Love & Hustle Spotlight: Genevieve Roja
Let’s meet Genevieve Roja, the owner and founder of the event planning company Lily Spruce. From galas, night markets, street festivals and award shows for hundreds to thousands of people to intimate weddings and ceremonies, Genevieve does it all. She recently became the venue manager for the Instagram-worthy event space Colorbloq in San Francisco’s up-and-coming SoMa district. We talked to Genevieve about her journey turning her side-hustle into a thriving business and how Art of Hustle supported her in making that leap.
“Hustle is my life. It means: making it work; finding new ways, new opportunities. It means carving it out yourself and finding that thing that feeds and nurtures you. It means tapping into what gives you joy and sparks your passion. I seek. Seek: new opportunities, relationships, people, things. It means squeezing every new thing to see what can come out. Because you never know if that one thing or one person eventually bears fruit.”
This is the mentality that guided Genevieve into creating Lily Spruce. After planning her own wedding in 2007 and experiencing “postpartum” event planning, she started planning weddings for her co-workers and their friends – for nothing! Realizing that she wanted to pursue event planning as a full-time career, she made the leap into becoming an entrepreneur but sought a support system that could guide and help her throughout the journey.
“Hustle is my life. It means: making it work; finding new ways, new opportunities.”
“I think the appeal of being in events is the idea of building community bonds. I love the idea of people gathering and taking the time to be present. I’d love to mentor more, but I realized I do that with my team. I’m happy to pass on my knowledge. Someone did it for me, and it’s my turn now.”
Genevieve values the community of individuals from diverse backgrounds at Art of Hustle whose varying perspectives allow her to learn and grow in her own hustle. Giving and passing on knowledge is a large part of entrepreneurial growth, but also personal evolution.
“Because entrepreneurship is damn hard. And equally, the hustle. Also, there’s only so much that your partner can take of your complaining, ha! You need other entrepreneurs to lean on because when you’re stuck in that hard place, chances are, someone has already been there.”
“You need other entrepreneurs to lean on…”
Thinking of Love & Hustle, a live event that brought together the driven entrepreneurs seeking sound business coaching, she notes that it’s important to be present and to share space with her community. It’s not only a chance to strengthen existing bonds, but a chance to network and create new connections.
“I want to hear how others have “made it” or are making it, or are still trying to make it. It’s important to see and hear that we are all works in progress.”
For Genevieve, this is an opportunity for growth in all aspects of her life. A chance to reaffirm her purpose and goals moving forward while broadening her community and contributing to the movement of values-driven work. The most important part of the plans she’s laid out for this upcoming year? To make that first move – to start.
“I got a sticker recently that said “just start.” And it’s true for so many instances, including for this time of year when everything is fallow, the seeds are planted deep below, and you’re waiting for things to ripen. It’s been an interesting idea to think about when my perfectionist self is procrastinating for the millionth time. Sometimes whatever lies before me feels like the biggest mountain I can’t move, and then your realize “I just need to chip away at it”–then you look back, and you’re halfway up from the top.”
Get inspired and start making moves with Art of Hustle!