We had the good fortune of connecting with Chandler Tomayko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chandler, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I first entered the service industry, I fully subscribed to the 90 hours weeks, no holidays or weekends off. I lived illegally in a foreign country and really had to stretch myself thin to make ends meet. 14 years later, I had severe burnout. I realized like much like a pot left boiling on the stove, if you don’t check on it, eventually it burns…I was that pot. So I designed a better structure to self-check. Taking steps to diversify my life and the way I spent my time in and out of work led to much richer experiences across the board. I now engage in different forms of self-care and force myself to follow through at least once every two weeks even when I get slammed with work. I have built a support team and group of friends that come from different walks of life. This allows me to maintain an open mind and an open line to what else goes on outside of my bubble. My favorite thing I do might be FGD’s…something I call Feel Good Days. It usually involves an oversized t-shirt, a shot (not necessarily alcohol, I’ve done espresso or mineral water), shades on indoors and a random dance party. I refuse to grow up, it makes me feel better. So when I live a life where I work hard, educate myself whenever possible, inspire however I can but also build pillow forts and stairs slide, I have many people tell me “I wish I could”….then I show them they can. I really try to live what I preach. Life is short. Balance is necessary. Have fun.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been in the service industry for 20 years now. As many will relate I started washing dishes. I did go to a culinary trade school in Central America. I would say the biggest factors that shaped me as a chef were, my inability to take ‘no’ for an answer and the fact that I wanted to become a world citizen. I was literally hungry for more hospitality and culinary knowledge. I spent a decade traveling the world opening restaurants, taking a multitude of classes, training staff, and shadowing very successful individuals. The highlight, however, was my concept of wanting to work with people’s grandmothers in different countries. I did this for years, learning nuances that only nanas know, taking copious notes and pictures while immersing myself in foreign cultures.
I transitioned to the bar after my burnout. It allowed more schedule flexibility and I relished the challenge. Behind the wood, I have slung party drinks, mixed craft cocktails, and even popped bottles among undressed dancers. Becoming a bartender really allowed me to find a new voice and have a more direct line with the guests. After 2 decades and many business ideas unacted on, I decided to create Heard. I realized that in every country the struggles, frustrations, and celebrations were often similar. This community of professionals worldwide shares stresses, traumas, and difficulties but also laughs, camaraderie and dedication. I wanted to create something that felt like it could belong to the community.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When friends come to visit it is hard to fit everything I want to show them into the time they are here. That being said, no visit is complete without a stop at my favorite dive bar (Uptown Pub), driving out into the country to my parent’s house to see their small coffee roasting business (2 Hats Coffee), and try to pet a goat and definitely a night at my Thursday dancehall (Electric Cowboy in Lewisville).
If time allows I would fit in a student massage at a local school (I try hard to encourage self-care), some old school fun at the roller rink in Mesquite (Dad’s Broadway), an off-menu cocktail by Ricky (Side Saddle Saloon), a pool game or two at Billy Bobs and a nightcap at Proper.
If they stayed even longer, we would definitely hit up a farmers market, grab some treats from Nena Posteria, head back to my place have a picnic and an FGD for sure!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shout-outs list would be longer than my accomplishment list for sure. There is a special group of people, the late late OGs (Dani, Jackie, Algee, Marv, Neub, Woody, Wanz, and many others) who shared their stories as we commiserated during the pandemic. They definitely inspired me to create a game that would drive storytelling.
Lauren Myerscough, a professional of many talents, mom, and all-around loudly living human really inspired me to invest in myself. She is incredibly transparent, walks the walk, and talks the talk. Leading by example she moved me to put action behind my thoughts.
Over the last year, my direct support team has been Aliana Benson, Lacey Byers and Corey Loughlin. They have put up with endless conversations about my idea, allowed me to take photos, tried to spread word of mouth, and really encouraged me to jump all in.
Along with my career, there have been many other mentors and supporters. I wanted to focus on the ones that helped me with my current business idea. I make it a mission to let them know they are appreciated whenever I can. So if I missed anyone, don’t worry, you are not forgotten.