University of Southern California

My Passion Is The Dinner Table
April 27, 2012 • by Tracy Lawrence

The story of my love of entrepreneurship begins with my parents. My mother is Chinese, my father a Russian Jew from New York, and I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I am completely in love with my city. My parents started a business together in the downtown fashion district, so as a child I spent a lot of time downtown, and our dinner table conversations revolved around sales and inventory.

I remember sitting there looking down at my pasta thinking, “I want to talk about food or people.” I believed I would never start my own business because I'd never find a passion I wanted to bring to the dinner table. Now I have to eat my words. Today my passion is the dinner table.

My business–Chewse–was developed at Marshall. After being exposed to the Global Leadership Program my freshman year, and then that summer working in Shanghai, I came back feeling so empowered, so independent, that my eyes opened to different cultures, and exploring my city. I fell in love with food. Food and business became my passions.

I started writing a food blog. I pondered the needs of my target audience–my peers at USC–and how to create a solution for the pains they had as consumers. They needed to connect to downtown. Out of that need, Chewse–the easy way to order catering online–was eventually born. I couldn't have done it without the expertise and support I gained from the Greif Center for Entrepreneurship.

It's been an incredible journey. USC has been supportive, not only in cultivating my skills as an entrepreneur, but by utilizing my company. It's part of the USC Marshall way of doing things: at Marshall, networking is instilled as a virtue. I have found many mentors through USC, people who have opened their arms to me because they want to give back to the Trojan culture of innovation. That's why I give back. And I hope you will, too.

Feed your passion for business'please give to the USC Marshall School of Business.

Fight On!
Tracy Lawrence, B.S. '11

P.S. Please join me on May 1st at the Inside Entrepreneurship Conference in Northern California, where I will share my entrepreneurial journey.