Invest in your people. They will be the ones who weather the storms with you and you’ll need them when they inevitably happen.”
Ali Slutsky is a founder and partner at Resplendent Hospitality, a food and beverage Public Relations and Marketing Agency in Austin, Texas where the foodie scene is thriving. Resplendent sets itself aside from other agencies with its fresh, modern take on public relations, incorporating more into a campaign than simply traditional methods like press releases. The selective process of only choosing clients who are innovative and creative allows for a more customized approach to PR.
Ali Slutsky, together with her partner Mary Mickel, implement strategies like events, high-quality websites and videos, artwork, and other innovative projects to help local food establishments, chefs, and bars build their business and grow their brands all while getting their clients the attention they need and deserve.
Helping small businesses and promoting growth within the local community are some of the aspects of the job that Ali Slutsky enjoys most. Because she works with clients on the ground level, she gets to contribute in ways that really make an impact on their businesses, and she loves using tailor-made solutions to help them find personal success.
Above all else, through her experience Ali Slutsky has learned that the most important aspect of any relationship, especially in business, is communication. Without effective communication, it’s impossible for the client and the PR team to reach their goals or even define those goals clearly in the first place. The importance of building strong relationships is something they take so seriously at Resplendent Hospitality that they have turned away or ended service with clients if the fit isn’t working.
Working at Resplendent Hospitality has opened the door to some exciting projects for Ali Slutsky, especially the opportunity to manage the restaurants of Chef Bryce Gilmore over the past seven years. Ali and the rest of the team at Resplendent Hospitality were also instrumental in the launch of Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur, a Texas-based spirit that’s been positively received by both the media and the industry. They also aided in the great press received by Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur in O, The Oprah Magazine, The Local Palate, Southern Living, HGTV.com, and Playboy.com.
Ali Slutsky graduated in 2007 from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Journalism. Since completing her education, Ali has been involved in Public Relations, first interning at Four Seasons Miami in the Sales, Catering, and Marketing department. It was at this job where Ali was able to work closely with their PR manager and get a firsthand look at what goes into public relations, and thus began a passion for the work she now does.
Where did the idea for Resplendent Hospitality come from?
My business partner, Mary Mickel and I, were adding services to our agency that were outside the traditional PR world. Services like talent management, event production, and graphic and web design. We wanted a word that meant impressive but wasn’t too familiar in today’s vocabulary. The add on of “hospitality” was to ensure that it was clear what space we worked within.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It varies every day! As the co-owner of a startup I have to be able to do everything from manage accounts and cultivate new business, to running an HR department for my team and creating a company culture that they can thrive in.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Lots of brainstorming and team collaborations. I may have an idea but not have a clear picture on how to execute and use my team for inspiration. I will also talk a lot of ideas out loud. It somehow gives me a different perspective to say to it myself rather than think it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited about more awareness surrounding live interactions with communities as a marketing tool over social media. It seems like a dated school of thought but it appears to be having a resurgence. Social media is of course very important but brands are putting more thinking power into what those live interactions are when it comes to B2C. This kind of marketing and PR is what I really enjoy creating for my clients.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m fairly detailed focused. Which is a blessing and a curse. Very rarely do small things get by me, but it can at times distract from a broader picture vision needed to sustain long-term growth.
What advice would you give your younger self?
As cliché as it sounds, that everything happens for a reason. The hard part is making sure you find those reasons and apply them for growth and learning.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That olives are the worst food on the planet!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Invest in your people. They will be the ones who weather the storms with you and you’ll need them when they inevitably happen.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Be picky and don’t just chase the dollar signs. We built a business model around working with quality and unique businesses that have a compelling story to tell. There have definitely been times where we turned down business when we needed it, but the clients or stories were not interesting or genuine. Because of that tactic we’ve cultivated a strong, boutique client list.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There have been plenty of instances where I haven’t followed my gut and did something or, did not do something, against my better judgment. It, and myself, are still a work in progress but I have learned that I have instincts for a reason and I’m not serving anyone by not listening to them.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Lumbar supports for desk chairs! It was less than $100 but changed the way I physically feel at my desk.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Because we are so small, we don’t have an HR Department, that’s one of the hats I wear so tracking the teams PTO and days out, can really get cumbersome. I use PurelyHR to do most of that thinking for me and it’s been a great platform to streamline that process and it’s easy for my team to use.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Crucial Conversations is a great one. When you’re working in any services industry it’s imperative to be able to communicate effectively to clients. When it comes to being a boss, it’s also a helpful tool when communicating with my staff. Bonus usage is that we have crucial conversations all the time, in and out of the workplace, so you can use the tools presented all the time!
What is your favorite quote?
“You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up draw on it when you need it.” — Sheryl Sandberg
- Find reasons and apply them for growth and learning.
- Be picky and don’t just chase the dollar signs.
- Invest in your people.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.