Today and every day, we celebrate the special contributions women make to our business. Here at Young’s, we are proud to have incredible women on our teams. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018, we sat down with a few of our women in leadership and discussed their journeys.

Our Senior Director of Communications, Elaine Beliakoff, shares her personal experiences and gives great advice for fellow women in male-dominated industries:

“The moment you think gender is a limiting factor, it will be. Don’t get me wrong, gender bias is a very real thing. I’ve worked in three industries – wine & spirits, oil & energy, and theme parks & resorts – and not one of them was devoid of gender bias. In fact, most of my career has been in male-dominated work environments, so I know what it’s like to be the only woman in the room. 

But, I’ve come to believe that I play an important role in erasing unconscious bias – even when I’m at the receiving end. How? Communicate when it’s happening. You might feel like a pioneer woman in the wild, wild west, but you’ll be tipping the scales toward a culture that values men and women equally. 

What about the glass ceiling? Rubbish. I’ve always believed I was an equal contender for any position. Find yourself mentors, sponsors, and advocates to endorse you for stretch assignments and new opportunities. Nurture these relationships. And most importantly, connect with someone who can help coach you to advocate your worth, because those conversations can seem risky until you learn how to use your voice to take your seat among strong males in your organization.”

Jessica Van Voorst, Director of Marketing, tells us what being a woman in business means to her:

“Being a woman in business is a constant motivation to challenge status quo and successfully adapt to change to rise above any diversity stigmas. The advice I remind myself of on a daily basis, that I would also relay to other women, is to be 100% your authentic self, not let “no” stop you in achieving what you want, and always quantify your worth through your work, confidence and unwillingness to be passed over because of your gender.”



Our Vice President of Sales Operations, Chantelle Roche, brings up a great point about advantages of being a woman:

“Men tend to be on their best behavior when there is a woman in the room.  I’ve been in many meetings where people have caught themselves displaying less than professional behavior, then corrected it because I was in the room.  You can get more done when cooler heads prevail!”




For women pursuing a career in business, our Director of Human Resources Operations, Amanda Flanagan, has some helpful advice:

My advice to women pursuing a career in business is to:

  • Carry yourself with confidence
  • Greet everyone with a firm handshake
  • Make eye contact
  • Take risks
  • Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone
  • Handle criticism well
  • Be willing to work hard
  • Promote yourself – it is your career, not anyone else’s responsibility
  • Always contribute in meetings
  • Understand, engage, and know your superiors
  • Be honest to yourself and others”


Philana Bouvier, our Senior Vice President of New Business Development, discusses her career path, and how she got to her current role:

“One of the greatest highlights in my career was making the move from a small market in Hawaii to a larger market in California.  I started in the wine and spirits industry over 20 years ago with little understanding at the time of how much it would change my life and shape my career.  During those decades, I had the opportunity to learn and grow both professionally and personally.  Starting from the bottom and “carrying the bag” for 10 years, through where I am today, I’ve gained a thorough appreciation for all aspects and levels of the wine and spirits industry.  Young’s Market Company gave me the incredible opportunity to hold many different jobs and management roles, pushing me beyond my comfort zone and allowing me to develop different skill sets.

After being entrusted with running a business unit, I learned quickly and gained the tools, experience, and confidence necessary to tackle the next chapter of my life.  The challenges of running a business made me stronger, and I learned that every “no” was one step closer to a “yes”. I also discovered the importance of surrounding yourself with great people. Great people will push you to be your best, and although there were times that those conversations were tough, having the tenacity and passion to get through the challenging times kept me together.”

Ayesha Mahapatra, our Vice President and Associate General Counsel, dispels a common misconception that women face: that motherhood can detract from your career:

“Here’s a tip I wish someone has shared with me before I had kids: Always look at your role as a woman and mother as an asset and not a liability.  Many of us are told that being a mother makes us less flexible and causes us to prioritize work less.  That is far from my experience.  Instead, I have learned to better multitask and be efficient since my time is more limited than ever.  When you are juggling multiple responsibilities, you learn quickly what is a priority and what isn’t.  You waste less time on what is not important and focus on what is.  This has served me well as I advance in my career and have more and more on my plate.”

We are lucky to collaborate with outstanding, accomplished women on a daily basis. Thank you for all that you do for our Young’s family!