125: Top 20 Countdown

Top 20 Countdown: Week 5

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s episode is the fifth of several highlight shows where we are taking a look back at our top 20 favorite interviews and conversations of all time. Today’s featured guest is Pilar Guzman Zavala, CEO at Half Moon Empanadas. Half Moon Empanadas is a serious innovator in the food space, offering 20+ flavors of Argentinian empanadas, and leading the charge to create a whole new food category in the national fast-casual market. Pilar is also a mentor at WINlab Miami, FIU Startup Food Lab, a board member at Venture Cafe Miami, and a Fellow at The Miami Foundation.

Some key points from Pilar from Half Moon Empanadas:

  • Pilar’s entrepreneurial story; the struggles and the triumphs
  • The 10 year history behind opening 10 locations and selling 600,000 empanadas per year
  • Finding a new place where she could make a difference
  • Raising people up
  • Hiring women: women are 70% of Half Moon’s workforce
  • Pilar’s vision for the future of Half Moon; being a national name, and in every airport in the country
  • Another company Pilar is working on, Alma Mia, which creates jewelry and empowers women
  • Attending the Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program
  • The struggle of being a mother and an entrepreneur, the need to share her story to help other women who feel isolated by the struggle
  • The difficulty of acknowledging and accepting your own success
  • The loneliness of being an entrepreneur
  • Listen or watch Pilar’s full episode here