Summer-Jane Bell, USBG SF Bay Area Chapter, 14 years in the industry
Where did you grow-up, and what was it like there?
Born in Sydney, Australia (0-8 yrs, glorious childhood memories of beaches and the bush). Grade school in Massachusetts (8-18 yrs old, never quite fit in). Moved to Oakland, CA for art school. I fell in love with the area and have lived there for many years now. It's vibrant, extremely diverse, artistic, and edgy, surrounded by beautiful hiking trails and the Bay Area foodie scene.
Favorite childhood memory?
My girlfriends and I would make up dance routines to all the best 80's songs and perform them for our parents and their friends. I still love to dance.
Where do you work and what do you do there?
I wear many hats. Besides USBG National Secretary, I am the West Coast Brand Ambassador for House of Angostura, Co-Founder of the photo sharing mobile app called TrophyCocktail, and am in the process of opening a bar in Oakland with my husband Bill Stephens and close friend Josh Trabulsi.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
Mentorship and teaching. I'm lucky to incorporate that into all aspects of my work.
What is your favorite bartending moment?
There are so many things to love about this industry. I find recipe development to be a great creative outlet. Now that I work for a supplier, one of the things I miss most about bartending full time is the camaraderie of being in the trenches with your bar family. And surprising guests with something extra-delicious and unique. But I do so many events there is still a lot of crossover with great bartending moments. Now, more commonly, I'll make cocktails in batch buckets instead of single servings.
What do you do to relax outside of work?
Exercise. Sounds crazy I guess. But it's the rare time I focus on my self. It creates balance in my life. I also really enjoy cooking although I don't have much time to do it these days.
Tell us about your dream vacation
I'm in love with Mexico, Mexican culture and agave spirits. I've traveled to several areas but I keep being pulled back to a village north of Puerto Vallarta called Sayulita. It's gorgeous.
Advice you could offer to others:
Put yourself out there. Get involved. Volunteer.
Who do you look up to and why?
Our Executive Director Aaron Gregory Smith. It's been incredible to work closely with him now I'm on the National Board. He has mentored me since I joined the USBG in 2009. And I continue to learn so much from him.
Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself that we might not know.
I've been to absolutely every USBG National Leadership conference and every West Coast regional conference.
What does the future hold for you?
I will continue to explore every avenue of this industry. I'm very career-focused. My plan is to work really hard for the next 10 years then move to Mexico and open a little beach bar or a Pilates studio.
What is your least-favorite word?
I don't have one.
What is your favorite word?
I've been saying 'super' a lot lately. I want to expand my vocabulary though! I need more ways of saying things are awesome.
What is turns you on?
Excellence. People who are really good at their job. Places that go above and beyond. Incredible bar design. Avant-garde cocktails.
What turns you off?
What noise(s) or sound(s) do you love?
I love jazz standards, especially bossanova.
What noise(s) or sound(s) do you hate?
Which profession (other than your own) would you like to attempt?
I think my encore career could be Pilates instruction.
Which profession would you not like to try?
I don't do well behind a desk.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I don't believe it exists. I live each day to its fullest here on Earth.