We had the good fortune of connecting with Lori Zuker Briller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lori, what role has risk played in your life or career?
To me, while “risk” is scary, it is also exciting! My whole current career was based on the notion of risk — because I risked it all on a gamble. After spending many years in the film development world, I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t an industry I was passionate about. However, I had no idea what I should be doing instead. Eventually, thanks to an introduction from a friend, I was hired into a company similar to mine currently where I learned the world of staffing — both in homes and in companies. This risk – jumping ship on my entertainment life – was huge.
I took a chance that somehow I would still utilize the relationships I had made over the previous 5 years. I learned how to recruit, what it meant to interview people and get a sense of how matches were made in this line of work. A few years later, I had been told that Rachel, my now partner, was starting The Grapevine Agency. I decided to take another risk and cold call her to say that I was interested in meeting to potentially be a partner. She basically thought I was insane — but after we met and completely clicked, we decided to partner. So I left a good paying job, with a 6 month old baby home and together we took the risk to open The Grapevine Agency. I just knew fiercely in my gut that for me, it was a now or never moment. I acted on instinct– and I never regretted that choice.
What should our readers know about your business?
As you can see today in the Los Angeles market, there are a handful of other corporate and domestic staffing agencies. It quite literally feels like there is a new one popping up each day! And I am sure to a certain degree, ultimately, we are all fairly similar. However, I feel proud of the fact that much of what has become the norm for some of these companies were created by myself and my partner. When I started this line of work 18 years ago, I started posting jobs and using email blasts as a way to get the information out to a population of people seeking work. We really were the ones who had our website designed a certain way from day one. So as they say, copying is the best form of flattery. And again, we are all good but I think what makes us potentially standout is that we are always super transparent and authentic. Unfortunately, sometimes this level of honesty doesn’t always land well because we are needing to be mindful of people’s feelings. With that being said though, I think the people hiring from us and the people we help employ like that we are always 100% honest about the job or the person. We never want to feel that we lied or did anything shady. We hear stories from all angles, and we try our best to be straight-shooters to make sure we are making the best match for both parties.
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?
As a native New Yorker who now has lived in LA longer than I did NYC, there are SO many reasons to love this city. The best thing is that we have a suburban lifestyle yet we are in a city, and with a beach! As much as I love the views to be had if living in the hills, I am still an ultimate NYC girl. I live in the flats of Sherman Oaks so I can walk out my door each and everyday for errands, food, exercise, to see friends. If a friend were to visit, I would take them on hikes, specifically in Malibu — and for some great food. Craig’s is a go-to, from the food, to the ambiance, to the opportunity to get a little of glam going. Also, a recent find that I LOVED and would highly recommend to anyone is the rooftop at The Surfride Hotel in Malibu. It’s a beautiful view, so elegantly decorated — chic and simple! When my friends visit I tend to split things up by area. So one day we can be downtown, one day by Griffith Park and The Hollywood Sign, another day spent roaming around Hollywood, and then round it out with a visit to the beach in Venice or Malibu. My kids both surf and I can’t say enough about how wonderful a day spent at the beach is – an LA must. I love that this city can feel so different in different pockets.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate where I am in life to all of the strong female bosses that I’ve had over the years. They were all powerful, unrelenting in their expectation for perfection, and always championed my work and my efforts. Regardless of where we believe women are today in the workforce, there is STILL a stigma. If a woman is a strong business person and not soft and flowery all the time, they are deemed a B. And that just feels unfair. My female bosses always proved to me that we have to be strong and fight just a little harder. They taught me though to be proud of my own accomplishments and to know my worth, and for that, I give them all the credit.
Linkedin: Lori Zuker- Briller