#7: Tiana Tenet, Founder of The Culinistas

Tenet founded the weekly home-chef and boutique catering service The Culinistas, revolutionizing the experience of dining in and entertaining at home.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

Be of service. Be receptive. Be innovative. Hospitality is embedded in everything we do, from how we welcome guests at our office (always with homemade popcorn and baked goods) to how we take care of our team members, partners, investors, chefs and clients. To build a genuine service business, you need to understand your clientele and elevate the experience. To motivate your team, you need to recognize their career objectives and pave the way. To support like-minded brands, you need to understand their mission and creatively collaborate. These 3 values help me move the business forward in a truly authentic way.

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

In the early days of building a team, we struggled to find a Client Services Manager. This role is critical to the hospitality service we provide and we had set the bar high. We had three failed attempts within our first year and I started to lack confidence that we'd ever be able to find someone who cared as much about the business and our clients as us founders. I spent that summer in the client services role trying to better understand the position. It was hard stepping back into the day-to-day when I was supposed to be building the future, but I needed to experience the role myself. After two months, our next hire was very clear.

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

In February The Culinistas is launching a postnatal service geared towards new moms. We want to make sure that women are being looked after and getting the nutritional support they need, whether to promote milk production or to reclaim their body after sharing it for so many months. We’ve curated menus & content that will fortify women, so caring for the baby doesn’t conflict with caring for yourself. Maternity care and well-being should not be off limits for anyone, so $50 of every package sold will go to Every Mother Counts.