The Cool Women at The Shops at Columbus Circle
Every year during the month of March, the world celebrates women and the contributions they’ve made to history, society, and culture. But at The Shops at Columbus Circle, every day is women’s day, thanks to the people who shop, eat, play—and work—here. We caught up with a few of the many cool women you’ll meet at The Shops at Columbus Circle.
Seema Bansal at Venus et Fleur
In 2015, Seema Bansal and her husband, Sunny Chadha, realized there was a missing piece in the floral industry and felt compelled to fill it. They created Venus et Fleur, which makes Parisian-inspired flower designs that last for a year. “These arrangements truly stand the test of time, which is why our clients turn to us for every event, holiday, or celebration that they hope to turn into a longer lasting memory, not a fleeting moment,” says Bansal.
What This Month Means to Me: “At Venus Et Fleur, we support International Women’s Day because we believe women should be treated equally, fairly, and with respect,” says Bansal. “We chose to partner with Women for Women International because of their strong commitment to advocacy, economic advancement, and conflict support for women all over the world. The work they do is absolutely life-changing.”
Inspiring Other Women: “To find inspiration, you need to be open to taking in your environment and experiences, you have to be true to yourself and be willing to break the status quo,” says Bansal. “Never give up; just learn to pivot and pedal through. Learn to rely on and invest in your teams because they are everything.”
Monica Rich Kosann
As you walk into The Shops at Columbus Circle, the stylish jewelry designs at Monica Rich Kosann will catch your eye. Monica Rich Kosann—the woman behind the brand—is known for her gorgeous lockets, which guests can personalize with a custom photograph onsite at the Locket Bar, as well as charm bracelets, stackable rings, and other pieces that help tell the stories of the women who wear them.
How She Got Here: A professional photographer, Kosann fell into jewelry design by chance, after she started using vintage cigarette cases and compacts to hold clients’ pictures. She soon began designing lockets. “Quite naturally, my company turned into a brand that empowers women,” she says. “A lot of my pieces are here to inspire women, to make them feel bold and courageous, and to give that extra little help to go down that path.”
On Being a Woman Entrepreneur: “I truly believe that if you do what you love and you follow your passions, that something will come out of it and you will be happy,” says Kosann. “I used to joke that I said this before Nike: ‘Just do it.’ If it doesn't work out, don’t look back, just move forward and try the next thing.”
Shondell Gordon at Whole Foods Market
Almost 19 years ago, Shondell Gordon was looking for a career change and applied to Whole Foods Market. “What started as a part-time career became a passion,” says Gordon, who has risen through the ranks to become general manager of the flagship Columbus Circle location. “One of the things I love about Whole Foods Market, in addition to the diversity, is the amount of women in leadership that we have.”
Inspiring Other Woman: “As a leader, it’s not just about selling groceries. It’s about the connections that I make with customers and seeing my team members grow and move up in the company like I did. I’m now able to mentor others,” says Gordon. “So for me, that’s a huge win and that’s a differentiator.”
What This Month Means to Me: “Women’s History Month in March means empowerment and all the great things that women have contributed, not just to the industry that I’m in, but in general,” says Gordon. “We’ve seen our first female vice president. We’ve seen a lot of firsts. But there’s still a lot to come.”
Carrie Packin at Ascent Lounge New York
Carrie Packin is a nightlife entrepreneur and the co-owner, partner, and creative director for City Nights Hospitality, the operators of Ascent Lounge New York. She has a deep connection to The Shops at Columbus Circle and The Restaurant and Bar Collection: She and her husband and business partner, Brian Packin, got married in this building in 2006. “It was incredibly amazing when we were asked to create Ascent Lounge in 2015,” she says. “So now every time people come here, we get to recreate that magic that we experienced.”
Getting Ahead in Business: “My advice for other women who are trying to get ahead in business is to—number one—be confident in themselves. And surround yourself with other strong people, because it takes a team to get where you're going,” says Packin.
Helping Other Women: “I think women are taught somewhere along the way that we’re competing with one another, but that’s not the truth,” says Packin. “We all need to learn how to support each other by loving and putting other women on a pedestal, which is going to help raise us all up to the sky.”
Susan Schiffman in Guest Services
Whatever you need, it’s likely that Susan Schiffman, supervisor of Guest Services, and her team can help you. It is their job to be connectors, shopping advisors, food gurus, problem solvers, and the sources of all knowledge when it comes to The Shops at Columbus Circle and The Restaurant and Bar Collection.
Knowledge is Power: “I love working here. I love knowing the chefs, the restaurants, the menus. I love knowing that we have two restaurants that have three Michelin stars each. I love interacting with everybody in the stores so that I can give our guests a lot of information,” she says. “It’s all about listening to their questions and really honing in on what they need.”
What This Month Means to Me: “It’s a beautiful gesture and acknowledgement to honor and celebrate women all over the world. And that’s something we do here at the desk every day,” says Schiffman. “It’s our job to honor and celebrate our guests.”