Tara Tocco Goldberg’s sunny disposition and penchant for tackling tasks at hand are only two qualities that define her as a mother, friend and communications director for Strategic Hospitality. When Tara isn’t handling internal and external communications for SH (the group responsible for Le Sel, Bastion, The Band Box, Pinewood Social, Patterson House, The Catbird Seat, Merchants, Aerial and Paradise Park), she is spending (more) time with her family, staying physically healthy and enjoying 12South. We caught up with Tara to hear her dish on her job, love of the burger at Paradise Park, how she stays healthy and her love for her family (including husband Ben Goldberg and two-year-old daughter). Welcome Tara Tocco Goldberg as one of our outstanding FACES of Nashville!
Where are you originally from, and how and when did you land in Nashville?
I am originally from a suburb of Detroit, but my family moved to Columbia (Tennessee, just south of Nashville) when I was nine years old. So I grew up somewhat close to Nashville, and after college, I got a job working for the Department of Commerce and Insurance for the state of Tennessee. I’ve been here ever since!
As Strategic Hospitality’s communications director, what are the main responsibilities of your job?
I am responsible for all internal and external communications and, honestly, that covers a lot of ground! Obviously, press efforts and other marketing initiatives, investor relations, employee communications — if it can or needs to be written, I do it. I also spearhead websites, photo shoots and some events. One part of my job that I also really love is handling our company philanthropy effort. At the beginning of 2015, we started a philanthropy program and each month we arrange opportunities to connect our staff with a certain organization so that we as a company can give back to this community, which has always been so supportive of us.
What is the best part of your job? What is the most challenging?
The best part of my job is that I do what I love and I love who I do it for. My work family is amazing, and ironically, a lot of my work family is my actual family — my husband and my brother-in-law are my bosses, and my brother is our company beverage director! I talk to all of them about business-related topics almost daily. I think the most challenging part of my job is that, between being in public relations where there are constant deadlines, and then on top of that being married to one of the owners, my job just never stops. Thankfully, I really enjoy what I do, so I don’t mind too much.
If you had to pick one Strategic Hospitality restaurant as your favorite, which one would you choose?
This is a tough one — I could tell you something I love about each and every one of them! But for the purpose of this question, I’ll pick Paradise Park, for a few reasons. The first is that is how Benjamin and I met. I was working at a local PR agency when he came to the company with plans to open Paradise Park and I was put on the account — obviously that worked out well for us! Second, the food at Paradise Park really is amazing. Our office is on the third floor above Paradise Park and we were all eating there so much that it was getting dangerous. Thankfully, they put a salad on the menu for all of us folks in the office. But that burger is so tempting! The third reason is because the Paradise Park staff amazes me. They are all such good people, and they have this really cool bond with each other and they take such good care of each other. They really inspire me.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
Generally, my weeks are somewhat similar, unless we have an event in the evening. On Mondays, we have a staff meeting at 9 a.m. Several of our chefs are off on Mondays so I try to avoid bothering them if I can help it! On Tuesdays, I try to work from home, and my daughter gets out of school at 3 p.m., so I work really hard to get everything done so that I can pick her up and have a little extra time with her. I have an amazing communications coordinator who allows me to do little things like this here and there and it means the world to me. Wednesday and Thursday are usually full steam ahead and quite busy before the weekends kick in at the restaurants.
Are there any local events you are looking forward to attending in the next few months?
Well, I’m going home to Mule Day and taking my daughter for the first time, so I’m pretty excited about that! It will be her first parade! And, we always enjoy Sevier Park Fest, which is in May this year. I also love when the farmers markets start back up again.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Honestly, we love to hang out in our neighborhood. You can find us somewhere on 12South or at Sevier Park every Saturday and Sunday. We’re probably running after a very small, very fast child!
Aside from chasing around after your two-year-old, how do you stay in shape?
Toddlers are very busy, that’s for sure! But I do love to exercise. I find it to be as important to my mental health as I do my physical health. I am a big fan of Barre3 and have been going to The Gulch location ever since it opened. I have also recently gotten into Orangetheory Fitness, which kicks my butt every single time I go.
What is your next restaurant destination?
There are so many amazing places to dine in this city now, it’s hard to pick just one! I think right now I’m dreaming about brunch at Husk with my family or date night with the hubby — our favorite is the chef counter at City House.
What do you think distinguishes Nashville from other Southern cities?
I’m not sure if it’s the lens through which I see the city, but I feel like Nashville has this mix of Southern charm but Northern sensibilities. It’s polite and caring, but also confident and determined. No one is getting in its way!
What is the best piece of advice you have received, and from whom?
Oh gosh, I’ve gotten tons of good advice over the years. How do I pick just one? One that I have thought a lot about over the last two years is something my mother told me after I had my daughter. I was about a month into postpartum exhaustion and struggling to deal with this huge life change, and my mother said, “Be kind to yourself.” When she said it I thought to myself, “How do I do that right now?” It really stumped me. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I’ve actually started to apply that to my life in general, and I find it makes me a better person both personally and professionally.
What’s your bucket list travel destination?
Thailand and Sicily. Both dream trips of mine. My husband and I love to travel so I know we’ll get there some day!
What are three things you can’t live without excluding faith, family and friends?
Chapstick, music and dogs (I have two dogs and I adore them, and I can’t imagine ever not having a dog!)
Thank you, Tara for taking the time to answer our questions!
And special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for today’s fabulous photographs.
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