Leaders and Leadership

Leaders or leadership of any form demonstrate a high-quality effort in leading others. A strong leader has high-quality traits and core foundational values that help them reach and help others. We can find leaders in any community and in any culture. Leaders stand out as a voice for their peers and their communities. An organization that comes to mind when I think about leadership and who I think should be recognized is the ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union was created by a small group of individuals around 1919-1920 as a means to fight back against unlawful civil liberties abuses. Today, they are one of the biggest defenders for the rights based in the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU consists of a million plus members, hundreds of staff attorneys, thousands of volunteer attorneys, and offices throughout the nation.

What I enjoy about this organization is that they are here to protect the rights of every individual no matter what background, culture, community, or section of life you come from. They are here to make sure that everyone has a voice and that no one is to be mistreated in any way. They are truly of and for the people. Day in and day out they continue to fight government abuse and defend individual freedoms. Their fights continue in the form of speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, citizens’ rights to privacy, and so on. Some of their biggest battles throughout the past few years have been gaining recognition not only throughout our nation but has garnered the attention of those globally. They have paved the way for all individuals to take a stand and to empower all of our community activists. We have been through such tough times in the past few years, but it is a breath of fresh air to know that there are people out there that are not going to give up on us and that they are steadily involved in creating future generations of activists and community leaders.

The people that make up this organization are truly inspiring in the way that they dedicate their lives to helping others. This is not an organization of money and positional power. They are the leaders that we lean on to make a difference. I had the opportunity to briefly work with them through a local community initiative and what they wanted us to get out of their meetings was the opportunity to be educated on the issues that we are currently fighting against, our rights, and how to help and educate others. I tip my hat off to all of you out there that are willing to create a better world and the ACLU epitomize that vision. We are all leaders in our own particular ways. Much like the ACLU, leaders band together to make a difference.


How do we make change in our community?

“Every day the clock resets. Your wins don’t matter. Your failures don’t matter. Don’t stress on what was, fight for what could be.“ -Sean Higgins

Change comes about in all shapes and all sizes. We can either choose to change or to be comfortable with ourselves and the world that we live in. In order to create change, we must look within ourselves first, and decide what do we need to do within ourselves before we are ready to make change in the outside world. To make change is to fight for something that you are truly passionate about. Like the quote above stated, it’s a new day everyday, you get a new opportunity with another day. Don’t dwell on the past, but focus on how we could create new opportunities in the present and in the future. Although some things may seem out of reach, it’s what you do that makes a difference, whether it be small or big. The outcome is about the energy you put out there, and the people you can help. Just remember, there is always somebody listening.

Change in our community is the best place to start. You want to be able to crawl before you walk and run. Starting on projects and initiatives locally make the transitions a lot easier. Making change in our community consists of knowing what the issue is that you are trying to change, researching and gathering information about the issue you are trying to change, having a passion for making that change, and getting the community involved in that change. There are many more factors that exist, but those should be the few big points. The biggest questions are though, what is change to you? Why is this change necessary? How can this change make myself better, my peers better, and my community better? Speaking out for what you believe in is your strongest ally in this search for change. Your voice, and because you made the decision to take that action, speaks wonders about your character and activism, that will garner the attention of those with the same visions for a better community. You need to be able to get the ground work running, which means getting the community involved by hearing their opinions and visions, volunteer work, letting the community be a part of the change, make everyone feel as if you all are working towards the same goal, and you must stick to your word and your vision. Don’t let miss opportunities and let downs deter you from the end goal. Persistence, motivation, and hard work will help you stay on track for the long haul.

No matter what the change is you are trying to make, whether it be helping underprivileged kids, the elderly, fighting for voting rights, equality, housing, education, etc, change begins in your heart. We fight for what we believe in because we have endured certain experiences or because we know that there are better ways to make our communities better. Be yourself, be genuine, be passionate. Make your presence known and your visions reality. You hold the power to help future generations, and the work starts here, now! Be proud of what and who you are! Make change and set an example for future activists!

Creating a balanced cocktail

As much as I love to be humble on mostly everything that I do, I can say what I come close to being what is considered an expert on is creating cocktails. That’s broadly stating the topic, as far as mixology goes. What I have a really good knack for is making well balanced cocktails. As it turns out, my infatuation with numbers (hence the accounting major) and precise measurements (OCD) really goes hand in hand when it comes to making a well balanced cocktail. Besides those two factors, what attracted me to mixology and bartending was the nightlife, opportunity to make more money, comradery, and a new experience in a different work environment. I worked my way up to the position of bartender at Butter Restaurant, starting from being a busboy, then going behind the bar, becoming a barback. Making the switch to the bar was quite enjoyable. I fell in love with the workload (I know that sounds weird) and I began to learn from what I considered to this day to be some of the most knowledgeable colleagues and bartenders in the business. Not too further down the road I made the switch to becoming a bartender in one of the most sought after night life scenes in NYC. Then my journey and passion for curating cocktails began.

From that moment that I became a bartender, I spent the next eleven years progressing and growing in the restaurant/bar industry of NYC. One could say that I’ve “seen it all, done it all” in that sense. This topic resonated with me so much because I was reminded about an idea that one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell said in his book, Outliers, which stated that to become a true expert on anything you must go by the “10,000 Hour Rule”, which means that you must put 10,000 hours of practice into something to truly be an expert. Even though some people may argue that idea, I find it to have some significance. Throughout these eleven years, I have invested my time in reading multiple books, attending cocktail expos and cocktail classes, creating unique cocktail lists, practicing on my own time at home, researching ingredients that range from fruits to veggies, learning new techniques, learning flavor profiles, and the most important, just plain ol’ hands on learning from my colleagues and other mixologists in the industry. I am a quick learner with mostly everything that I do. I like to combine all aspects of my learning and knowledge into unique creations, sort of how I was “created” into the mixologist that I am today. Above it all, I got to meet, befriend, and network with some really amazing people in NYC throughout my tenure. Most of these people are like family to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I will leave you all with some yummy cocktail pictures, please enjoy and thank you for stopping by!