Inside The Office with Hospitality Industry Leader Taren Bradley

What is your "day job"?

I am the Director of Sales for PSAV’s DC/MD/VA region. We supply technology needs for meetings and events around the world. I’m also an adjunct professor at PGCC.

Who were your heroes, or mentors?

Growing up, I admired Mohammed Ali and Malcolm X for their ability to be unapologetically themselves. They were not afraid to face failure and adversity head on. After my father passed, I realized that he and my mother were my silent mentors. I gained my creativity and work ethic from him and my tenacity from her; but they allowed me the independence to grow on my own terms.

When did you decide you were a Hospitality Industry Professional, that this would be your journey?

I realized that the hospitality industry was for me the moment I worked in my first restaurant. Who am I kidding? It’s in my blood! My father and grandfather were both banquet waiters, so I was always surrounded by food and grand events. As a poor college student, the natural job was working in the same field. Day One I was hooked. The food, the ever changing clients, and the family atmosphere of the staff. It was home.

If you weren't involved in the Hospitality Industry, what would life look like?

I would be an ESPN sports anchor. Before the 2000’s, there wasn’t anyone on the network that looked like me and I didn’t think it was possible. Look at the network now! Women are everywhere!

If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?

I don’t really believe in regrets. Everything is a lesson learned. However, in my twenties I would have traveled more, taken more risks and had the confidence to listen my gut more. A few years ago, I read Marianne Williamson’s comments on Our Deepest Fear: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… your playing small does not serve the world.” It changed my entire outlook on my personal and professional life.

What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy or peace?

Although I’m in sales I’m an introvert. I get my energy from being alone. Quiet moments to do everything or nothing, and no judgement. Sometimes, not having to make a decision or be responsible for anyone else is a relief. Next year I plan on traveling alone as well.

In one word, what is it that you want people to remember about you?

It would be two words “Servant Leader”. I want to be the person who leads by caring for others; uplifting them to move on and pass me. A true cheerleader. In my last days I want to admire those whom I mentored or taught.

Is there anything else you wish I'd asked you?

“What would I tell my younger self?” – Create your own road, blaze new paths. Don’t be afraid to have people question your motives as long as you trust your heart. Surround yourself with people wiser than you. Be stingy with your heart and time; some don’t deserve your love or attention.

Inside The Office is a monthly blog that features female executive, entrepreneurial and creative leaders from diverse industries sharing wisdom and insight from their personal and professional journeys.