PHOTOS BY BRODY WHEELER
In the latest edition of Rochester Woman Online we welcome Kayla Kent-Moreira, affectionately known as “Mama Monies” to SoccerSam Fantauzzo, founder of the Salvatore’s Old Fashioned Pizzeria franchise and Rochester Lancers soccer teams.
“Kayla helped us save soccer in Rochester. Our city was in limbo with the Flash and Rhinos leaving. Kayla kept the kick going for many. She’s an amazing mom and now is our CFO, or as we call her, Mama Monies,” says SoccerSam.
Her smile lights up the room, and RWO has had the true pleasure of being able to work hand in hand with Kayla for the past few years, so it was just fitting that she would be our latest cover woman. She is inspiring, passionate and is truly dedicated to not only her work, but her beautiful family. We hope you enjoy her story as much as we enjoyed interviewing her!
Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your background and how you ended up working for the infamous “Soccer” Sam Fantauzzo.
Most importantly, I am a mom of two (Jilliana and Thiago) with one more baby girl on the way and I have the most incredible and supportive husband, Marcelo. I have always loved sports, especially soccer so right out of college when I saw a job opening for the Rochester Lancers I just knew that I had to land the job. Little did I know that job would bring me to the role I am in today working for SoccerSam. Not only did this job bring me to work for SoccerSam but in 2014 it also brought me to meet my husband who at the time was playing for another soccer team in the same league that the Lancers played in.
Outside of my full time job working for Salvatore’s and the Rochester Lancers I also run a business with my husband that offers high level soccer goalkeeper training. MoreKeepers.com
Where are you from? Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in a very small town called Lyndonville, NY. Raised by mom, Lisa and dad, Keith and I have an older brother, Aaron. Whenever I tell someone where I’m from they always say they can’t imagine growing up somewhere like that. However, I’m here to tell you… don’t knock it until you try it. The best of times and the very best of friends come from that small town!
What exactly is the role you play within the multiple companies including Salvatore’s Pizzeria, the Lancer soccer teams and Donuts Delite?
If you ask SoccerSam he will tell you I’m his CFO and Director of Operations, he calls me Mama Monies! I started off as a ticket sales rep in 2012 for the Rochester Lancers and my career within Sams companies has just taken off since then. The best part in my opinion of working with a (smaller) organization like ours is that you get to learn it all. Never did I think in 2012 that one day I would be handling all that I do for Sam. I learn something new everyday and I am continually challenged to take on new things and step outside of my comfort zone. I run all aspects of the Rochester Lancers soccer teams including game day operations, team travel, social media, sales, sponsorship, etc. For Salvatore’s I work in the Corporate/Marketing office where I fulfill all my Mama Monies duties. Donuts Delite is one of our franchised locations and I run there social media.
What makes you hustle both professionally and personally?
I’ve always had the drive from within to get to the top, win the game and never fail. Whether while playing sports or now within my career, I naturally always want more and I’m determined now more than ever for my children to become successful.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
Not very well. My husband gets on my case all the time about turning work off. It’s tough. I’m passionate about everything I do and that I’m involved in but now with the kids I also remind myself that the days are long but the years are short and my time with them is precious. I have to sit back and enjoy them while I can.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
That’s easy. Definitely SoccerSam. I had no clue who Sam was when I first met him in 2012, so basically I had no clue what I was getting myself into After knowing his story and seeing how hard he works day in and day out it’s hard not to look up to someone like him. In my Personal and professional life he guides me through most all of my decisions.
What do you feel are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?
To be a successful leader you have to be willing to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and those of others and then work together to get the job done.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be successful in your business and as a female business owner in general?
Confidence in your own abilities and not allowing anyone to crush it.
Work Ethic. You need to be willing to put in the hours to get the job done. What is 9am-5pm? The day is done when the work is done.
Integrity. You want those around you to respect you and your leadership. Don’t ever jeopardize who you are or your beliefs for a job.
How do you define success?
Happiness. Do you love what you do everyday? If yes, then you are successful.
What is your biggest fear?
Failure. Probably true for many but so important to remind ourselves that “when we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, gives ourselves to excel”.
What would you change about yourself if you could?
My approachability. Sometimes I think that people may find it hard to approach me because when you don’t know me I can seem to have a tough outer shell. Once you crack it though, you get to find out that I am a fun and loving person!
What motivates you to work hard?
My family. They support me and my dreams and I pray everyday that I will always be able to support them.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Adding “Mom” to my resume. No better job, no better accomplishment.
What is one thing that many people don’t know about you?
I have two step sons in Brazil. Igor and Pedro.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
I learn something new everyday. No two days are the same. Who else gets to say that they work with Soccer, Pizza and Donuts on daily basis – name a better combination!
What makes you laugh the most?
My coworkers, SoccerSam and Ashley. We probably should start our own YouTube channel!
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be and why?
Take a nap. I am tired as a mother.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Dont hold back. Keep pushing forward. You and only you will create your own destiny.
How would your friends describe you?
I hope that they would say I’m fun, adventurous, loving and would do anything for any one of them
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
My kids (and candy).
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
To change the divide in the world so everyone loves each other.
What is some of the advice you share with young women entering a male-dominated profession?
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind or bring your ideas to the table. If a male ever makes you feel like you are inferior to them, it’s just because they are intimidated by you so keep going girl and do your thing.
Where will we see you in the future?
Right now I’m just taking life one day at a time, raising my babies, being a wife, working a full time job and running my husbands business. Who knows what blessings the future will hold for my family.