Rosemarie Falsetta joined LaFleur in 2019 as a project coordinator. An avid organizer and list-lover, her mission is to bring order to chaos and help the LaFleur team turn ideas into concrete projects with timelines and structures. A native of Lansing, Michigan, and a graduate of Hope College in Holland, she spent time as a political intern in Washington D.C. before launching her career in project management.
We caught up with Rosemarie to talk about how she discovered her passion for project management, her upbringing as the child of a chef, and her uneasy relationship with the great outdoors, among other topics.
LaFleur: Tell me about how you came to LaFleur.
Rosemarie Falsetta: I was job-searching before I graduated college, and I saw an opening and applied. Unfortunately, by the time I applied, the position had already been filled. But then a year later, I just replied to the rejection email and asked if I could interview again, and it turned out that was the right time.
LF: Very cool. It pays to be persistent.
LF: So, what did you end up doing during that year?
RF: I worked at a furniture company. I learned a lot about chairs and tables.
LF: What’s something you learned about chairs and tables?
RF: The type of wood affects the color of it, the edges, the style, everything. That, and all types of institutions have different go-to styles — hotels, quick-serve restaurants, and so on.
LF: What about employee discounts? Did you come away with any good furniture pieces?
RF: They did give a steep employee discount, but I didn’t get to buy anything.
LF: Yeah, I guess it’s hard to take advantage of even steep discounts on premium furniture when you’re just out of college.
LF: What did you study in college? Did you know you wanted to be something like a project or account manager?
RF: I didn’t. I knew that I liked organizing, but I was a double major in communications and political science, so I thought I was going to work in politics. I even did a semester in Washington, D.C. and decided afterward that it wasn’t for me. It was fun, though, and it taught me a lot.
LF: That’s cool. Oftentimes, it’s just as valuable to learn what you don’t want to do as what you do.
RF: Most definitely.
LF: So how did you end up getting into project management and developing that skill set?
RF: One of my mentors at Hope College, when I first started job searching, asked me, “Have you ever thought about project coordination and project management?” I hadn’t at that point, and I just thought I would go into public relations. I wanted to be a press secretary for a politician. When I told her all of my interests and things like that, she suggested project management. I looked into it and liked the sound of it, so I just went for it.
LF: What was it that you liked about it?
RF: I like seeing a project come together, seeing the end goal, and then figuring out how to get there. It’s kind of like a puzzle.
LF: Is that kind of thinking something you’ve always been into? Puzzle-solving and things like that?
RF: Yeah. I think it’s more about seeing the end product that motivates me — figuring out exactly what needs to happen, timelines, deadlines — I love all of that.
LF: So if you love organizing, do you enjoy the Marie Kondo sort of philosophy? She’s become a star based on organizing, which is unusual.
RF: It’s definitely interesting to me. It seems a little materialistic, with basing everything around how items spark joy. I had never thought of that before. I more so organize to have a clean aesthetic. I don’t organize based on the joy concept, personally.
LF: When you’re not at work, what kinds of things do you like to do?
RF: I spend a lot of time cooking and baking. I love the art of creating things, and with cooking and baking, it’s so easy to attain that.
LF: Definitely. I only started cooking a few years ago, and it’s a gratifying thing to take up because you can make great dishes pretty quickly. It’s not like taking up an instrument or something, where you have to practice for years before you can do anything useful.
RF: Exactly. As long as you can follow a recipe, you’re all set.
LF: See, but the problem I have is that I’m a little too slavish to recipes. I’m not very confident at improvising in the kitchen, and I’m always interested when I see people who can do that.
RF: Right. I know what you mean. Before I start, I always have to lay out everything in its exact measurements, order. I’m not good at going off the book either.
LF: Have you been cooking all your life?
RF: Well, my dad is a chef, and he owns a family restaurant. So I grew up watching him cook, and he’s incredible at throwing things together and turning them into a masterpiece. Like, one time, we went out and I had a dish called Bang Bang Shrimp that I loved, and he tasted it and then went home and just perfectly recreated it. That stuff boggles my mind.
LF: What kind of restaurant does he own?
RF: It’s an Italian restaurant in Lansing, [Michigan,] and it’s called Falsetta’s Casa Nova. It started in 1951, and my grandpa started it before my dad and aunt took over.
LF: Did you ever work there?
RF: On and off during high school. I worked as a hostess, busser, or whatever they needed.
LF: Did you ever think about becoming a chef yourself?
RF: No. There was never any pressure towards that, and I never thought about it. But I’m glad I picked it up as a hobby, and it’s something I do now whenever I have free time. It’s so stress-relieving just to get in the kitchen and cook.
LF: What are some of your favorite dishes or cuisines to play with in the kitchen?
RF: I love cooking with seafood — salmon, shrimp, scallops, anything like that. Last night I made a honey-garlic steak recipe, and it was my favorite thing I’ve made.
LF: So, I’m curious about — I guessed that you were Italian because of your last name, but it’s such a distinctive last name because it sounds like the singing term falsetto. Do you know if you come from a family of singers or anything like that?
RF: Not that I know of. Actually, my grandpa when he emigrated from Italy and arrived here, he changed the family name from Falsetto to Falsetta to sound more American.
LF: Hm. Falsetta and Falsetto both sound the same amount of Italian to me, which is very Italian.
RF: Yeah, I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.
LF: Besides cooking and baking, what other kinds of things interest you?
RF: Nothing outdoors. I’m going on a camping trip this summer, but I’m not staying in a tent.
LF: I’m with you on that. I’m more into the glamping lifestyle. Rustic stuff isn’t my thing.
RF: What else do you do with your time?
LF: Mostly just hanging with my friends, watching Michigan State football and basketball. I went to Hope College, but being from Lansing, I grew up as a Spartan fan. Going to those games is one of my favorite parts of fall and winter.
LF: Very cool. I went to Michigan State, and so did both of my parents. Go green.
RF: Go white.