Interview with The Encorepreneur Cafe’s Erin Schmith: Enjoying an opportunity to work with retirees in a cross-cultural setting

Working for a small team that is responsive to the community it serves appeals to Erin Schmith of The Encoreprenuer Cafe.
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Erin Schmith, Sales & Marketing Manager, Encorepreneur Cafe


What were you doing prior to working at The Encorepreneur Cafe?

I had just graduated with my Master’s in Arts Management from the University of Oregon the year I started at the Cafe. Before that, I had a lot of different jobs and roles over the years. Most recently, I was the imports manager at a small e-commerce business. I managed the old art gallery at SCRAP in Portland and worked in the store there. I also worked in fundraising at United Way in San Francisco before moving back to the Northwest.

Why were you interested in working at The Encorepreneur Cafe?

I liked that it was a small team with tons of potential to be flexible and responsive to the community we serve. Working with the rest of the staff to build a community around the retirees that use the space has been very satisfying. It’s also been tremendously interesting to work for a Japanese-founded organization and to learn from our founders how they approach serving retirees.

What do you do at the cafe?

My title is Sales and Marketing Manager.  However, on a small team, you’re always more than just your title. I manage the space in the Lloyd District, develop the COVID-related procedures and policies, work directly with rental clients, create the marketing materials and manage promotion. Along with others on the team, develop new business ideas and partnerships. I am working on building up our online event support skills so we can continue to help teachers that want to partner with us, as well as to offer those skills as a separate product.

What have you enjoyed most while working at the Cafe?

It’s the people for sure! I really miss seeing our clients and all the people that attend our programs in-person.

What’s your vision for the Cafe in 2021?

Just like everyone else, we are looking forward to a time when in-person gatherings are safe again. In the meantime, we are still open for business by appointment. We’ll continue to build up our online event services. We are now able to manage ticketing, support with marketing/promotion, manage attendees, offer technical support, provide equipment, and moderate online events. Some of our past programs will be continuing online into 2021, such as our lecture series in partnership with Portland State University’s Center for Japanese Studies. I am sure we’ll be adding some new offerings as we find new teachers to partner with.