In The Spotlight

"I absolutely love seeing an idea go from a thought scribbled down on a white board to a full-blown, tangible product. Being able to work on a program from its infancy stages all the way through to when it’s living and breathing on a bar or table in front of a guest is beyond fulfilling."

— Brooke Vaeza

Role I Desire:

Ideally, I’d like to stay in the hospitality industry. I have been immersed in it for so long, and to see how it has suffered is heartbreaking and I would love to be a part of its resurgence. I have a passion for beverage strategy and marketing and I love nothing more than putting together successful programs for my clients and partners. Working closely with restaurants and bars has always been very rewarding to me, and I would love to be able to continue in that role. And being able to be creative and have fun is a must!

Challenges Solved:

A consistent challenge common to many clients is how to increase revenue. One particular client wanted to push the creative envelope with their annual beverage calendar and implemented a 12-month LTO program with cocktails that were trend-forward using unique ingredients and flavors. It became clear halfway through the year that their guest did not want trendy cocktails – they gravitated towards more traditional styles and “safer” cocktails. While planning the following year’s program, we course corrected and dug deep into the p-mix data and analytics, developed recipes that we felt would resonate more strongly with the guest. We also conducted site visits to observe guest behavior as well as bartender skill. We created a program that featured riffs on classic favorites that were more bartender-friendly and as a result, the client saw sales of their #1 drink increase by 260% vs. the prior year.

What Makes You Unique:

My tenure with a third-party beverage agency allows me to have a unique perspective on the industry. I’ve worked very closely with beverage buyers for 10 years, so I know what resonates with them and what types of ideas and strategies they are looking for. I’ve also worked with beverage suppliers for 10 years, so I have a very strong understanding of their roles and what’s important to them. Because I have worked with both sides for so long, I have a solid grasp on the industry that gives me an invaluable perspective and has proven to be beneficial to my clients and partners.

I’ve always prided myself in building extremely strong relationships with clients, whether I work with them for 5 years or for 5 months. I make my clients a priority and they know that I will always go above and beyond for them. Relationships are so important in our industry, and it’s honestly one of the things I love most about it and it’s an area in which I excel. And sometimes those work relationships turn into lifelong friendships!

What do You Love About Your Job/Career Path:

When you work in hospitality, it becomes a part of you. I love the people, I love the industry and most importantly I love making others feel happy and valued. That could mean making my client happy because we implemented a program that increased beverage revenue by 15%. Or it could mean that a beverage program that I worked on gave a guest a memorable experience that makes him smile. Every day, we are presented with the opportunity to create positive experiences for so many people, and it’s so rewarding. I also love the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve built – this industry has the most amazing and wonderful people and I am so grateful that I’ve been lucky enough to know so many!

I also love (and miss) the travel. This career has taken me to so many places and enabled me to see such unique and beautiful things. It’s also enabled me to visit places I would never normally go – when else would I have seen a private fireworks show over the water at a nightclub in Cancun or stayed in a hotel room that had what appeared to be a stripper pole in the middle of it?

Most Fulfilling Part:

I absolutely love seeing an idea go from a thought scribbled down on a white board to a full-blown, tangible product. Being able to work on a program from its infancy stages all the way through to when it’s living and breathing on a bar or table in front of a guest is beyond fulfilling! Whether it’s an entire beverage menu or one LTO, knowing that I had a hand in creating something that so many people get to enjoy is just a tremendous feeling.

Personal Life:

I’m a wife and stepmom to 3 amazing kids and dog mom to one amazing rescue. My dream would be to own acres of land in Colorado (or Wyoming or Utah – anywhere with mountains!) and open a rescue for as many dogs as I could fit. Either that, or open a wine bar filled with adoptable dogs. Or actually, I could just drink wine with my dog and be happy!

I love to travel and cannot wait for the world to get back to normal so that I can do it again! My husband and I have discovered our love for National Parks after experiencing Rocky Mountain National Park and Yosemite over the past few years and I would love to check more off my list.

My 15 minutes of fame came when I was in 7th grade and absolutely obsessed with New Kids on the Block. A columnist for the Houston Chronicle wrote a scathing review of them, so I took pen to paper and wrote them a long letter telling them how wrong they were. That lead to that same reporter coming to my house to interview and photograph me as “Houston’s Biggest New Kids Fan.” And there, on the front page of the Entertainment section of the Houston Chronicle, was me in full preteen glory decked out in my best NKOTB gear. I was out there just living the dream at 12 years old!