Mixing it Up with Mariena Mercer Boarini
Mariena Mercer Boarini is a second-generation Las Vegan and a veteran of the beverage industry. Excelling in mixological alchemy, Mariena is well known for creating and leading the innovative cocktail program at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas before launching Wander*Lush, a cocktail consulting and branding company. She also hopes to change the way the world drinks and eats with her new product, Electricdust™—a flavor- and sensation-enhancing dust.
What is the current state of affairs where you work?
Las Vegas was one of the cities hit hardest during the pandemic due to our robust and exposed hospitality industry. Although we have suffered greatly this year, I feel like hope is in the air! If anything, Las Vegans have proved their resiliency and commitment to rebuilding the community and rebounding better than ever. Bars and restaurants are reopening, and there are some exciting projects that are scheduled on the horizon for this year. Personally, I am busier than ever with consulting projects and my product Electricdust. I’m filled with sanguine optimism for the future of our vivacious industry and city.
What new skill or skills have you learned in the last year?
The pandemic has taught me to be nimble and scrappy, while inspiring me to innovate and change the way I work. I launched both a consulting company and a commercial product within the last year. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and follow my vision, even if the journey is an unorthodox path. I’ve always looked at situations through the lens of creativity, but I’ve really flexed that muscle within the last year as the state of the hospitality industry was very fluid at times. I feel like people really reinvented themselves during this time and discovered some underlying strengths.
How are you championing equal rights and representation for and amplifying the voices of women?
As a woman-owned company, I look to other companies run by powerful women to support and with which to collaborate.
Empowered women empower other women—so I’m always looking to partner with women on all levels of their journeys.
I have been fortunate to have strong women support me, so I love to lend a voice to others. When I started my career, very often I was the only woman in the room, or at the proverbial “table” making decisions, and I’ve always championed diverse and female voices.
Who is a woman or nonbinary individual in your industry or organization that you think has been doing something positive, helpful, crucial, or impactful? What have they contributed?
I find April Wachtel to be such an impressive human. She’s brilliant, friendly, creative, genuinely cares for others, and isn’t afraid to try new things and pivot. I met her through her podcast Movers Shakers and am collaborating with her for Women’s History Month on her cocktail ingredient box for her company Cheeky Cocktails. She is a champion for diversity and equity and operates a women-run business. She’s a passionate educator who inspires people into entrepreneurship by being an intrepid entrepreneur herself. I’m always in awe of all of the skills she teaches herself, from design and operations to tech and creative—she wholeheartedly walks the walk of a scrappy entrepreneur. I find that empowering and inspiring.
What advice do you have for women who are either preparing to enter your industry or have justentered your field? What can they do to succeed right now? How can they stay relevant or makethemselves more valued at this time?
I’m a believer in individualism and not compromising your vision or integrity, especially when it comes to creative pursuits.
My advice is to find your voice, vision, and confidence and to be fearless in your pursuit.
Don’t wait for an invite for that seat at the table; assert yourself and be so passionate that you are a valued asset at the table. Also, don’t be afraid to be the weird one in the room. Early on in our careers many times, we look to assimilate. Find the beat of your own drum and play that beautiful music.
I’m always looking to connect with unique brands and innovators to collaborate with and chat about interesting projects. My contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org.