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NINA Lesser-Goldsmith

Company: Healthy Living Market and Cafe
Title: Owner / General Manager
Age: 34

Favorite Part of Job? Helping staff develop their skills they need to advance their careers - whether it is to be promoted within our own company, or to go out into the world and get amazing jobs doing what they love. I am proud that we can help so many amazing people grow professionally.

Most Inspiring Mentor: As far back as I can remember my mother has been a role model for women in business. The grocery industry was ruled by men when she started, and she forged a successful business that has grown to be an industry leader in our community by listening, serving her staff and guests with respect and hospitality, and by learning from every mistake. I still look to her for advice when things get really tough.  

Favorite Vermont Escape: I grew up sailing on the lake in the summer and skiing and riding in the mountains in the winter. These are still my outdoor escapes. There is nothing better than feeling the fresh, cold air on your face when you're zooming down that crisp, white, freshly groomed mountain slope (especially when you manage to catch a few runs before work!)

Favorite Downtime Activity: Crossfit. I love the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a really hard workout. I love that it's all about personal bests and doing things just a little better than you were able to do them yesterday.

Person you would like to share a Vermont beverage with: Tony Robbins - I have been inspired by his story and his presence every since I did a fire walk with him when I was 12 years old. To this day it was one my most life-changing experiences and I would love to get a chance to talk with him one on one.

What is the best career advice you have received? Do more listening than talking.

Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years? My goal is to become a COO. Operations and leadership are my strengths. As my business grows I hope to move into this role and help create operational systems that support a network of stores.

What motivated you to live and work in Vermont? I believe that family businesses are few and far between. I returned to VT for an opportunity to be a part of my family's business. I am honored every day to sit at a desk with my family and help carry this amazing thing my parents started, forward into the next generation.

Career Highlights: Opening our second store in Saratoga Springs, NY was a highlight for me. It was a massive project that we all invested thousands of hours in - to see it all come to fruition was very empowering. The day we opened the doors and let guests in for the first time was overwhelming in all the best ways possible.
Getting to promote people is always a highlight. It never gets old no matter how many times I do it. Seeing people's genuine excitement to learn something new is always special to me!

Community Involvement: As a child I attended summer camp at Farm and Wilderness in Plymouth, VT. Farm and Wilderness is based on the Quaker ideals of simplicity and community. I am currently serving a 6-year term on the Board of Trustees. I am clerk of the nominating committee (cultivating a talented and diverse board for future leadership of the organization) and former clerk of the inclusivity and equity committee (promoting social justice work within the organization). The F&W board of trustees operates with Quaker business practices and uses a "sense of the meeting" model where all decisions are made by consensus rather than voting.
After my own personal struggle to become a mom I got involved with the March of Dimes March for Babies event. After two years of participation I have personally raised over $6000 dollars for March of Dimes and helped organize the March for Babies event in Burlington annually.  This cause (pregnancy loss and infant loss awareness) is very important to me, and so in addition to my commitment to March of Dimes I started a small support group for other women in our community who have shared this same experience. We meet monthly and I act as the facilitator. I made it my duty to become an advocate for these women and for this cause and I hope that in the years to come I can do even more to end the silence around this very common tragedy.


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