Lee’s on Canal is a warm, inviting venue that sits a single floor above one of the busiest streets in Manhattan’s Chinatown. If you swing open its massive street-side windows, you can hear the bustle below just enough to feel like you’re a part of something, but not so much that you don’t feel like you’ve been cocooned by the decorative equivalent of a long hug. In other words, it’s ideal.
Last Thursday, on an unseasonably warm and rainy night, members of the Man Repeller team and community gathered there to celebrate a partnership with adidas Originals. There was wine, hors d’oeuvre, a dinner spread pretty enough to paint, and a panel discussion lead by MR’s own Jasmin Aujla about the complex shades of identity that exist between the personal and professional self. The all-women panel included MR consultant Kate Barnett, MR Director of Product Nikki Bent, and Jill Donenfeld and Tiana Tenet, the cofounders of Culinistas.
The conversation was the satisfying kind of wandering, covering everything from what makes a person suited for entrepreneurship (Kate suggests you have an idea you can’t keep to yourself combined with an impassioned inability to work for someone else) to how to find a job you excel at and enjoy (Nikki thinks it’s important to remember that career paths aren’t linear, and sometimes you move sideways and backwards before you more forward) and what it actually means to achieve “work-life balance” (Tiana says she’s shooting for balance over a lifetime, not over a day). The vastly differing experiences among all four panelists proved what all of us know but tend to forget: There are many ways to pursue a fulfilling professional life.
The dinner conversation that followed, shared over wine and delicious family-style dishes catered by Culinistas, was just as reassuring. It’s hard to write about the importance of community without leaning on cliches, but suffice it to say sharing a slow meal with tons of curious, funny and compassionate people is grounding in a way that modern life doesn’t always encourage. Plus, it ended with a berry crumble.
Click through the slideshow above (inadvertent bonus: it includes a bunch of styling ideas should you own a pair of adidas Originals) to live vicariously, get inspired to throw your own dinner party, or see what Crystal wore, specifically. Want to attend an MR community event? Sign up here. See you next time!
Photos by Ken Castaneda.