Hello! We’re Ally & Amanda— your go-to blogging duo for all things Knoxville business. We’re passionate about local business and are excited to be sitting down with some of Knoxville’s top business executives. We’ve got the inside scoop, and we’re here to share it with you! Every month, we brunch with a local boss who’s killin’ it in our community. They share their unique insight with us, and we share it with whoever wants to know! Whether you’re looking for some mid-week motivation or just a quick, insightful read, we’ve got the tales of trials and triumphs you’re looking for.
Now that you know who we are and what we’re doing, we think it’d be cruel not to give you a taste of what’s to come. That’s why we sat down with the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants’ Marketing Director, who’s been busy taking the local restaurant industry by storm. A jack of all trades, she’s in charge of managing SEVEN different but wildly popular brands, plus fast-growing banquet and catering services. Dying to know how she does it? We sure were. Keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look into the life of Marketing Director, Kelsey Headrick.
Tell us a little bit about what you do. What’s an average day look like for you?
“There really is no average day. Every day is different, especially in my industry. You never know what’s going to happen. Typically, I start the day in my office, responding to emails or doing computer work. After lunch, I try to be in the stores. If I spend too much time in the office I feel like I don’t have that connection to the brands that I get from being in the stores. While I’m there, my job varies from reviewing in-store promotions and menus, holding meetings, managing merchandise — like I said, it’s always different,” Kelsey laughs. “Keeps me on my toes.”
How does it feel to be an influential woman in a male-dominated industry?
“I think the industry is making strides in this area. In our company, I’m proud to say we have several female Managers and General Managers. But, as for the executive staff, I’m one of the only ones, so I do think about its effect a lot. It can be tough because, in my experience, I’ve found that a lot of male peers still struggle to understand and be confident in my decisions, especially since I’m also the youngest on staff. When I first started, I was really nervous about speaking up, but over time I’ve realized that you just need to make your presence known and show them that you have the same capabilities. When you think about it that way, it can be exciting. I feel like I can make a difference… at least within our company.”
What’s it like working in a family business?
“There are definitely pros and cons. I think one of the most important, and sometimes hardest, things for people in a family business is not coming off as entitled. You want to gain the trust and confidence of the people around you; you don’t want them thinking you only got the job because you’re in the family. In the beginning, I could tell that some people within the organization didn’t think that I deserved the job more than they did. But developing relationships with people at all levels and making it clear that I’m no better than they are really helped. Other than that, it’s fun! I have a vested interest in the company, so I see it as more than a 9-5 job. My sister, mom, and dad all actually work within the company, so I get pulled in a lot of different directions — operations, interior design, management — it’s never dull.”
What has been your biggest challenge to overcome so far in your position?
“For me personally, the biggest challenge was being confident, in both my decisions and my ability to perform well in the position. Being the youngest in a male-dominated industry, it was and still can be easy to get scared and not give your thoughts or ideas the attention and confidence they deserve.”
Did you always know you wanted to be in marketing?
“Not really. My mom’s a designer, so I’ve always liked interior design and architecture, but I don’t think I’m ‘right-brained’ enough to do that kind of thing,” she jokes. “But I always had big ideas and wanted to learn how to run a business, so I signed up for business school and chose a collateral in marketing. I ended up really liking it and just wanted to be a part of the process. I wanted to be a part of the conception phase and see creative campaigns I was involved in unfold.” Is that what you like most about marketing? The creative? “Definitely. I’m open to everyone’s ideas, but I like the creative process most because it gives me an outlet to share mine.”
What advice would you give to a young woman just starting out in her career?
“There’s a lot of pressure from society today, so my advice to anyone starting out would be to stay true to who you are. With social media and everything that’s happening on the internet, you see a lot of what you’re ‘supposed to’ become. But staying true to who you are is important because if you try to be somebody you aren’t, it’s going to affect your job performance and hinder your success.”
What’s in store for the future of the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants?
“We’ve actually been growing rapidly recently. Two of our restaurant locations are in the process of being remodeled. We’re also getting ready to open an event venue in Maryville.” Any surprises you can share with us? “I don’t know about surprises, but I think where people will see the most growth in the near future is in the event center opening. The need for wedding and corporate event facilities is huge right now, so providing people in the area with a place that will meet the younger generation’s criteria is important.”
How does the Copper Cellar Family give back to our community?
“We’ve quietly helped a lot of different groups over the years. We try to choose organizations that we feel connected to, so we’ve done a lot for the American Cancer Society and veterans, since many of our guests are vets. One way we like to give back is by providing local organizations we partner with food for events they put on. For example, recently we provided food and drinks for a Smokies game that Friends of East Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs put on for the children within the organization. We’re also getting more involved with local schools and their culinary programs lately by providing tours, speaking to the students, and sharing our skills. There’s a lot going on, but it’s all pretty exciting.”
What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville on the weekend?
“Little known fact, my husband actually started a vintage antique store called Five Point Finds near downtown Maryville. So, even weekends are pretty busy for us! But I grew up on the lake, so to this day that’s how we like to relax. I also really like to make trips to the farmer’s market and garden on the weekends. Those are great ways to unwind.”