Wise Women Wednesday: Maureen Brogan

It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions.  These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.

Q. Who are you? What is your background?  
A. I am Maureen Brogan. I started in the restaurant industry when I was 19 years old (32 now) and realized immediately that I loved it. I worked in all aspects, from hostess, to waitress, to prep work, to catering. Along the way I worked in arts administration and loved that as well then landed in a strange position - buying a 35 year old sub shop.

Q. What is your work?
A. I own and operate a 37 year old restaurant called The Original Sub Shop & Deli. I order food, I slice meat, I create soup, I fill ice water, I make sandwiches, I run food, I play with babies, and I try my hardest to make people just feel better. No matter how high or low they feel when they walk through my door.

Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I am uber excited to be working with a group called ZONE. Zepf Center Organic Nutrition Education.  This group brings together kids that are both underserved and also have the added bonus of some behavioral problems. They have a garden in Uptown Toledo where they not only learn the principles of organic gardening, but also then team up with restaurants to learn how to put these ingredients into dishes. This serves to teach an awesome skill and also lessens anxiety from food scarcity. They are hands down the coolest kids I have ever met. They are excited to work in the dirt and get to pull weeds and grow things like purple sweet potatoes then turn around and learn how to bake pies with them. This year I get to work on Family Meal with them. We will meet up with a main dish and then create side dishes from the produce these kids have grown alongside their families. No matter how whooped I am from a crazy day, these kids show up and I feel like a million bucks. They try new food even if it weirds them out, they get excited about summer jobs and the idea of working in food service, they are stoked to set the table and sit together and eat and talk and tease each other. It’s just the best.

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. I am still under two years in business. A year and half ago is recent in the grand scheme right? I bought a building and restaurant. I bought a beloved restaurant, one where adults come in and tell me they have been eating here their whole lives and will it taste the same? I bought a place where I have to live up to childhood memories! Whoa! Scary! Also, awesome. Bring it on. The only thing I care more about than food, is people. And that is how this whole huge thing will work.  Only once did I say - oh god, you said yes - you can’t fail now - it’s time. So while it was only scary for a moment, it was still scary ya know? Best. Decision. Ever.

Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it?  If not why not what's stopping you?  
A. This is the work I most want to be doing. I have said over and over again in my time in the restaurant industry that if I could do this and make a living, I would do it for the rest of my life. Here it is! I have a restaurant that is doing all right and I am working to make it better. I get to talk to people and feed them every day. I get to use my building and restaurant to work with the community and make it a better place. This is it! (till the next dream;)

Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. It’s going to be fine. You are awesome. Volunteer more.

Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Don’t be in a hurry. Bad things happen when you rush. That extra 5 mins you saved by rushing? Not worth it. Breathe. Put your shoulders down. Turn up the music.

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. Knowing that you might make something that will taste so damn good. Also, that feeling when you stepped all over your procrastination and came out with an awesome soup or something on the other side. Get up, go to it. You got this!

Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I never stop feeling like I am lazy. I always feel like there is more to do. Please remember that if you feel like that, to make a list of all the stuff you did today. Most likely, you kicked ass too. <3

Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?  
A. That one where you start in downward dog and lift your leg and drop your heel toward your shoulder. Ahhhhhhhh release!

Q.  How do you live a life of abundance?
A. Abundance - a very large quantity of something. I live a life of abundance by surrounding myself with the best people. I am still not quite sure how I got so lucky, but the folks around me are the jam. We all love to work hard. We all love to make Toledo a better city to live in. We all love to do fun stuff like ride bikes and explore other cities, and sit in hammocks at the park. Better yet, we like to invite people to do those things with us. I guess paying attention to those little things making sure to include people brings on the abundance.