Samantha Reiner: Becoming a General Manager

You're reading Team USHG, a series of spotlights of our team members. From their hobbies outside the kitchen, to their journeys within the company, get to know the team members who make it all happen.

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Samantha Reiner

General Manager of Porchlight

"I got to where I am today by working extremely hard and saying “YES!” to every opportunity presented to me, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!"

How did you become the GM of Porchlight?

“Five years ago, while bartending at a restaurant in New Jersey, I heard the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) was holding their first ever Culinary Voice Scholarship. To enter, they asked for a one minute video about your love for the hospitality industry and why attending ICE was important. The videos were shared on social media for people to vote for their favorites, and the top 50 videos were sent to judges to pick a winner.

I was terrified to enter the competition, but pushed myself to do it. I uploaded my video, and long story short, I won a full scholarship to ICE’s Culinary Management Program!

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have been surrounded by like-minded people and to have learned from leaders in our industry. Throughout the nine months I was there, I took every extra-curricular, went to every lecture, and explored the city for job opportunities.

My instructor stepped out of our classroom one morning to take a call from ‘someone at USHG’. They needed to interview one student in our class as a requirement for a ‘social scavenger hunt’ they were participating in. I immediately raised my hand. I'd started learning about the culture and level of excellence at USHG, so I knew I wanted to talk to someone from the group, even though I wasn’t exactly sure what I was volunteering for.

I found myself in the lobby of ICE with Mark Maynard, a USHG Director of Operations, telling him about myself and hearing about a new bar he just opened, Porchlight. He gave me his card and told me to stop by for a trail, so I followed up the next day. When I arrived at Porchlight, Mark let me know that while they were not actively hiring, it would be a great supplement to my education. He was right. I was blown away by the level of professionalism, the thought that was put into the space, and those cocktails!

After the trail, Mike Shain (the former General Manager of Porchlight) said he’d love to bring me on part-time. I started at Porchlight in December of 2015 and had the best experience, learning from some of the most knowledgeable people I have ever known. I studied cocktail books, worked hard, and asked questions about everything so I could learn as much as I could.

It wasn’t long before I began working at Porchlight full-time. In 2017, I was promoted to bartender, where I fell in love with the craft. A few months later, I was promoted to part-time hourly supervisor and shortly thereafter, I joined the Porchlight leadership team full-time as a manager. I had the privilege of working closely with Mike, who taught me about leading people and managing the business, which almost prepared me for his departure in November of 2018, when Mark asked me to be the second ever General Manager of Porchlight.


I got to where I am today by working extremely hard and saying ‘YES!’ to every opportunity presented to me and I couldn’t be happier with the results!”

Interested in working at Porchlight or another USHG restaurant? Join our team here!