Women in Business Q&A: Victoria Tkacheva, Director of Events and Marketing, Pergola

Victoria Tkacheva is the Director of Events and Marketing at Pergola in NYC. Tkacheva is responsible for all of the downtown restaurant and lounge's catering, events and marketing in addition to overseeing social media and public relations efforts.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I have always been a very independent and outspoken individual from a young age. I think when you are a young kid that has a full schedule from school to private dance and opera lessons to internships all in one day that certainly creates a strong work ethic which has helped me tremendously in my work life. Juggling 5 different projects now seems so natural. I have also met so many different individuals and have dealt with many different personalities, which is a huge benefit for my line of work and in this industry, it can be quite intense! Having experience under my belt has made me more confident with decision-making and grown my leadership skills.

How has your previous employment experiences aided your position as the Director of Events of Pergola?
I started interning and coordinating events at Martha Graham Dance, and then went on to a talent agency, followed by Veranda Restaurant. I was 19 at the time I began working at Veranda and very determined to learn about the hospitality industry. I ended up being promoted within 6 months, taking my bosses position, which was a huge and exciting step for me. To be given such a huge responsibility so young makes you learn real fast. I learned an enormous amount on the back end of running a restaurant and lounge, which is critical for future business owners. From there I went on to coordinating more, building relationships, and growing an overall understanding how to execute events which has been a great foundation for running events here at Pergola.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure as the Director of Events of Pergola?
The challenge was definitely when we first opened, trying to figure out what message we wanted to send across as a restaurant as well as an events destination. The owners come from a nightlife background so I did my best to encourage them to go in more of a restaurant direction with a lounge feel, it was not easy but I am very pleased with the outcome. After a lot of design and marketing meetings and months of work we have created a brand and are still growing. I believe we succeeded in becoming a lively restaurant where you can come to have a great meal but there's the entertainment aspect as well so you don't necessarily have to go to a club after. The customers that come back on a regular basis especially ones who have already hosted numerous events here and recommend their friends to do the same is certainly a highlight.

Tell us about any new projects that you are working on.
The next phase is Pergola's catering department, which will not only offer foodservice but our signature entertainment aspect as well. Our goal is to provide the Pergola experience off-site* Our "Neighborhood Flings" which we started last spring have been growing with each season. We are working on one for this coming April on a much larger scale, guests will certainly be impressed.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
I would say have a clear direction that you are trying to go in, learn your market, know what message you want to send across and definitely learn every aspect of your business, which will make you a much stronger business owner and leader to your staff.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
It's not easy during the busy seasons when I'm working long hours and from home, event clients want answers quickly! But during the downtime, I spend time with family, friends and try and take small trips out of the city. We also try and do small activities with the Pergola staff outside of work, in the fall we went bowling and to ping pong at Spin, which was really fun!

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think in general and from the women I know, it is in fact the work/life balance. Having to prove yourself at work and always be on your A game as well as trying to have a personal life, it can be complicated to have a healthy balance between the two.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I owe so much of my continuing growth within the hospitality industry and as a person to the people I have worked for and with because I have learned something from everyone, and everyone has always been such a huge support system in helping me succeed and in such a cut throat industry, I couldn't ask for more. I have worked with the current owners of Pergola for many years now and they have not only been the most amazing mentors but also have become wonderful friends, they take chances on my suggestions and value my opinions. I am very lucky to not consider what I do work.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I have come across so many amazing female business owners throughout the years as well as the women I have worked for and they all inspire me. I have seen such a growth in women opening their own businesses and really taking charge of their brands, which is very inspiring and also very important for the generations of young women to come.

What do you want to personally and professionally accomplish in the next year?
Personally I would love to begin traveling a bit more, even around the US! Professionally to expand Pergola into other States, and to put Pergola catering on the map in NYC it will definitely stand out with what we have in the works.