We had the good fortune of connecting with Marisa Bella and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marisa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Both of my parents inspired me to start a business outside or my corporate life. I grew up living with my mother who had a very successful marketing consulting business. She had a home office that I was barely allowed into because she was always on conference calls but I was intrigued. My father was the same way. On the days we spent with him he was always on the phone and working from wherever we were. I always thought I wanted to be able to do that. My parents being entrepreneurs were a huge reason I felt that starting a business was in my future.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My father gave me and my sister a leeway into the radio business. Him and his business partner identified a market with potential and ran with it. Up in Rochester, NY there is a huge market for hip hop/R&B and Latin music. One of our stations is Urban Mainstream and the other is Latin. They are both new businesses to us so we are working through some growing pains. The biggest challenge for me is not physically being there. Radio stations are so important for community outreach. We have staff based in other parts of the country so it’s a bit challenging to hone in on what resonates with the community in Rochester. I’m still learning lessons everyday, especially trying to get a grasp on the radio station side of things and not the label side. I want the world to remember the Bella family as entrepreneurial and risk takers. My father wasn’t born in this country so to be able to come here and start a successful business is something special to me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If you’re visiting me I have endless spots in the East Village to point you too! It’s hard to choose. I’d say it’s important to see the city outside of the tourist spots. Stay away from Times Square please! The FDR drive park is one of my favorite places to go when it’s nice out. It’s a beautiful view with a nice area to workout or relax. Next is definitely Washington Square Park. There are so many great musicians that play in the park and if you have a dog they have a great dog park. People know New York for its nightlife and bars, but people should really know about the DESSERT bars here in the East Village. My favorites are Spot Dessert Bar (get the Harvest or the Milky Puff) and Price Tea House (get the Boba Crepe Cake and hot rose milk tea). Also my second home where I clear my mind for 2 hours 6 times a week- Evolution Muay Thai in Chelsea. Muay thai is the Thai version of kickboxing or the art of eight limbs. I’ve learned that immersing yourself in something outside of work (and I mean really immersing yourself in it) makes everything work-related more enjoyable. Here I met amazing people, learned self defense and the beautiful martial art that is Muay Thai. Balance is everything. 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?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my sister, Christina. Growing up with divorced parents was tough but my sister was/is always my rock. Being the baby, I always looked up to her. When I saw my sister get into her dream school, Northeastern University, I realized I had something to live up to. We always shared a love for music, whether it was TLC, Brandy, The Spice Girls, or Ashanti, we always bonded over it. We began managing artists at the beginning of my college years. We went through MANY ups and downs which taught us a lot about the industry. Trial and error can be discouraging but she inspires me everyday. Her leadership is amazing. There is a big difference between a boss and a leader. Not every boss is a leader, my sister truly is one.
Linkedin: Marisa Bella
M. Rose Vollaro