Carla Ruben started Creative Edge Parties at 27, working out of a small New York apartment. She did everything herself, from cooking the food and driving the van to bartending, bussing tables, serving the meal, and packing up at the end of the night. More than 20 years later, Creative Edge is one of the city's most respected caterers, trusted by organizations like Target, the Museum of Modern Art, and Bravo.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Believe it or not, school was not my strength. I wasn't what you called "book smart." From an early age I had to find a path that brought out my strengths. As a leader it is imperative to pull out of each individual I am working with their strengths. I am known for hiring somebody for one position and within a week of their starting completely change their role. Building a team that draws on individual strengths is the key to my success.
How has your previous employment experience aided your position as President & Creative Director of Creative Edge Parties?
Would you believe that I only had one job before I opened Creative Edge Parties 25 years ago? The experiences that have most aided my position at CEP are based around the variety of events we do from the size, to the client to the challenges given to us to solve. Every event is a learning experience that shapes how you look at your next one.
What have some of the highlights and challenges been in your position as President & Creative Director of Creative Edge Parties?
Keeping the company current is always the forefront of all my endeavors. It is very easy in this industry to sit back on your laurels.
What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
Stay true to who you are and what you are selling. Stay unique. Think simple but brilliant. You will face challenges every day but you will learn from them. Take the time to learn from your mistakes and grow.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Very carefully, especially because we live in a world filled with cell phones that follow you everywhere. Being that three of my favorite things in life are food, design and great company, I go out to eat a lot to check out new food around the world. It allows me to shut out the 1,000's of emails coming in every day and focus on what I love in life.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Finding a voice that shows authority and intelligence while maintaining a feminine edge.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Hillary Clinton, Julia Child, Frida Kahlo, my mother, my daughter and my 2 sisters. All 7 of these women share (shared) their incredible talent with the world in such different ways.
What do you want to personally and professionally accomplish in the next year?
We are working on launching Creative Edge Parties: Florida, which has been a huge goal of mine. I have done parties throughout the US and Europe but always from NYC. It's time to bring Creative Edge Parties to a new market.