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On Monday a video of a United Airlines passenger, being ripped from an airplane, physically accosted and bloodied because he refused to leave a seat he paid for, went viral. My first thought as I watched it was, “what country is this in?” Only to realize that something so barbaric happened here in the states. I wish I could say I was surprised, but as a very frequent flier, I can tell you it was only a matter of time before things went from bad to worse. The incident brings to light so many issues: commercial air travel is at a boiling point of dysfunction, civility is all but dead in our society, and sadly, a company will do what they are (I guess?) technically allowed to do, despite the fact that it is inherently wrong.
Today’s 5 Questions series is extra special for me. I spend more time obsessing about the things I’ve done wrong over the years than the positive choices I’ve made that have brought me to this place in my career and business. This morning, I have an opportunity to talk about what was perhaps one of my best decisions and that was bringing on Erica Bondarev Rapach as our D.C. stylist. I stumbled into the Washington market early into the business. When our first regional stylist (Steph, who many of you know and love) moved into a different industry, I had to figure out if I was going keep a presence in the area or not. On a whim, I posted a note on Facebook looking for a new hire, and Erica reached out within a day.
I took the train to Union Station and met her for a drink (or two) and liked her instantly. She’s sharp, smart, funny and an incredibly hard worker. It’s rare for me to meet someone who I think shares my energy and hustle. For almost six years Erica was my steady rock. I never worried about her abilities, care of our clients, and trusted her completely. After her appointments, her clients made it a point to contact me and praise her, more than anyone else who’s ever worked with us. Erica’s hustle and work ethic were and continue to be unmatched. Which is why when it was time to focus on other areas of the business and remove our D.C. offerings, I called Erica to see if she was finally ready to start her own business.