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Featured on Jul 16, 2012

Carmen da Silva

"While it's tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk the more alive we are. - Dr. Frasier Crane"


I consider myself a sincere people person and urban explorer with a great attachment and appreciation for technology in my day-to-day life. I am both the person who can tune out the world and spend hours on my macbook air and the person who can be bothered that a friend is texting during lunch (unless they're texting me other great lunch spots to try later that week). The one word that would probably describe me best is definitely "foodie". I have been known to snap instagram pics of my cortados, tweet about locally-sourced apps and check-in to my favorite Michelin Star restaurants from coast to coast. With a Concierge background, I am often found moonlighting as an on-call Concierge for friends (or followers of my fun, free and cheap travel guide tweets @youngandbroke) as I now focus on helping startups and corporate clients better equip their employees with the best in media and software training! I love my job, just about as much as I love the flat whites at Culture Espresso in midtown.

  • Title: Operations Manager (USA)/Marketing Director
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Midtown
  • Contact: @dappertraining

The switch from concierge to marketing at a media and software training company seems like quite a jump! How did you make the transition?

Yes, it was quite a jump but I've found the fields of hospitality and marketing are not as different as you might think. As a Concierge my job was completely service related. I provided families, tourists and business travelers with knowledgeable dining or sightseeing suggestions, time saving tips, directions and unique business services that fit each individual's needs. In the field of marketing I also offer tailored services to a varied set of clients (individuals, startups/small businesses and corporate clients) and again offer my knowledgable expertise on services that fit their unique needs. It did take me a bit of time to learn the extensive list of software classes we offer and I am still learning how to use all the software titles myself but I very much enjoy being a part of a younger, booming industry that allows for a great deal of travel. And frequent travel means I am able to use my innate Concierge skills to scout out great coffee shops, restaurants and events in other cities!

Can you let us in on some of the best food deals in the city? Like where we can find the most flavorful bang for our buck?

I live for these kinds of questions!

As a Mexican food fantastic, I can never get enough Pinche Taqueria (and I believe they have a 50% off ScoutMob deal right now for any smartphone owners).

Overall, I would say two of the best dining deals in Manhattan would definitely include Soho's quaint Mediterranean restaurant 12 Chairs and The Meatball Shop (various locations). Both offer a good selection of vegetarian options and are in easily accessible locations. The Meatball Shop is often open until 2am and offers a variety of menu options from $3-$9 and 12 Chairs serves a great breakfast all day as well as one of the best (and most reasonably priced) filet mignon burgers with yam fries in the city.

Milk Bar Brooklyn certainly warrants a "Best Brunch" award with their Counter Culture cappuccinos ($3.50) and open face toasts with avocado, tomato, ham, cheese and eggs over medium ($7+). Lastly, the best and cheapest dinner, in my opinion, would go to Chavela's in my neighborhood of Crown Heights! Every Monday-Friday from 4-7pm you can enjoy their specialty $5 house margaritas, $3 beers and outstanding $2 tacos (including a flavorful chorizo and sweet potato variation!) I love this place so much I actually celebrated my birthday there this month.

I noticed you said that you "can be bothered that a friend is texting during lunch." In the startup world, most are attached to their smartphones, tweeting, instagramming or something else. Do you think that this is a problem in the tech industry? If so, how do you think people in the tech industry can find a balance in their lives between being social in real life and social media?

Truly enjoying social interactions without technology is becoming a rarity. At this exact moment I am cursing the bad cell service I have in Rio but should I really be complaining when there are far more amazing things to look at here than a glowing iPhone screen? And in actuality I am a bit of a hypocrite because I'm the biggest Instagram and foursquare addict. But I do feel like these apps have created real life social interactions that would not have otherwise been possible. I live in New York and travel often. My family lives in Oregon and my husband's family is in Brazil. If it weren't for blogs, Instagram and Skype, my two year old niece would not know who I am and I would certainly feel less out of touch with what our long-distance friends and family are up to. As a foodie, I love dining out, so much so that I often forget what I've eaten where. Foursquare has been a great way to help me keep track of the places I loved and allowed me to leave tips for myself and others for the next time we visit. Benefits aside, as with most anything in life, it is all about balance. When I'm spending time with someone in real time, I make them my main focus. I will take photos with my friends or of the food or coffee art I want to document but then I'll put my phone away and check-in to the restaurant or event on my way out, while in a cab or at home. I do allocate time during business hours to maintain Dapper Training's social media accounts as this is part of our marketing strategy but try to maintain my personal accounts during less social settings. It is somewhat silly if you step back to think about it. We're not allowing ourselves to fully soak up many real life social experiences because we take so much time away from these real life experiences to share them with our virtual worlds. Again, I'm totally not against these great social media outlets but I am sensing that maintaining a good balance between being social in real life and social media will become harder and harder as the technology industry grows.

Marketing, Director of Operations