“Follow your passion, believe in yourself, and never give up — the money will follow.”

“2004 was the worst year of my life. I was two years out of Duke, working on Wall Street, making a good salary. Then the bank suddenly merged with another, and though my job was saved, many of my best friends found themselves kicked to the curb. My cherished mentors with many years of experience were laid off. And then, unexpectedly, my Dad died.”

“I felt lost. I knew I could continue on Wall Street, and keep making the money that seemed to fill a need for stability. But I’d learned life is short and stability an illusion. So I asked, what do I REALLY want to do? Finance would give me a living, but not a life. I started thinking about what mattered to me. What I would be PASSIONATE about. The answer came in a small voice: to build my own business. I didn’t know what KIND of business, just that that was my true path.”

“I devoured books on business. I went to work as a barista at a wonderful coffee shop in NYC called Si Caffe. I learned what makes a great cup of coffee, and I thought more about what I wanted to create: A place where people from all walks of life would be comfortable, enjoy delicious food and drink, and great jazz, and leave with a smile on their faces.”

“The answer came in a small voice: to build my own business. I didn’t know what KIND of business, just that that was my true path.”

“I returned to Durham, married my college sweetheart, and dove in to restaurant work doing every job to learn the craft and the business. Sometimes it was hard to stay focused; after two long years, reaching my goal felt impossible. At one point, I actually gave up. I took a job as a financial advisor here and was a week into the training when it just hit me, hard. I cannot do this. I need to follow my own path! So I quit that job and got back to my true self.”

“There’ve been bumps along the way. In 2008 I was about to buy real estate to house my restaurant when the recession hit. But I continued to have faith, and got the idea of renting in downtown Durham which was just starting to revitalize. I loved it; it reminded me of New York. In 2009, I finally opened Beyu Caffe (as in “Be you”) — the same year my first child was born. It’s been amazing watching these ‘babies’ grow. You nurture them the best you can, and you have to step back and see what they become.”

“The hard work has paid off. We’re doing better and better every year and have won a string of awards. I feel very grateful. I could have stayed in New York and ‘followed the money.’ Instead I learned to follow my passion, and the money has followed. To others I’d say, Believe in who you are, don’t overthink it. Truly being who you are meant to be – that’s the opposite of living in fear. Live Fearless to me means, be you.”

band playing music in Beyu Caffe

Beyu Caffe is attracting up and coming jazz talent from all around the country and the world.

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