Jody was in her early 20’s and on her way to becoming a nurse practitioner, but wasn’t happy. So she flipped her life upside-down and went after what made her happy: cooking. After some sage advice from the wonderful Julia Child, she landed her first line cook job in Boston. Jody’s goal was to not stick out as a woman, even though she was the lone female in a kitchen full of men (and she accomplished that goal!).

Is she where she thought she’d end up? No…but it is a good place to be!

What makes someone a mentor? A good mentor is someone who can help you question who you think you ought to be and who you are. Today, Jody sees her children as her mentors. They know her, they push her, and they encourage her to take risks. That is what a mentor should do.

Perfectionism. Jody believes we are perfectionists because we think that if we don’t do things perfectly someone will find us out as a fraud or dismiss us. But the only way you can get to the level you want to be on, is working through that process, making mistakes, and falling down. Jody says not to think of working toward perfection, but to work toward mastery. Mastering something is just part of the process. It’s practicing and growing.

How do you practice compassion? When we think about compassion, we often think of showing compassion toward others, but Jody believes you have to practice self-compassion before you can be compassionate toward others. If you are hurting, acknowledge it. We have to take care of ourselves or we can’t open up; we aren’t sharing or loving, and we can’t show compassionate for others.

Practice inclusion leadership. Bring people together, get rid of the hierarchy. Jody says that if you don’t take the time to explain things to people, to give them a sense of ownership and accomplishment, then you are going to end up carrying it all on your shoulders. You want people to grow and evolve, and as a manager, you have to help make that happen by pushing them, being respectful, and realizing that leadership happens both in the “office” and in the community.

What is it about Boston? Boston is home to a great number of renowned chefs – many of whom are women. Why is that? Jody says so many women are able to succeed as chefs in Boston because we shine a light on our female chefs. It is easier to see yourself doing something when you can look at the people doing it and see someone who looks like you. Jody also says that as a women, it is our job to open doors for other women.

Giving. Upon hearing the term “giving back”, Jody shared her dislike for the phrase. “Giving back” sounds like you took something and are now giving it back. Jody says that instead, we should just give. Give what you have and “weave a web of gold” that includes people who believe in the same things as you and will help you give.