I’m Gonca (pronounced GUN*JA). I am a published author, artist and creative rebel. I was in my last semester as a filmmaking major at Montclair State University when my sisters asked me if I’d like to hop on the Flatbread Grill® train. I began my entrepreneurial journey in high school when Arzu and I won a business plan writing contest for teenagers. We started an e-commerce site selling accessories and hair supplies. Eventually, we shut it down to focus on other things, but it was definitely a great learning experience. I started a small publishing company when I graduated high school and then I started my own production company when I was in college. In between, I also worked several different jobs and internships in various different industries. I worked in the corporate world as well as in retail and the service industry. I flipped hot dogs, worked as a cashier, sales person, helped raise money for a science research institute, read TV and movie scripts for potential development, was an assistant to a top level senior executive of a private bank, did some temp work in various different environments, went on a book tour, gave poetry workshops, interviewed rock stars and so much more before I joined my sisters on our mutual entrepreneurial journey. I was a jack of all trades because I had a thirst and curiosity for everything that was out there. Most of my jobs were passionate whims I followed and others were to put me through school and pay my bills. Out of all the things I have done and out of all the pursuits I have partaken in, Flatbread Grill® has by far been the most exciting, challenging and fulfilling one.
Starting up Flatbread Grill® with my sisters allowed me to put everything I’ve ever learned in every place I’ve ever worked to the test. I started out assisting my sisters with the interior design, daily operations, menu development, and developing the marketing material. When we started the first Flatbread Grill®, I was juggling a part-time job and a full college course schedule, as well as trying to run my production company on the side. Eventually, I had to make the decision to commit myself fully to the Flatbread family because the concept took off faster than we ever anticipated. I jumped right into front of house management and marketing for the brand.
In addition to running the front of house and assisting my sisters with daily operational duties, including prep work in the kitchen, I also act as a communications liaison for any and all business inquires. In addition, I manage, conceive, and execute our day to day marketing initiatives and all of our social media activities, while overseeing the design and development of all creative assets. I am also in charge of managing sponsorship requests, community involvement programs, brand identity development, as well as overseeing all publicity. One of my favorite job duties is designing and creating all of our marketing material, both offline and online, as well as overseeing our social media activities because it allows me to connect with so many different types of people from so many different walks of life, all across the world. I also do the photography and food styling for Flatbread Grill®’s marketing material and menu.
On a more personal level, I love foreign films, binging on Netflix, the color purple, music, dancing, reading, writing, photography, fashion, art, being outdoors, and I could spend forever in a craft store. I was also a competitive martial artist and earned my black belt when I was a teen. I am really into horoscopes, love animals, and am obsessed with bright colors. Food is one of my big passions and I enjoy trying new cuisines and new places to eat. I am currently learning how to code and brushing up on my guitar playing skills. The biggest item on my bucket list is to travel the world, exploring the local art, culture and the food.
My long-term vision is for Flatbread Grill® to create mentoring and job opportunities worldwide for those who are experiencing adversity in their lives. My sisters and I started with nothing and used everything from our street smarts, creativity, perseverance, and intelligence to build our business. It is my absolute hope that we can inspire, empower and motivate others through our personal and our professional journey. I believe in hard work, honesty, and humility. I can only hope that our story inspires others to go after what they want without allowing anything or anyone to hold them back.
I’m also part of Women Reading Aloud. I went to Greece And Prague with Julie. I often see your name on Julie’s posts. You’re an inspiration! When things open up a bit more, I hope to visit Flatbread Grill in Hoboken where I often dine out with a friend from Ft. Lee. BTW, I, too, love bright colors—love your decor!
I hope we can meet someday.
Gonca you are an inspiration to us all. You’re an amazing human, and a kind soul. You sharing your story, experiences is helping and encouraging others. Thank you for your kindness. I hope to try thumb bread in the near future.
Thank you so much!