Sarissa Rodriguez-Schwartz, Founder & Managing Director of the SJS Group, on How Books Helped Her Connect With People
Today’s book-talk is with Sarissa Rodriguez-Schwartz, the Co-Founder & Managing Director of SJS Group – a Singapore and Hong Kong-based restaurant and nightlife development company that she founded together with her husband, Joshua Schwartz.
Sarissa, a New York native, has been in love with the food & beverage and hospitality industry for as long as she can remember. During high school and college (she studied International Business at George Washington University), Sarissa worked as a waitress, hostess and in other front of house positions. She choose to pursue a path in F&B, using the knowledge she learned at University.
In 2011, Sarissa moved to Singapore to help open a nightclub at The Marina Bay Sands. Sarissa was instrumental in operating, developing and marketing Pangaea, that became the highest grossing nightclub in the world per square foot.
After a lot of hard work and researching the Asian market, Sarissa decided to step out on her own with her husband Josh Schwartz.
They founded SJS Group, a restaurant and nightlife company that develops, owns and operates successful food, beverage and nightlife entertainment venues in the Singapore and Hong Kong. Sarissa consistently follows market trends and tries to bring fresh concepts to the Singapore landscape.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it is essentially a bible of life without having religious implications.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
Everything in ‘How To Talk to Anyone‘ by Leil Lowndes has helped me. That book is a great tool for networking and connecting with others. One of the most important tools I remember is to always speak to others about their jobs in the job “lingo” otherwise you come off as disrespectful and ignorant, immediately turning them off. For example, when speaking to a head of a famous Charity Organization, call what they do their “mission” rather than their “charity work” or another phrase. Essentially, use the language they use to describe what they do. They’ll immediately respect you more.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
How to Talk to Anyone helped me change the way I see other people’s careers, motives, and how to connect with that. I always say your net worth is your network. It’s important to be able to connect with the people you meet, make them like you (if you like them, of course), and create meaningful relationships.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path?
How To Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes and other books on body language.
Links where you can follow Sarissa Rodriguez-Schwartz or find out more about her projects:
- Sarissa @ LinkedIn
- Banter with the boss: Joshua and Sarissa Schwartz of SJS Group (Interview @ Lifestyle Asia)
- Personalized VIP Service Is Key To Success For High-End Clubs And Bars In Asia (Profile in Forbes)
- Joshua and Sarissa Schwartz, Founders & Managing Directors of SJS Group (Interview @ AsianEntrepreneur)
All books mentioned by Sarissa Rodriguez-Schwartz in this interview:
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes