Mary Celeste Beall’s life drastically changed in 2016, when she lost her husband Sam in a tragic ski accident. Just weeks later, her professional life also changed, when she was asked to step into the role of proprietor of the legendary Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain resorts, a role Sam had occupied for years. We spoke to Mary Celeste about her experience becoming a leader, while also navigating her grief at the same time.
In this episode, Mary Celeste shares:
The conversation that led to her becoming proprietor
How she gained the team’s trust
What it was like to have her work and her life completely integrated
The motto that gets her through
Her tips for being a great host
On Supporting Someone Grieving
Mary Celeste: You know, I think the biggest thing that I've learned is everyone's journey is unique. Whether they're going through a divorce, or a breakup, or they lost someone, or cancer, or infertility. Everyone has things they're dealing with and I think the best thing that we all can do is just be authentic and put yourself out there and say, “Hey, you're on my mind. I would love to do something for you. I would love to support you.” And you can offer your version…. The bottom line is go with your gut. Kind of listen to how they're reacting, but try to put yourself in their shoes of like, okay, if I was a busy single mom now what would be helpful? Or, if they're a quiet person and they seem to just not want to talk about it at work, then maybe you say, "Hey, can we have coffee?”"
On What It Was Like To Take Over
Mary Celeste: I had to prove myself, because I was Sam's wife and I lived in this beautiful house at the farm and I had a housekeeper and you know, I had all these people helping me. And I was like, I have to show them that I am capable. And so I think that was one of the hardest things for me was finally saying, “You know what? You've got to do it and not feel like you have to prove yourself and you don't have to know everything about every department. That's not realistic to spread yourself that thin. And what you should do is focus on what your strengths are, and you've gotta trust people and you've gotta delegate."
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