Nanuet, N.Y. (June 17th, 2020) – Sabrina HoSang Jordan’s first job was in the family business at the age of 16. “I worked at Royal Caribbean Bakery as a cashier. I learned to do many things simultaneously: answer the phones, tend to customers, process orders, handle cash quickly, deposit money in a bank, work a PA system, and manage employee relations.” said Sabrina HoSang Jordan.
Sabrina HoSang Jordan talks about her leadership success journey.
1) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A princess! But on a serious note, I loved baking cakes on my own in the microwave when I was 10 years old. My mom started me very early in the kitchen. I wanted to be a baker where I could make anything my heart desired.
2) Who were the most influential people in your life and how did they influence you?
My parents. They both taught me how to be strong, kind, generous, helpful, honest, independent, courageous, patient and humble. They also taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to and that I should always do my best in whatever I do because it’s an opportunity for me to grow and improve myself for bigger and better things.
3) What was the turning point in your career?
When I got promoted to COO in 2006, I realized that my dad and others noticed all the hard work I put in and that I was serious about my work. It made me feel more confident that I could take on this position and continue to grow in the company. To some, it may seem like because it’s a family business, that it was just given to me but that is not true. My older brother could have been the one in my position but my dad chose me based on the work I put in. And I would never have accepted the new position if I felt I didn’t earn it. I never wanted to be seen as “the boss’ daughter” which can have a negative view to it. So it has always been my goal to prove to others that I earned this promotion and it wasn’t just given to me.
4) What was your biggest professional obstacle?
When I first joined the family business full time in 2001 as Director of Operations, I had to earn respect and show my employees that I’m not a “boss’ daughter that just shows up and does whatever she wants at work”. It was a big obstacle for me to overcome because without earned respect and credibility, I could not lead my employees.
5) What is the toughest decision you ever had to make and what did you decide?
We had launched a franchise division, JerkQ’zine Caribbean Grille, in 2006 as many people wanted to start a business and were interested in selling our products. We did well for the first year and a half and then the economy took a dive which caused people to be hesitant about taking a financial risk in starting a business of their own. Then, in 2008, we had a big tragedy. My youngest brother, Brian, died in a motorcycle accident on Mother’s Day. This was a big loss to our family as Brian was involved in the family business and was loved and well-known by many in the community. With the economic downturn and the loss of Brian, we decided to close some JerkQ’zine locations. It was a tough decision as we wanted to see it thrive, but we couldn’t afford to keep putting money into it. It was just bad timing. We decided to focus on our retail business which had a greater potential of significant growth. Today there is only one JerkQ’zine location open in Mount Vernon, New York.
6) How would you describe your leadership style and how has it changed over the years?
I have always encouraged my employees to improve themselves and grow with the company. I advise them to use their time with us to learn and take on new skills while perfecting their current skills so that if they ever decide to leave, they would be better off than when they first started working with us. Of course, that would be up to them because they would need to have that desire in themselves to better themselves and grow. I have always had an open-door policy which I allow my employees to speak to me about anything. I am very honest and upfront and I like to hear what my employees have to say, whether it’s an idea they have or a concern about something. It’s good that they can play a part in our decision-making process. We may disagree on some things, but I always have a listening ear. I am grateful to have some employees who treat our business like it’s their own and I am quick to reward those employees because I value them very much. My leadership style has changed in the way that I give my employees a little more freedom to show me what they can do instead of “holding their hand” too much. I want them to bring their skills, ideas and experience to the table which also builds confidence over time. I try to empower my employees to do their job in the best way possible that will help them grow but that again, depends on the employee. I’m always being proactive and thinking ahead about what opportunities we can use to grow the business.
7) Is there anything people would be surprised to know about you?
I am somewhat adventurous. I skydived and jumped off a 50-foot cliff into water. I also have a slight Jamaican accent that comes out when I speak with other Jamaicans.
8) How can we all exercise leadership in our respective lives, no matter what we do professionally?
I believe that if one can be proactive, work hard at what they do, have an open mind, be honest and authentic, they will only get better and grow personally and professionally in whatever they do. That is the first step towards being a good leader.
9) How has your career changed over time? What factors attributed to the change?
When I got promoted to CEO, I had to let go of some responsibilities that I had been doing for over 15 years as Director of Operations and COO. Since I took on a lot and was quick to get things done, I created a culture where many of my employees felt comfortable to approach me about anything and knew they could depend on me for guidance on what to do with a project or getting something resolved immediately that may have been dragging out too long. Once I became CEO, I had to focus more on bigger tasks such as making critical decisions that would affect the future of the business. It was important for me to delegate and increase my team members for support so I could stay focused on my new responsibilities.
10) What do you think will bring you the most happiness and satisfaction in your future?
I would be happy to see our family business grow significantly over the next few years and my daughter, future children, nieces and nephews take over the business when it’s time (if that is what they want to do). I would be satisfied knowing that we provided this opportunity for them as my parents had done for me and my siblings. I also would be very happy to see those employees who go above and beyond and treat the company like it’s their own, grow with the company, and take on more important roles/positions.
11) What are your personal long-term goals?
My personal goals are to grow my family as I would love to give Briana another sibling, continue to learn about and do all that I am passionate about, travel around the world to experience different cultures and learn new food trends that can help develop new products for my family business.
12) What is your best piece of advice for new leaders?
Be authentic, be yourself, be proactive, take risks, never stop learning, always go the extra mile, don’t compare yourself with others, do your best and never give up when times get tough. Empower your team so that they will be able to support you the best way possible. Stay focused on your goals.
“I would like to thank Sabrina HoSang Jordan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Caribbean Food Delights, for sharing her leadership success journey. I met Sabrina when we were both honored as “rising stars” by the Rockland Economic Development Corporation at the organization’s 13th Annual Forty Under 40 Reception in 2014. I was so impressed with her accomplishments that I invited her to become a board member at Worldwide Community First Responder, Inc. We are lucky to have Sabrina, who has been a powerful adviser for WCFR, which celebrated its Ninth Anniversary last September and has trained/educated over 350,000 community members in lifesaving skills. Recently, Sabrina was named to The NY Forward Reopening Advisory Board by Governor Andrew Cuomo. She is a true leader and should be applauded for all her accomplishments. I am inspired by these leadership success stories, and look forward to spotlighting more leaders in the Hudson Valley” Jacqueline Cassagnol, MSN, RN, PMC, Founder & President of Worldwide Community First Responder, Inc.
About Sabrina HoSang Jordan
Sabrina HoSang Jordan is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Caribbean Food Delights. She is a young business leader who is recognized among her peers as a model team builder and motivator. This profound characteristic trait is seen as one of her strongest assets and is also credited for her being the strong community advocate and mentor she is today.
Sabrina received her formative education at Immaculate Conception School in Bronx, New York before entering Byram Hills High School in Armonk, New York and later earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Management Information Systems from Villanova University in 2001.
Under her leadership, Caribbean Food Delights secured the largest “New York-Empire State Development Grant” of 2018, in the amount of $2.75 million. She is currently working with her team to develop expansion plans.
Some of her esteemed accolades include the Ernst & Young LLP, Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2019 Award in the Family Business category in New York, Rockland Business Women’s Network (RBWN) 2015 Woman of Achievement Award, and the 2014 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award.
The young business leader not only lends her expertise and time to the Vincent HoSang Family Foundation, (VHFF) where she is a director, but also to various community organizations whose mission are geared to individual and community empowerment. She is an active board member of Worldwide Community First Responder (WCFR), Jamaican Civic and Cultural Association of Rockland (JAMCCAR), Jawonio (Foundation), and People to People.