“It will be my 23th year since I moved to United States next Tuesday.” Said by Sandra Peiera, the general manager of TheBronzeEmpire.
I was able to catch up with her during her lunch break this week’s Monday. She told me that it is never too late to follow your passion and choose your life.
Sandra was born and lived in Brazil for 30 years. She was a ballet dancer and teacher by that time. “My family was pretty wealthy when my father was alive. He was the most famous surgeon in my hometown. I was a simple girl who only thinks about dancing. However, I could not dance anymore due to a really bad back injury.” She told me that she chose to come to United States after her dad asked her to make a decision about her future due to the fact that she cannot dance anymore.
She was learning English and study for other degrees at San Francisco when she was 31. However, the upheaval was striking her life and makes her into the hospitality business. “My father supported me for all the school and living bills. But he had a bad apoplexy and then retired when I was still in school. The family asked me to go back to live with them, or I have to live on my own.” Therefore, Sandra still chose to stay in United Sates. She started work at few restaurants as hostess and server.
“The upheaval is the worst and best thing that happened to me. It makes super desperate but also strong minded after I tried to do everything on my own.” Even Sandra had a hard time because her language barrier. She still was learning really fast. “The good thing about the hospitality business is that it has really low entry barrier that everyone can step in and achieve their goals.”
With the fast learning from the working experience and her manager and colleagues by that time, Sandra got raised few times from hostess/server to lead server/ floor manager. She even had a client that she served gave her the opportunity to join a new restaurant as GM. Within five years, she proudly told her family that she had the green card and became a general manager.
“I got a call from another previous employer who wants to refer me to a hotel in Las Vegas in 2004. I took the chance because I also think it will be a perfect opportunity for me to take a step further. Because Las Vegas seems to be the head of the game as a hospitality person can dream.”
However, the experience was full with laughter and tears. Sandra had gained lots of new knowledge and thoughts on hospitality industry but she also had her first and only failed marriage.
She briefly told me that she had to run out from Las Vegas because she wanted to choose a new life just as she did when she chose to move to United Sates.
“It was before 2008, I felt so lucky that I chose to come to Denver and started my career again.” Sandra chose to join the ROOTDOWN and then helped the owner to open the ROOTDOWN DIA.
I asked why she chose to leave the ROOTDOWN DIA. She told me that the traffic of driving was painful and distressful, as she gets old. Also, because the restaurant sits in the Denver airport, She has to park really far every morning and take the bus then go through the whole security check everyday.
My last question was what does she thought about the new restaurant that she is working on now?
“I think that it will be a fun and successful place. With all the time and effort that I put in this ‘baby’, I would hope that this place would be my destination for my career.”