- What is some advice you would give to women entering the wine and spirits industry?
AG: The biggest advice I have is to never give up and follow your passion. There will be people who may tell you you can’t, or say things that may cause you to feel anxious or wary. But the best thing you can do is remind yourself WHY you decided to work in this industry and WHY you love it. Those who are passionate about their work are the ones who end up being the most successful. Those who are unhappy with what they do will be unhappy for the rest of their lives. So remember that you want to get into the wine industry because you LOVE it. Never give up and continue to work hard to reach your goals.
- In regard to International Women’s Day– which women mentors have you had that have helped you get where you are today?
OM: I lost my father when I was 18 years old which is fairly young. My father always wanted me to continue to reach for the stars and pursue whatever I wished to pursue in life. So when he passed, I looked to my mother more than ever. She had always been a huge support, but now taking on the role of both a mother and father, I learned things about her and about myself. She was there to continually support my huge ambitions. If someone told me that I had a one in a million chance, I’d take those odds and she’d take them with me. With her unconditional love, mentorship, support and guidance, she has helped me become the woman I am today.
AG: I have been fortunate to grow up with two beautiful grandmothers, many aunts, cousins and my amazing mother who have taught me to be the person I am today. My Mom always reminded me to balance everything and is always my shoulder to cry on, my cheerleader, my advice giver and my best friend. I owe her so much because without her, I would not be as kind, as honest, as forgiving and as happy as her. She chooses to constantly live her life with a smile on her face, and because of her, I do too.
Here’s to celebrating strong women today and everyday! Thanks Amanda and Oli for taking the time to explain your journeys in the wine and spirits industry. I can’t wait to follow your lead one day as a successful woman in business!