Title: president of Birdie’s Pimento Cheese, which is sold online, at farmers markets and at grocery stores, breweries and cideries throughout Virginia, including Stella’s Grocery, Little House Green Grocery, Shields Market, Union Market and Outpost

Born: in 1964 in Nashville but grew up in North Carolina.

Education: Appalachian State University, bachelor’s degree in communication with minors in marketing and psychology, 1987

Career: worked in a couple of printing companies before starting her own with her husband, Glenn Allen. They ran Dogwood Graphic Inc. for 25 years before an employee made an offer to buy it. They then turned to “what had been sort of a hobby into a business, Birdie’s Pimento Cheese.”

What part of the metro area do you live?: South Hill

Best business decision: “Working with people who know more than I do. Creating a network of supporters and hiring professionals to fill the gaps of my expertise.”

Worst business decision: “Not shopping professional service providers more often. I can have a sense of loyalty to people that isn’t always returned. I’ve learned that professional advisers can get a stale view of where you’re headed with your business. Getting a fresh look every so often can turn up opportunities previously missed.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “Mistakes are part of life. While I always do my best, I know that a first attempt is usually not perfect. I also know that perfection is the killer of excellence. With that philosophy, I can confidently move forward with an idea or concept, knowing that I’ll polish and improve as I go.”

What is the biggest challenge/opportunity in the next two to five years: “Scaling production will be the challenge we’ll face in the upcoming years. It’s important to me to stay true to our product, and to the consumer who loves it.”

First job after college: “Stripper — it’s a now extinct job in printing, but still my husband’s favorite story to tell.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “Nothing really. I feel like everything I’ve ever done in my life has been getting me ready for this time right now. From waiting tables to garden club, art classes to running a print shop, it all still shows up.”

Movie or book that inspired you the most, and why?: “That’s a tough one, I read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies. I just finished ‘Garlic and Sapphires,’ by Ruth Reichl. Her view of how restaurant patrons should be treated gives a nice example of what customer service should be like in all areas.”

Favorite/least favorite subject in school: “I never really had a favorite or least favorite subject.”

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