We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Avanceña and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind our brand is leading with our WHY. Through Calajo Catering, we are able to share our WHY of culture, hospitality and community. I am a proud Ibaloi-Igorot-Filipinx American woman who is mission-driven to create community by sharing, acknowledging, and celebrating different cultures. At Calajo Catering, we are of service to our community through supporting and uplifting BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs, professionals, and creatives.
Working in a corporate structure for over 20 years has been an exceptional journey and certainly has contributed to my professional and personal strengths. In the same breath, I’ve witnessed and experienced challenges in my career including sexism, discrimination, and microaggressions. In a corporate structure, I couldn’t express my true self and ideas, which left me feeling unheard and excluded. With the passions of culture, hospitality, and community, it was difficult to live in these passions in a corporate setting since my position was to carry out someone else’s ideas, vision and why.
We believe that true success in any organization, from corporate professionals to non-profit activists, it is essential to begin, lead and grow with their WHY as this is the strategy of success.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Calajo Catering provides Filipinx-inspired cuisine through catering services and baked delicacies. My partner, Chef Carlo, is my partner in life and business. After being laid off from our professional positions in March 2020, we decided to bring our dreams to life by launching our own business. We are proud to say we are living the hopes and dreams we shared the first time we spent time together.
As Igorot-Filipinx-Americans, we seek to build community by sharing our culture through food. At Calajo Catering, we take it to another level by applying our 40+ years of combined professional hospitality experience with elevated flavors and presentation plus event consultation services.
As mission-driven advocates who specialize in hospitality operations and sales, we practice our values of supporting community through volunteerism and collaboration efforts. From our own cultural roots and career experiences, practicing humanity is our core value. To partner with a variety of social justice, human rights and cultural non-profit organizations is one way we express this core value.
At Calajo Catering, our mission is clear: to Do Business Better by advancing entrepreneurism within BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities and practice true inclusion and diversity for all organizations to pursue.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would support small businesses by dining at spots in the Valley, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, West Los Angeles, Orange County, and shop at local pop-up shops. And of course, spend time at the Wake Me When I’m Free Tupac Shakur exhibit in DTLA. Lastly, a night out at Café Brass Monkey Karaoke Bar in Koreatown is a MUST!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Ariane Aligo is founder and owner of Artistic Exchange Market (https://www.facebook.com/artisticexchangemarket). In simple terms, AEM is an in-person Etsy shop. Ariane opened a retail store to market it affordable for small businesses to showcase their creations from crafts to baked food items on a retail platform. Ariane is a true community leader by extending her retail space as a venue for non-profit organizations to host programs and events.
Other: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/calajocateringla Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/calajocateringla/
Loretta Chen https://www.instagram.com/nomsandbeyond/?hl=en Armando Rosas https://instagram.com/el_mando?utm_medium=copy_link