When Perk lost it's lease at our Flagship store in Durham at the end of 2017, I was really scared. How will I redeem the company; how did I let this happen? The thought of quitting was quickly put aside for action. I was going to do what had to happen. I sold our second store in Guilford to stay financially solvent, and seized an opportunity to move our remaining Middletown location to a much bigger space.
And...I applied to Yale School of Management Executive MBA program with a focus on Sustainability. I sought out advice from everyone I knew in higher education. I went way out of my comfort zone and attended every Yale SOM event I could get myself invited to, sat in on classes, had lunches with current students., took the train to New York to the Yale Club for an informational session. I was so nervous and uncomfortable and I welcomed it. I wrote my essays submitted my application and was shocked when I received an invitation to interview. Alas, I did not get in!
I asked the Admissions team for feedback, and they gave me candid feedback. I went back to the drawing board, attended more events, rewrote those essays and interviewed once again. In March, I received the call that I was accepted to the Class of 2021 Yale School of Management Executive MBA program with a focus on Sustainability!
It costs a small fortune. I imagine that people who work for large companies receive some financial assistance from those companies. I cannot afford this on my own, and because I feel like I work for all of you, I am asking you to please help me get there.
Why should I fund this? First, I have a proven history of community commitment and leadership. I have been in business for 17 yeas, and have worked to deepen our commitment to both social and environmental justice each day. I feel like a warrior against damaging the environment and want the knowledge and skills to be more effective. Only good will come out this.
Are you uncomfortable crowdfunding for a degree? Yes, very. But also, I know what an amazing opportunity this is and I also know that only good things for the Perk team and for environmental justice will result so I am forging ahead despite that discomfort.
What will you do with this degree? I think the possibilities are abundant but improving Perk on Main and Environmental Justice is on the forefront of my agenda.
Perk seems busy, why can't you just afford this on your own? Perk is busy and the new location is doing well! I credit that to the amazing Perk team that I work with now and to those who left their mark on the business in the past as well as our tremendous and loyal customers. It's been a windy and sometimes rough road, and losing our Durham store almost wiped us out at the knees. The restaurant business is hard with small margins and little room for error, and I have made my share of errors but we have endured. We have 2 kids in high school who will be heading off to college before we know it. I cannot afford this on my own.
Are you raising funds for the entire tuition? No, the full tuition is $187,00. I am trying to raise funds to pay for half of it and get a loan for the other half.
How will you run Perk on Main and do this program? The program is designed for working professionals. As a matter of fact, you have to be fully employed while going through the program. It meets every other Friday and Saturday, with a two week on campus ramp up at the program's start. I understand that the work load is great, but I think I can manage it.
What do you think of someone who supports this? I would feel tremendous gratitude to anyone who would help me. I feel extremely humbled even thinking about it. I think someone who supports this empowers women, supports local and is extremely generous.