23 to watch in 2023: Lauren Kershner, Glen Ellen business owner

Private chef Lauren Kershner wants to invite tourists to spend the day in Glen Ellen through community outreach and pop-up tasting events at her Jack London Village spot.|

For more people to watch in 2023, go here.

Name: Lauren Kershner

Title or position: Owner of Songbird Parlour, Goodness Gracious Catering, Valley of the Moon Kombucha

On the job since: Started her first business, Goodness Gracious Catering in 2016

Age: 33

Hometown: Grew up in Phoenix and moved to Mendocino when she was 12 years old

Why Kershner someone to watch:

Lauren Kershner is known fondly as a triple threat when it comes to starting new businesses with the Glen Ellen community in mind. She wants people to love Glen Ellen as much as she does, from the local restaurants and well-known wineries to the art and activity the town has to offer.

In her latest spot, Songbird Parlour, Kershner caters a private, executive chef experience for dinner parties for rehearsal weddings and corporate events. But she also wants to open the space for the community to try the food and wine with space for guest chefs to also introduce neighbors to new foods.

Kershner remembers starting her first businesses and how intimidated she was at business-networking events where she felt like the youngest person there. She wants other young, aspiring entrepreneurs to feel welcome to bring their ideas to the area and revived the Sonoma Young Professionals.

As the current president, she wants young small business owners to not feel intimidated by older business owners that tend to dominate networking mixers and social events.

What others are saying about Lauren:

Nicola Roualdes is a Sonoma County Realtor and the membership coordinator for Sonoma Young Professionals. She said in the three years she’s known Kershner, she’s watched her dedicate time as president of the Sonoma Young Professionals and played a big role in reviving the organization.

“She has played a huge role in re-booting the group from zero members, into a thriving community of young entrepreneurs,” she said.

“The group would not be what it is today without her leadership, and Sonoma and the small business community are incredibly lucky to have her.”

What Kershner says about making the list:

“I’m just so grateful for a community that recognizes my hard work and feels like I deserve a reward for it,” she said. “I’m excited, a little shocked, but buzzing inside with enthusiasm and hope.”

Kershner said she’s most excited about bringing people to the Jack London Village in Glen Ellen where Songbird Lounge is housed. She said she wants tourists to be able to spend the day in Glen Ellen shopping, eating and drinking local wine while enjoying the landscape and the art sculptures positioned around the complex.

“I also hope to maybe consult with some other people in the future,” she said, adding that she’d love to help young entrepreneurs in the food business navigate the process to starting up from getting the right health department permits and finding the space and equipment.

“The networks I’m in are just those kinds of people, and when you’re in that environment where (entrepreneurs and young business owners) ask each other questions, it feels really good to help and I can see myself doing that more full time.”

You can reach Staff Writer Sara Edwards at 707-521-5487 or sara.edwards@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @sedwards380.

Sara Edwards

Business reporter

Small businesses are the bread and butter of Sonoma County. I cover a diverse group: Chambers of commerce and business groups, clothing shops, jewelry boutiques, hobby stores and more. Economic uncertainty is a high concern among Sonoma County consumers, and it’s my job to make sure shoppers know what’s happening in the local economy and how those trends and issues impact them.

For more people to watch in 2023, go here.

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