Dining & Wine

International Women’s Day Profile: Emily Goodrich Of Banda Volpi

March 7, 2024

To celebrate this International Women’s Day (and really, shouldn’t that simply be everyday?!), we’re profiling some incredible women in the lifestyle space. Meet Emily Goodrich, partner at Banda Volpi—Noa Nichol

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

I’m a partner at Banda Volpi Hospitality; we currently have four restaurants in our portfolio (Savio Volpe, La Tana, Pepino’s and soon to open, Elio Volpe). I’m also a mom to two boys, 6 and 10, so life is busy and really fun! 

What’s a day in the life like for you?

Every day is so different but I try to be consistent with my mornings. I get up early, around 6 a.m. most days so I can have an hour to myself before everyone else gets up. I start with a guided meditation, coffee while reading, then start on emails. I do a Lagree class three to four times a week before I head to our office. Exercise and meditation keeps me sane! I try to swing by the restaurants and check in with the teams and have meetings on-site. I try not to over schedule myself because things inevitably pop-up. We homeschool our youngest so we don’t have a very consistent routine; my husband and I map out the week on Sundays and then make adjustments throughout the week as needed. Flexibility is key. 

How does your company empower women?

That’s an interesting question – I think we’re working to build our company to empower everyone, regardless of gender. It’s part of our culture. Two of our pillars are “We Create and Grow” and “We Show Up for Each Other”. Teamwork is extremely important to us. Also, having clear expectations and processes in place allows for people to be successful in their roles, and makes space for growth. We hire and promote based on skill and merit. I think for people on the outside looking at our company, having a woman as part of the ownership team and many female leaders in different aspects of our company makes it clear we don’t discriminate, and equality is valued.  

What are the current challenges for women in your industry? How do you overcome them?

Hospitality is still an industry with men predominantly in leadership roles, so for young female professionals starting their careers, there’s not a lot of role models they can relate to. There’s definitely been a shift in the culture, and we’re starting to see more women in both front of house and back of house roles, but it’s still a work in progress. For me personally, it’s challenging to be often underestimated. For example, as a leader, I may voice ideas or flag something that needs to be changed, but it isn’t until my business partners, where one is my husband, Paul, speaks-up that change happens. Same goes for communication; I’m very direct and I’m an analytical thinker which can come across as cold. I think because I’m a woman, it throws people off; they expect warm and fuzzy and that’s just not me. But Paul can say the same thing, in the same tone, and people listen and receive the information. It is something I’ve been working on for a long time. You cannot let it get to you. I think it’s important to be true to yourself, and be vocal with ideas and feedback to ensure you’re being heard.

How do you create a supportive environment for yourself and your team?

Communication is key. We have a culture of open feedback, and we constantly check in with each other. Our team knows they can call, email or text, and we’ll support them with what they need. Questions and ideas are always encouraged. We are all a very curious bunch and are constantly pushing boundaries, learning and growing, together. 

Who has been your greatest influence/mentor in your life?

First and foremost, my mom! My mom always had a career growing up but her three children were always her priority. She made birthdays and holidays really special, and always showed up to all our performances and sports games. Now that I’m a mom, I realize how challenging that balance can be. Workwise, I had a manager in my early 20’s named Rebecca Marsh who I respect immensely and am still in contact with to this day. She is one of the hardest workers I know and leads by example. She was kind, generous and empathetic while still having very high standards and being able to hold people accountable. And if I can throw in a male to an IWD interview, I would say my husband and partner, Paul Grunberg. He’s made substantial sacrifices and taken huge risks to get where he is today. He’s the hardest worker I know. We are very different in our styles, but I think that’s why it works, we learn from each other. I know I can always count on him. 

What are you most proud of doing/accomplishing?

Hands down, La Tana. When I officially got involved with the company at the beginning of the pandemic, La Tana was struggling. We had no liquor license so our operation wasn’t fully utilized. We had gone through a few chefs. The vision  Craig [Stanghetta] and Paul had originally for the place wasn’t fully realized. La Tana was missing its identity but it had so much potential. We stripped it all back and started to rebuild. We leaned into the alimentari concept of the business; I helped get the e-commerce side up and running and set up a grocery delivery service to survive. We had our own delivery team that went out seven days a week. It was a wild time. Phil Scarfone, our culinary director, did a fantastic job of creating kits with instructions for at home guests and I sourced the highest quality, hard to find Italian products for retail. Then we finally got our liquor license and started to shift towards the wine bar. Vish Mayekar came on board and really understood what we were trying to create. Finally, after years, La Tana became the place it was always meant to be. We were recognized by Canada’s 100 Best for Best Pivot, and in 2022 we won Gold for Best Italian in Vancouver Magazine’s Restaurant Awards. The team really deserves every recognition. It’s been so much work calibrating that property but it’s been extremely fun and I love being there. La Tana has such great energy, lunch or dinner. I just love walking through a busy service and clearing a table, making a coffee and just seeing people enjoy the space. I think if you ask me this question again in five years, I’ll say Banda Volpi, our hospitality group. We have big plans. 

We need to know … what’s the latest scoop on Banda Volpi’s newest restaurant (we’re all impatiently waiting for the big opening!)?

Elio Volpe is opening soon! Likely in a week. Sign up for our newsletter and watch our Instagram for the official date. 

After a long day, what’s your favourite thing to make/eat?

I don’t cook but I love to eat and Paul is an incredible cook. We joke that he’s our personal short order cook, because he will literally make us whatever we feel like. Dinner is very important in our family. We eat together five to six times a week. I would say my most favourite thing to eat is salmon or steak and a caesar salad. Paul makes the best croutons and dressing from scratch. And on Tuesdays, when it’s my night to cook, I do an excellent job of ordering sushi. Thank you Aburi Market, you make me and my family very happy!


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