We all have hopes and dreams. While it might seem scary to actually go after them, Steph Adams fully believes it's a must.
Beginning her career as a model, Adams knew this was not what she wanted to do; She was destined for more. As of 2017, Adams is now an art director, editor and founder of LAQUA Magazine and also a best selling author.
The Game Changer, co-written with Samantha Brett, is a New York Times best selling novel tips, how-to's, and advice for women around the world. It also contains interviews with females we all look up to.
We asked our favorite new author some questions to help us motivate our own dreams like she had done. Here are her tips and a few details on what motivated her.
Good to Glow is the ultimate bible for the healthy obsessed! It features recipes hand picked from around the world from different celebrities, hotels and cafes.
What made you decide to write a food book? What is your favorite recipe from it?
I had just published a coffee table book on the best hotels around the world for a client when a friend approached me about producing a healthy recipe book of different celebrities and hotels around the world. Good to Glow is the ultimate bible for the healthy obsessed! It features recipes hand picked from around the world from different celebrities, hotels and cafes. Myself, along with my co-author Tali Shine, had this book published with Teneuse and is now available all over the world from most book shops.
I had just found out I was pregnant at the time with my first child so it was a great new project to be focusing on in a new direction in my career as a first time Author. My favorite recipe is Melissa Odabash's protein balls - they are delicious!
What are your keys to success in the ever-changing influencer world?
Post High quality photos
Keep it authentic and unique and true to your style.
Vary your images from flat-lays and portraits to full body shots, landscapes and things that you love.
Change from black and white to color
Try to offer inspiration - an image tells a lot about who you are. You should aim to inspire.
What inspired you to write 'The Game Changers'? How did you pick the women you featured?
My co-Author; Samantha Brett and I would often take a lot of walks discussing ideas and concepts and we thought it would be great to bring a book of successful women together.
It was just before the whole wave of women's rights was really coming in to the forefront, so we hit it at the right time. We were probably a little ahead of our time. We chose women that we loved and who inspired us. We were very lucky when we interviewed Meghan Markle as we had no idea she was dating Prince Harry when we interviewed her, so when news hit, the book took the wave of the media along with Meghan and it was featured in over 100 newspapers across the globe. I remember we were in Sydney over Christmas and we were contacted by the Producers of Good Morning America. It was a great and proud moment for us. Part of the proceeds of the book were also going to the breast cancer charity; Pink Hope after we lost our dear friend to breast cancer.
What does it feel like to be a best-selling author?
The reason we wrote the book was to inspire and support a charity and when a book does well it gives you a sense of achievement that you can continue to publish more books whilst also helping more charities.
Can you tell us a little about the charities you have worked with?
I have worked with various charities over the course of my career, supporting different initiatives. Most of these have been very close to my heart. Charities I have worked with have been: Pink Hope, The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Global Goals Australia, Barnardos x Sass & Bide, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Belvedere x Red and Jeans for Genes.
As the editor and founder of LAQUA how do you think the media industry is changing?
It's rapidly changing now into much more of a digital space. Being a digital magazine you can see how many people are clicking on different items, purchasing each product, clicking on each page etc. Its the way of the future now.
What is your next book going to be about?
Myself and my co-Author Samantha Brett are still in the middle of putting our next book together which will support another charity close to our hearts. I feel this next one will be a great inspiration to many.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors and influencers?
To follow your heart and inspire!
Which celebrity has been the most exciting to work with?
Every celebrity is different in their own unique way, but its really nice when they feel strongly about reaching out and giving to others. That really makes an impact.
If you could interview anyone, who would you pick?
I've always admired the work of Oprah and Amal Clooney, so they would be very inspirational to bring to the readers!
Universally loved, and, (especially at this time of year) drunk merrily and in excess, wine is the answer to much if not all our prayers, on a regular basis.
The wine industry also happens to be home to some major female leaders, and it's become apparent, that the barriers to entry women face in almost every other industry don't apply here, as long as you've the work ethic and brains behind your operation.
"This is a people's business," says Delia Vader, CEO of Viader Wines, who's vehement about the gender neutrality of the wine industry, and hopeful for it's future, (even with the hefty factors of global warming, and recent wildfires, contending with the grape-producing vines).
Naturally, we were all too excited to sit down with five leaders in the industry working throughout the globe, that are innovating and shaping the future vintages from California to Italy and beyond. Below are five such women, ranging from vineyard to store owners, and one woman who's completely shifting the way we think about wine consumption.
Francesca Planeta, Wine Director, Planeta Wines
Francesca Planeta has been a rising star on the Sicilian wine scene for the last few years. Planeta is devoted not only to promoting her own vineyard, but promoting all the wines of Italy's largest island, which is most famous for the wonderful, Nero D'Avola.
Sicily's wine scene veritably boomed around Planeta as she was growing up. So when she finally began working on the Planeta Wines vineyard in her early twenties, she quickly learned the nuances of the land and the grapes she would ultimately come to produce. “I had begun to help out at the winery, using a graphics studio to create the logo and the first labels, and then I returned to Sicily, during the time of that first harvest. (This) was the moment when I decided that I would take on the challenge of working with the business that bore our family name."
Given that the business was family owned, Planeta did not encounter any barriers to entry because of her gender, but instead made sure that women are integral to the process on the vineyard. “Women have a fundamental role in our business," says the winemaker. “They are entrusted with many responsible positions; from wine making to directing exports and from the hotels to the entire marketing and communications office."
A worrying factor for both Planeta and the women at the vineyard however is global warming, something which has plagued wineries across the globe in recent years. Given that the taste and production of wine depends heavily on its “terroir" (or, surroundings), changes in environment are immediately a factor for anyone in the industry to consider when its coming to harvest season. “It generally seems to us that global warming presents not only a problem of warming in itself," she comments. “But in extremes of weather phenomena, with heavier rainfall – when it occurs, and rather longer periods of drought. (However), living and working in the centre of the Mediterranean gives us better conditions and the last twenty years have shown greater climatic stability."
Selling upwards of 2.3M bottles of wine a year, her chief markets (apart from Italy), are the United States, Germany, England, and Russia, followed by Canada, Switzerland and Japan. And she recommends that for the chillier months, if you're drinking a Sicilian wine, to go for Merlot, Syrah, or Burdese.
Delia Viader, CEO, Viader Wines
Argentinian-born Delia Viader was in the midst of an M.I.T degree, with three children at home, when an opportunity arose to purchase a vineyard in Napa Valley. “The timing was perfect for relocating my very young family," she says, who quickly got to grips with their new surroundings as their mother began constructing a powerhouse wine team to launch Viader Wines.
It hasn't always been easy for Viader and her team however. Before the financial crash of 2008, Viader was sold in every state throughout the U.S, and exported to 24 countries abroad. Since the crash, and an arsonist fire at a warehouse of theirs containing the entire 2003 vintage, they've changed their business model drastically. Now, they sell 90 percent of their collections direct-to-consumer, with the remaining 10 percent sent abroad or to the bigger markets of New York, California and Texas.
She has also become naturally concerned by the Californian wildfires of late, and their threat to both the vines, and the warehouses where the barrels are kept. “The biggest impact on our vineyard has been the change of weather pattern we have been experiencing for the past 35 years that we can speak of," says the CEO. “We are learning a lot about how resilient affected vines can be, and how wine made from those grapes needs to be processed to perhaps reshape stylistic performance of the resulting wine. The winegrowers as an industry will be learning a lot from this."
Learning and innovating are at the core of Viader's vineyards, where her son, Alan is championing new ways to irrigate their 92-acres of land, and fine tuning an understanding of “the exact optimal time to harvest at each vines' peak ripeness." And while she may be the CEO, she heavily depends on him for his expertise and blending capabilities. “I am the owner and CEO but I call myself the wine mother because I am the mother of the vines (I had them planted myself, my way); the mother of the wine (I 'created' our Cabernet-based wine to be highly influenced by the terroir with a high dose of Cab franc and remain, highly influential at the final assemblage-blend); and I am the mother of the winemaker, my son Alan Viader."
What is Viader most likely to be drinking at this moment? “I am very susceptible to a vibrant Pinot Noir from Burgundy most times," she says. “But my choice really depends on two variables: the food I am going to have and the company, the people I am going to share that bottle of wine with. I love harmony in the wine, the food pairing and the conviviality that springs from sharing a great wine."
Julia Jackson, Propietor, Jackson Family Wines
As one of the largest family-run wine groups in the U.S, The Jackson Family has garnered quite a name for itself. Leading the way within the group is Julia Jackson, daughter of mother Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson who built the group up from the ground, which is now worth an estimated $2.3 billion.
Today, their portfolio boasts wines from 52 wineries throughout the world, and integral to that is building relationships from within and amalgamating abroad. For Jackson, that means working in almost every facet of the business in order to cover all the projects she wishes to pursue. “I wear a few hats in my family business," she comments. “I'm spearheading my first acquisition project in another country, (and) I work with our international sales team to be one of the faces for Jackson Family Wines." On top of this, she's also involved with the group's environmental and philanthropic efforts, which, given the wildfire situation in California, will be work much needed in the years to come. “All my philanthropic efforts are focused around our environment and I created a charitable program that gives grants to women within the eco-space through our Santa Maria based winery Cambria."
Jackson's favorite wine at this time of the year? Gran Moraine from Willamette Valley Oregon.
Hortense Bernard, General Manager, Millesima Wines
Hortense Bernard was working with global industry leaders Moet Hennessy Diageo in Paris as a brand manager before she made her big move to the U.S. Now, she stands as one of the youngest female General Managers in the world of a large international firm, atop the Millesima USA group.
Millesima, a leading retailer in Europe, who branched into he U.S in 2006, owns upwards of 2.5M bottles of fine wine that are housed in the company's cellars in Bordeaux, France, (which is also the largest AOC vineyard in the country).
Bernard, who had her first glass of wine at eight years old, works primarily with direct-to-consumer retail and educating the U.S market about Bordeaux wines from their shop on the Upper East Side here in New York. "My goal is to educate as much as I can," she says. "In store, we speak about Bordeaux, and try to explain (because Bordeaux wine can be really complex), the wine."
"When I arrived here, I didn't know anything about American consumption," she laughs. "So it took me quite a bit to learn about it and understand how Americans see wines, and what they mean when the ask for a Chardonnay."
On top of chatting with customers, Bernard plays host to a lot of cultural events throughout the city, accompanying her wines whenever there might be a chance to express the history and significance of the wine for both France, and the industry at large.
So naturally, when asked what she'll be drinking on the celebratory occasions of December, it will be a big full-bodied Bordeaux " because that always takes me back (home)."
Marian Leitner, Founder, Archer Roose
Once it dawned on Marian Leitner that Millennials were drinking more wine than beer, she saw an opportunity to modernise the way we purchase, consume and enjoy wine.
"In the U.S, you actually pay more for the shipping and the packaging than you do for the wine itself," says Leitner. "So I started to ask why and learn more about the alternative packaging market."
Branching away from bottles, Leitner looked to packaging wine in every way beer is packaged - from cans and kegs, and then also, in boxes.
"You have to separate consumers into two buckets - the super high-end collectors, who make up less than 1 percent of the population, and then you have people who are drinking, "value" wines. And then the rest of America are basically beer drinkers."
Upon the realization that Millennial wine drinkers are more than beer drinkers, she also came to understand that they're also very brand-loyal. Brands that represent qualities and values they share, are the ones they're consuming the most. "So we decided to leverage the alternative packaging movement (which is keg, can and box), to cut through all the noise of the bottles in the wine store, and really connect with consumers." In doing so, she launched the company, Archer Roose Wines.
This move means, that apart from the ultra-hip way the wine is presented, you're also economizing. One box of Archer Roose wine contains the equivalent of 4 regular bottles. And inevitably, the kegs contain a huge volume.
Wine kegger, anyone?