Introducing: Womaneer, our new series that highlights and celebrates the oft–overlooked women of our day who are making waves in the fields of politics, crypto-currency, not-for-profit, and design. Each of these women have something in common: vision, grit, and a heavy dose of persistence that keeps them going despite the odds.
These women are proof that the gender gap is closing… that is, if you fight for it. With some guts, you can become the next pioneering voice in your field—a womaneer. We've heard from Aimie Rigas of Power Ledger and Caitlin Barrett of Love Mercy Australia, now, meet Rebecca Yazbek, co-founder of NOMAD.
The Sydney-based restaurant aims to run a sustainable business, working with like-minded suppliers, producers, growers, and contractors to minimise its carbon footprint. Read on, to discover how Yazbek has found success in a male-dominated industry.
"My background is in interior architecture and when I was working in design I met my now husband who owned restaurants. We came up with the idea for NOMAD while travelling through Australian wine country and two years later found the perfect site that is now NOMAD. I didn’t have a background in restaurants and it was quite the steep learning curve!"
"I studied interior architecture after school and travelled around trying to find a "home". Nothing really fit until I opened my own business where I had creative control over the design of the restaurant. I love the challenge of managing such a big team and ensuring we provide a really quality experience for our diners when they come to NOMAD."
"Finding the site was the hardest part. When we finally did find a site, it wasn’t a restaurant previously, which threw us a whole heap of challenges. The best part was the design process and finding the right people to build a business with. Designing the plate ware and seeing our concept come to life bit by bit was truly inspiring."
"Many challenges—I have learnt that having the right people in the right positions and then giving them the autonomy to fulfil their own potential and career goals is paramount. I am lucky in that my business partner has the exact opposite skillset to myself so we rarely cross over which I think has saved both our marriage and business!"
"My role has evolved in the four years since we’ve been open. When we opened I didn’t have an office assistant and we hadn’t invested in some of the technologies that we so heavily rely on to run the business. Looking back, it was all a bit of a blur due to having my fingers in so many pies. Now I can focus on what excites me and what I am good at."
"I think when you start your own business you are too focussed on what needs to get done. Nothing is easy. I believe if you have a strong business plan and passion for what you do then you owe it to yourself to give it your all and then you have the best chance to overcome the challenges that inevitably come your way."
"I don’t seem to encounter any self-doubt until well after the time I can back out of something! I quit my job in interior architecture without a concrete timeline in place for NOMAD but that allowed me the time to invest in the design process. Only looking back now do I think how crazy it all was and my absolute blind resolve that NOMAD was going to succeed."
"I focus on what I do and what my team does. We always look at the industry as a whole and love to see what others are doing but it isn’t what drives us."
"Juggling a family with the non-traditional hours of restaurants. However, with parenting moving away from the traditional mother role I think the flexibility that can come with the food industry can be helpful."
"Customers are dining out much more frequently and expect more for less. As such it’s really important we remain true to our ethos at NOMAD—being local, small producers, and an all Australian wine list, making our cheese, bread and charcuterie in house with the added costs that comes with these elements. Another ongoing challenge is attracting and retaining good staff. Overseas beckons for a lot of Australians and whilst Australia beckons for a lot of international workers, our government restrictions on overseas workers makes it very difficult to manage staff within a business."
"Not from within the industry. More so from people in general who tell me how proud I should be of my husband and what he has achieved with NOMAD. It happens less these days but my response was always the same—yes, I am very proud of him."
"I believe I am a good listener. When you respect people, it is returned to you and I try and let the quality of what we do speak for itself."
"No matter how crazy my week can get if I am down at Bondi Beach on a Friday morning with my family then it’s a good week. Not much gets in the way of our tradition (always followed by bagels at Lox Stock and Barrel), and I never take this time for granted."