Editor’s note: This is an ongoing series on how people in the hospitality industry adapted or rebranded themselves in the midst of a pandemic that abruptly closed the door on one career, but opened a corridor to another.
Christine Floersch is an innovative force who has reinvented herself multiple times, even before Covid-19 forced her latest pivot. We first ran into Floersch when she was the event planner for Seven Steakhouse & Sushi, where Foodservice News held its first Charlie Awards after-party and where we benefited from the font of creative ideas that seemingly effortlessly flowed from her.
The next time we ran into her, she had left Seven and was starting Executive Accomplice services, which encompassed both private concierge services and premier concierge-style event planning. “I decided I wanted to stop making other people money with my ideas and persuaded my backbone and shaking knees in my boots to take the leap in starting my own business,” she said.
She made the leap. “It did so well that I was able to officially go 100-percent self-employed for the last several years. It was going so well that my 2020 business projections were looking to be through the roof with the clients and contracts and business I had lined up,” Floersch said.
Then Covid hit and the stay-at-home orders started rolling out, limiting both gatherings and personal contact. She received word that the hotels she had lined up could no longer accommodate the 1,570 international and national guests she had coming in for a client who had hired her to plan their annual company conference. And a wedding she’d been planning for months with an out-of-state couple who were going to throw a big party in Minneapolis for all their friends and family was downsized to a Zoom ceremony.
So when we asked her in November what the path back would be in 2021, her answer was, "I don't see a path back. How can we go back?"
But she’s quick to add that her answer isn’t pessimistic. “To understand what ‘getting back to before’ actually means, would mean that we essentially throw away all that we have learned, experienced, developed, overcome, fought through, lost, conquered, surrendered and mourned over the last nine months,” she said.
“I chose to dissect my expertise in event planning and chop up those skill sets,” she continued. “I maneuvered into consulting for other entrepreneurial startups by utilizing my self-taught experience in building my own brands and consulting on execution logistics for anything from a post-Covid come-back to launching new ideas in a post-Covid world. Networking has always been my strength, but now I was doing it 10-fold.”
She also started a podcast called "Executive Accomplice: Life Edition" to tell the stories of everyday people doing extraordinary things. “It became a beacon of inspiration for me to witness that we are all very much hurting, scared and mad, each in our own ways, and I witnessed the gritty resolve of a community devoted to sticking together and seeing this through with the foundations still intact for each and every one of us if we wanted to be a part of the solution too.” (Her podcast can be found on RadioPublic, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Breaker.)
In addition, Floersch started designing a children's/preteen line of clothing and accessories called "What's Your Super-Power?!" And is in the process of developing and launching a line of “hearty, raw material, handcrafted, old-school throwback-style culinary tools for everyday use in everyday homes as an homage to my grandfathers who were hunters and farmers and were part of the generation that were the first true pioneers of ‘Farm to Table’ way before that was hip.”
She’s also continuing her role on the board of Serving Those Serving, a 501c3 that offers an employee assistance program for counseling and therapy. “You really want the secret to finding your path back? You have to be able to handle the hard truths and face reality and surrender to all that you have no control over,” Floersch said.
Her advice: “To follow the path back, just look for the bread crumbs you left yourself your whole life, never knowing that you were going to lose your way through no fault of your own. Mourn, grieve, get mentally strong, get your gusto back and your fire back….and then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out there creating the life you deserve to live in.
The hospitality and service industry is the only industry out there devoted entirely to saving the last remaining bits of community camaraderie and foundational, primitive, unconditional joy…The world needs us.”