“I fail every day as I work to get this organization off the ground, it’s that failure that informs what I do next.” Said like a true boss! Tonight’s #30Under30PHLis Lisa Miccolis of The Monkey & The Elephant! Read more all about her and her mission below!


1. How old are you?
30

2. What do you do?
I am the Founder and Executive Director of The Monkey & The Elephant (M&E) – a cafe offering employment, job and life skills training to former foster youth. In terms of what that means I do on a day to day basis…There’s a lot of networking, looking for funding opportunities, re-hashing our business plan, looking for ways to best utilize volunteers, teaching our employees how to make delicious coffee, offering a listening ear and advice and connecting our employees to resources for everything from safe and stable housing to college counseling.

3. What neighborhood in Philly do you call home?
South Philly – technically I think I’m in the East Passyunk neighborhood

4. What is your favorite thing right now about Philly?
I don’t know whether it’s just Philly or the world of Social Entrepreneurs I have found myself in, but there are so many people eager to change the status quo in new and interesting ways and cheer each other on along the way.

5. What do you consider your greatest achievement thus far?
Getting the organization this far. There have been a lot of road blocks and unknowns up to this point and we have been able to navigate them while developing and growing our program. With the two former foster youth working for M&E now and thinking back to the training and guidance we were doing a year ago… the program has come so far and everyone who has been a part of it has influenced it’s development.

6. If not yourself, who would you like to be?
I’m pretty darn happy being me!

7. Your idea of happiness.
I find happiness in spending time with friends and family. With helping those in The Monkey & The Elephant reach strive for and reach their potential.

8. Guiltiest pleasure?
I’m not sure there is anything I feel guilty about enjoying or indulging in.

9. Favorite inspirational quote?
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss

10. What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
That they have stuck by me, listen to all of my ups and downs and allow me to talk (a lot) as I process and questions and generally try to figure out life.

11. Favorite food in Philly?
Yogorino (that’s not just in Philly is it…?)

12. Favorite drink in Philly?
Right now – a pumpkin spice latte from M&E!

13. Favorite song right now?
Hmmm, let’s go with Sam Sparro’s Black and Gold (I think it’s the beat that gets me).

14. A book you plan on reading?
There are so many! I have a pile right now – I was just told about a memoir called Buck, Good to Great, On the Run, The Responsible Entrepreneur.

15. A book that powerfully impacted your life?
I did not enjoy reading as a kid/young adult and I often fall asleep while reading. The book I remember being so captivated by that I read through the night to finish it was Kite Runner. I consider that impactful because of what the book was about and possibly place more emphasis on the fact that it showed me I could enjoy reading.

16. Name one historical figure you would like to have coffee with.
Historical figure…does Audrey Hepburn count?

17. How do you like your coffee?
If it’s a really good cup of coffee I drink it black and rarely finish a full 12oz.

18. Your main fault.
My biggest fault might be my indecisiveness… I’m really bad at choosing favorites!

19. What is your most prized material possession?
A year ago I would have been able to answer this easily – I currently don’t feel this is a material possession I couldn’t part with because the memory that goes with that item has more value to me than the item itself.

20. Your biggest failure.
I fail every day as I work to get this organization off the ground, it’s that failure that informs what I do next.

21. What you learned from that failure?
To get up, release the frustration of that failure as needed and get ready to fail again

22. What is your greatest fear?
Right now I am not afraid.

23. Where will you be in 30 years?
Traveling, the list of places I want to see just keeps on growing!

24. Favorite thing to do on a Sunday?
Go for a walk, end up at a coffee shop and soak in that space while reading.

25. Best date spot?
To me, the person matters more than the place.

26. What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness means meeting my own needs while actively meeting the needs of others I care about (I’m currently taking a course on Non-Violent Communication, which has recently given me the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be happy in life)

27. Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram

28. Describe Philly in a Tweet.
A gritty foodie friendly city full of adventures and interesting people to meet along the way

29. Who should everyone follow on Instagram?
The @coffeetographer

30. Pats or Genos?
Pats

#30Under30PHL is a month-long series highlighting Philadelphia’s most ambitious women. Created in collaboration with Femme & Fortune and Alex Kacala.