Member Profile: Lauren Talchik, Charter One Yachts February 28, 2018
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Lauren Talchik is the oldest (and wisest, according to her!) of three siblings. She grew up a “restaurant baby”, as her Greek-heritage family was in the restaurant business, mostly serving breakfast and lunch. From the time she can remember she could be found at the back of the kitchen in a play pen. Her parents moved to Florida the summer between fifth and sixth grade, and she spent the rest of her school years in Palm Beach County, attending Jupiter High School before leaving for Flagler College in St. Augustine, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
After graduation, Lauren became a stewardess on a yacht, but after six months crammed in the tight crew quarters, she called her mother and declared that she wanted to come home. She went to work as the bookkeeper at Ragtops Motorcars, a classic car dealer and museum party venue in West Palm Beach. There she met a friend who introduced her to the Human Resource Director at The Breakers, a luxury resort on the island of Palm Beach. She took a job in Social Catering, where she worked for three years and gained a lot of experience. She really enjoyed the culture of a business with an impeccable reputation, confirmed by the fact that many of her former co-workers have remained working at the resort since the early 1990’s.
Keeping to her food and beverage background, Lauren left The Breakers and went to work with Morton’s Steakhouse in sales and marketing. She spent eight years there, cultivating corporate events, establishing wine tastings, golf tournaments, cigar dinners, and creating other special events. She considers this a time of personal growth, as she was consistently outside her comfort zone and recalls routinely sitting in her car in parking lots and giving herself a pep talk before cold-calling a client. But, she learned an incredible amount about customer service, both by training in every department from making salads to cleaning the bathroom, and from annual employee conferences. She calls that type of supportive environment, “old school”, as some people in the restaurant business today just don’t know how to treat customers and employees.
While she was working at Morton’s in West Palm Beach, she began dating her eventual husband and business partner, Matt Talchik, who had started Charter One in Fort Lauderdale in 1999. After commuting back and forth for a while, Lauren decided in 2004 that she’d had enough of selling steak and potatoes and Matt convinced her to join him in the charter boat business. Back then, they did everything together – sales, contracts, menus. It was just them in the office and there were times when Matt was the captain and Lauren was the mate. They often cooked out of their home or brought a small tailgate grill to cater events aboard the Summerwind, a 50-passenger 91’ vessel. She says she always reminded Matt that he lucked out when he met someone with both a yachting and restaurant background.
Soon, they began to lease a larger boat from New York during the winter season, although it was difficult to plan ahead for weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc., without knowing whether they would have the boat or not the following season. That’s when they decided to lease the Grand Floridian, a 550-passenger, 125’ vessel, year-round. Over the years, they’ve had many memorable events, like wrapping the boat to look like a Reebok shoe when the Super Bowl was in Miami, to being the Grand Marshall of the Winterfest Boat Parade for five years, and hosting the MIASF Hospitality Suite during FLIBS.
With Matt’s passing a year ago, Lauren had to reassess her work and life priorities. Matt took care of more things than Lauren realized, including all the boat mechanics and maintenance, and things like the U.S. Coast Guard certifications. He was the one who had the “go big or go home” attitude. Lauren was the more conservative of the two, and suddenly found everything was now on her plate. She had to ask herself if this is what she wanted to do, and even received advice from her mother that maybe she should downsize. Inconceivably, Charter One’s head stewardess of 10-years, Andrea, also passed suddenly, just one month after Matt.
Once again, Lauren found herself outside her comfort zone, doing things she’d never done before. Without the help of Matt or Andrea, she had to brave decisions that cost several thousand dollars, learn all the workings of the engines, transmissions, generators, and bow thrusters, hire captains, fire crew, and deal with the minute details of every event, like explaining to staff where to find the two cases of Tito’s she left in the galley for a party that same evening. Andrea was so efficient, it was like “set it and forget it”, and Lauren is still trying to find the right person to fill that role.
It has been a difficult year to say the least, but Lauren has made it through the learning curve. Her previous captain is back, her crew is behind her 100% and she’s moving full steam ahead. She continues to enjoy boating with her 34’ SeaVee center console, visiting The Florida Keys, and sometimes going snow skiing in places like Whistler, Canada. She loves to travel and tries to take about five trips a year, including short weekends visiting family and friends in Palm Beach County. She is an avid Cross Fit fan and enjoys the people and the feeling of strength she gets from working out. Her goal for the coming year is to join more networking organizations and become more involved in the community. She hopes to buy the Grand Floridian and continue operating Charter One for at least the next 10 years.