Carla Hall believes community fosters successful women businesses, interview

Carla Hall for Pepsi Dig In, photo provided by Pepsi
Carla Hall for Pepsi Dig In, photo provided by Pepsi /

As one of the most dynamic, likeable celebrity chefs, Carla Hall sets herself apart in the culinary world. While she engages fans on social media and food television, her voice transcends the screen. Since she appreciates the platform that she has been afforded, Hall often champions causes that can and do make a difference. In this current collaboration with Pepsi and its Dig In program, a stronger food community is ready to grow.

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Carla Hall regarding the Pepsi Dig In program. While Hall has had many successes over her career, not every endeavor had the outcome that she may have initially pursued. Still, Hall believes that there is a learning experience in every choice. Growth is not just about success; it is about applying knowledge and moving forward.

Since the Pepsi Dig In campaign is about not just supporting black owned women businesses but also giving them the tools to achieve their goals, Hall believes that there needs to be a give and take between women and the community. Specifically, she said that “behind the strength of a woman is a strong community and that woman needs to understand that she needs the strong community in order to achieve.”

Although those ends of the scale might not always be in balance, they are in tandem. Hall believes that the community support is vital for everyone. When one achieves, so can the other.

Hall reflected on some of her previous business endeavors. Without ever using a negatively charged word, Hall strongly believes that she was supposed to learn from that experience and she did because she was open to it. Whether it was a recipe that she uses together or the knowledge that she can pass onto others, she would not be in her current position if it was not for those opportunities.

Still, she appreciates that it can be hard for black women and women-owned businesses. Even if the barrier to entry might not be a huge wall, there are difficulties on the path to success. Still, women need to be open to asking for and receiving help along the way.

In some ways, the Pepsi Dig In program is that outstretched hand. Whether it is money used for marketing dollars or the ability to have someone who can offer meaningful advice, that willingness to accept the help is key. Even if the path is a bumpy one, the collective journey is one worth taking.

While the businesses can have their industry support, the community needs to be part of the conversation. As seen in this Pepsi program, compiling local restaurants in an easy to use source streamlines the process. Now instead of going to that generalized restaurant search site, anyone can find locally owned, black women businesses to support.

Hall encourages everyone to choose to support these local businesses. Just like a woman might be the core of a family, that strength of a woman needs to come out in all aspects of life. Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a statement that asking for and receiving help is vital to everyone involved. If one leg of the table is weak, it will never support the weight of a family meal.

As the Pepsi Dig In program continues to evolve, Hall encourages everyone to look to the website as a way to support these black owned, women businesses. More importantly, give the businesses a chance to make not just a first impression but a second, third or more one. Fostering a relationship takes time to grow, but it is one that can be nurtured.

Spefically, welcoming guests or making the experience special leaves a lasting impression on a guest. At the same time, it is a two-way street. Hall gave the example of her mother and how she returns to local restaurants because the staff’s hospitality. Again, fostering a sense of community can and does make a difference.

While Hall has been using the Pepsi site to help plan some of her upcoming restaurant choices, she encourages everyone to turn that next night out or girls’ dinner into more than just another bite of food. Restaurant recommendations don’t have to be focused on the hottest food trend or buzz worth dish. The woman behind the pass might need to be the photo on social media, not the just the plate of food. Isn’t it time that everyone dig in and plant the seeds of success for these restaurants?