Why did you decide to pursue a career in the Hospitality Food Service Industry?
When I arrived in the United States, it was not my first intention to work for food service, but I was lucky enough to be hired for a job in a corporate cafeteria. At the same time, I was also hired at Dunkin Donuts. At the corporate cafeteria I started out as cashier and learned quickly how to work/thrive in that environment. They were always shorthanded, and I was eager to learn so I worked about every position there was in the cafeteria – including catering, where in a short period of time I was promoted to catering supervisor.
After meeting Todd and putting our minds together to start Snapchef, I found my strengths were in financials, HR, and the technical side of the biz and Todd kept busy with ops and strategic development.
Tell us more about your rise as a leader with Snapchef and beyond?
21 years ago, I came to the United States from Brazil without speaking any English but with a dream to build a better life. I started working two full time jobs and trying to learn the language at the same time. This was an extremely hard time in my life, I was away from my family for the first time, not speaking the language but understanding people making fun of me. Going through this experience helped shape me into the person that I am today. It gave me so much strength to fight harder and prove to myself that I could make it. After 8 months, I became a catering supervisor, and started going to school for business. During that time, I learned more about leadership and how to run a business; that’s when Todd and I started Snapchef.
Overseeing a company, being responsible to ensure it succeeds, to make sure people have jobs and they can achieve their greatest potential changes your perspective. This has given me so much experience and helped mold me to be the leader I am today. I love the position I have because it allows me to pass the knowledge, I have gained through all my experience and help others accomplish their goals.
This is the short version. To get where I am today it took 18 years of hard work, ups and downs, and times when I doubted myself and my decisions. Times I encountered barriers that I thought I could not go through, but I never gave up, I never stopped fighting. I feel that is why I accomplished what I have at this time.
Was there any moment in which you believed that you had successfully broken the so-called “glass ceiling?”
There were a couple moments, one a while back when I first received my Business Degree. I could not believe that a piece of paper held so much power, but it did. It was not just a piece of paper but a symbol of all the hard work, dedication, and of all the struggles I went through to get to that point. I was a woman that left her family to go to a country, where I did not speak the language, to fight for a better life. That was the proof that hard works pays off, that I am worthy, that I could accomplish more out of my life.
Another time, more recently, was when I was in a meeting as the only woman with multiple top-level businessmen. It was very surreal that many years ago I could not even speak English and yet here I was, running the meeting full of confidence. That day really showed me that I have acquired the strength and knowledge to be a strong businesswoman, that anything is possible if you work hard and put your mind to it.
As the CFO of the largest food service staffing company in New England, what is the biggest opportunity being a CFO in the culinary offers to women?
Snapchef is in the Hospitality Food Service Industry, but the company would not be able to exist without many other departments. Having a business is never simple – a company is made of departments that need professionals from different fields to be able to be successful. Snapchef needs bookkeepers, financial analysts, HR, payroll, operation managers and more that are not culinary positions. People looking to enter the work force should really think about what it takes to run a business because there are so many opportunities for jobs out there.
How is Snapchef helping women succeed?
Snapchef gives not just women, but anyone that has the drive, passion, and a will to work hard, an opportunity. Opportunity to have a job, to start over, to grow, and to learn. We have so many success stories. People that were lost and through Snapchef they found their way, were able to rebuild their lives. People that could not find a job, we were able to offer them one which gave them stability and a purpose. People, with the experience they acquired working with us, now were able to open their own business. People that were able to grow within their position with us and become managers. All these stories make my heart full and gives me hope that we can do more every day. Our team works together to understand our employees and help them succeed.
What advice do you have for young women thinking about a career as a CFO and company Founder?
Years ago, the phrase “you can do and be whatever you want” sounded unrealistic to me. However today I can tell you, this is true. You are going to make mistakes at times, things might seem impossible, but you must keep fighting, believe in yourself, so you can accomplish your dreams. Do not be scared to try new things or fail. It might not be easy, but time and experiences will guide your journey and you will grow with every step you take. Be confident that you can do it, just like I did.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, what women have inspired you?
My mom for sure is the woman that has inspired me, together with my dad and they still do. She influenced me with her resilience and hard work, teaching me to go after what I want and the most important lesson: to never give up, there is always a way. Looking back now, I realize all that my mom sacrificed, to make sure her family had the best life she could provide, together with my dad. Today I know life back then was hard, but my parents never let that show to us. They went through so many hard times together, but they kept fighting for what they wanted and never gave up. I am immensely proud of my family and everything we all have accomplished.
About Daniela Snopkowski
As a company CFO and co-founder Daniela Snopkowski has been with Snapchef from the start, and is the driving force behind the company’s financial management and human resources functions. Daniela has managed the company’s financial growth and has developed from scratch the administrative procedures that Snapchef operates on today. Her unique approach to real time solutions and creative talents have taken her to create a state-of-the-art internal database that have optimized the day to day operations of the company and proven to be seamless for both staff and clients.
The secret of her success? Daniela is a hands on manager that is focused on perfecting the company’s systems for maximum efficiency. She began cultivating her business and entrepreneurial skills as a child. “I started working at my family’s business in Brazil at a very young age and was lucky to have my parents as role models not only in my personal life but also in the business aspect”, she says. By her teenage years she was versed in all areas of the business and ready for her next challenge.
After moving to the United States she joined the food service behemoth Aramark and Campus as a Catering Manager before earning her degree in Business Administration. Throughout the years she has attained the skills and knowledge she has today by her own efforts and ambition along with various business and management classes that have helped her lead Snapchef to new horizons.
When asked what she likes most about being part of building Snapchef, she says: “Making sure people have chances and opportunities to grow, and to go as far as they can go. That’s what makes this all so worthwhile.”