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Lisa-Marie has a Plan

Lisa-Marie Groh is a recent high school graduate and a tough entrepreneur. She left school in June and immediately began managing her own restaurant: Lotty’s at Zwenkau harbour. Here, visitors can enjoy Italian food, ice cream and cocktails, all with a view of the largest lake in Leipzig’s Neuseenland lake district. Lotty has been Lisa’s nickname since she was a child, hence the choice of name.

While many of her former classmates are heading off on holiday and wondering what to do after that, Lisa has a plan. “I’ve given myself a year to see whether this job really suits me,” she says, and adds: “But I know from my parents what it’s like to be self-employed in the restaurant industry, working long hours with no public holidays.” Lisa’s parents have managed a restaurant called Groh directly opposite Lotty’s for three and a half years. “I’ve always helped out a lot there. Firstly, because it seems a bit silly to just hang around when your parents are working so hard, and secondly, because I always found it easier than school.”

A change of course: from competitive sport to running her own business

Lisa made sure she completed high school and gained her school leaving qualifications first, though: “Giving up isn’t an option for me. When I start something, I finish it.” She sounds surprisingly mature and clearly has a lot of stamina. But that’s hardly surprising, as Lisa-Marie is an athlete and boxed six times a week for five years, competing against men. In fact, she originally wanted to pursue a career in competitive sport. “I love boxing, especially the strategy aspect. You don’t defeat your opponent with strength, but with your mind. It’s a great feeling.” However, a tragic accident in which she seriously damaged her right hand put paid to her plan of becoming a professional sportswoman. It has taken a long time for the 18-year-old to accept that her wrist is no longer strong enough to withstand tough boxing training.

Team performance: tackling challenges together

Lisa-Marie is now putting all her energy into establishing her own business. It goes without saying that the support of her parents and a loyal team are crucial for success. “I know I can always count on my parents. We discuss everything important, but they allow me lots of freedom to make my own decisions.”

Lisa-Marie’s parents have been business owners for many years and enabled her to get started in the industry. However, it’s now up to her to prove herself and make a go of the business. Sometimes she even needs to go a bit further than others. “When you’re the daughter, you need to work twice as hard to show you can do it.” And that’s exactly what she does – working 13 or 14 hours in the restaurant, serving, placing orders, drawing up staff rotas and concocting new ice cream creations.

Lisa-Marie attends training courses and seminars to help her progress in the restaurant business. She knows that she needs professional training and a qualification and she is currently considering whether to do an apprenticeship as a chef. “It’s always good to know how things are done so I can really understand what goes on in the kitchen and judge for myself.” Another example that shows how an 18-year-old really can be quite grown up. In a good way.

All photos © Robert Strehler.