Jillian Hastings

Network, network, network! You must put yourself out there in order for the universe to give it back.”


Jillian Hastings is the Head of Business Development at HowUdish. She studied at Fordham University and received her B.S. in Business Administration. Before entering the tech world, Jillian started her career in New York City’s fashion industry as the receptionist at Kate Spade. Wearing multiple hats in between she eventually moved on to focusing the bulk of her career on managing sourcing and manufacturing for costume jewelry. After 9 years in fashion, she decided to take on the world of apps with HowUdish. The founder (who wishes to remain anonymous) was traveling quite frequently around the country and noticed it was extremely difficult to follow a healthy diet with fast food temptations within an arm’s reach. Jillian then encouraged him to create HowUdish. The app allows users to select from up to 9 diets such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, low carb, and low calorie to name a few; then based on the user’s location, be able to walk into most restaurants across the US to find dishes that fit for one’s dietary needs. Jillian has been focusing her efforts on strengthening the PR/social media efforts to increase user following as well as build partnerships with local restaurants. She is also a member of The Wing, a women’s only social club in New York City.

Where did the idea for HowUdish come from?

The founder was traveling quite frequently around the country and noticed it was extremely difficult to follow a healthy diet with fast food temptations within an arm’s reach. I then encouraged him to create solve that problem by launching the app.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I’m either working at home or at The Wing down in Soho. I frequently have phone calls with our social media and PR representatives to bounce ideas around. By nature, I’m introverted but more recently my motto has been to push myself out of what makes me comfortable. I use The Wing to chat with other members and network, and I frequently interact with restaurant owners that are on our app to plan future events.

How do you bring ideas to life?

My ideas come from my surroundings, but I also like to know that I’m supporting others in the tech/food industries. I’m currently working on planning an event to showcase female chefs/restaurateurs that are represented on HowUdish. I am also a stickler for details and what if scenarios. The more questions you ask the more information you will receive which will allow you determine if an idea is feasible or not.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Health awareness. Being mindful of what’s in our food and how we want our lifestyles to form.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m obsessed with my Peloton and make it a point to ride at least 3 times a week. The instructors are phenomenal and get me pumped to take on challenges in life. One of my favorite instructors is Robin Arzon. She always makes me push myself out of my comfort zone because if you don’t, you’ll never know if you can.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be confident and promote yourself!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Low carb diet. Everyone thinks I’m crazy to consume so much animal protein and fat but your body becomes a fat burning machine once you eliminate grains and high glycemic foods.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Network, network, network! You must put yourself out there in order for the universe to give it back.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We’re still in our infancy but we’re currently in the process of bootstrapping menu data across NYC. The purpose is to acquire our own data for big metropolitan cities. We have high hopes this will support and grow our user base.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I started a bag company called Jill Jenuine while in college, but I realized I didn’t have the passion needed to make the business grow. Passion drives on to dedicate time on an endeavor, and without both your business will struggle to be successful.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Parking in metropolitan areas is tough and expensive. If someone could figure out a way to develop the “uber” for street parking that would be tremendous.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

One of my favorite shoe designers, Charlotte Olympia, had a sample sale this past fall. I was able to snag $1K heels for $100! They make me very happy.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Hootsuite. I’m able to manage all social networking platforms one site.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s important for women to understand that if you do not “lean in” to what you want in life then you are not setting it up to happen. As women we’re not programmed to be risk takers and this book has reprogramed my brain to do so. I remember going to by boss to renegotiate my salary after reading this book and I got a raise!

What is your favorite quote?

Since we’re close to the super bowl I thought this quote is appropriate. Still resonates with any business or passion one would take on. “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi

Key Learnings:

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Support others in your industry.
  • Network, network, network!
  • Be confident and promote yourself!
  • Read Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.



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Jillian Hastings on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillian-hastings-5032475/