Shaina Dennis has an enviable job, to say the least. The twenty-five year old is the marketing mind and voice behind the social media channels of Big Night Entertainment Group, the hospitality company whose properties include Boston hot spots like Red Lantern (where John Travolta recently took wife Kelly Preston for her birthday while filming in town), Gem, The Estate and Empire.
Shaina’s job isn’t the only thing that’s cool about her, though. She’s got great style, she’s smart, and she’s super-nice, too…naturally the kind of person we wanted to find out more about. So, we recently sat down with Shaina to pick her brain about the local restaurant scene, her favorite shopping spots, her go-to cocktail and more. Here’s what she had to say…
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT BIG NIGHT? HOW DID YOU END UP THERE?
I’ve been at Big Night a little over two years, now. They actually hired me directly out of college. I’m one of those LinkedIn success stories — I went to college in Maine and I knew I wanted to move to Boston after I graduated, so I started researching companies in travel and nightlife–and I came across Randy [Greenstein, an owner of BNEG]’s profile, so I messaged him…and the rest is sort of history.
AS THE MARKETING ASSOCIATE FOR THE COMPANY, WHAT DO YOU DO?
That’s such a hard question! It’s an array of different roles–we all wear a lot of hats here. My main focus is on social media for our four Boston properties, as well as the Big Night corporate account. But, I also work on everything from signage, promotional materials and menus for the restaurants, to coordinating celebrity DJ travel and hotel accommodations, to working with the PR team to coordinate press opportunities.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT WORKING AT BIG NIGHT? ANY JOB PERKS?
Big Night itself has a culture that isn’t corporate, which I like. It’s also great because there is a lot of accessibility to the owners, and the people who run the company, so I really feel like my voice can be heard. If I have an idea that I think is really cool, I have no problem going to the owners and running it by them. Nothing is too outrageous here in terms of brainstorming and coming up with new ideas, because even if the original thought doesn’t work out, it still gets the creativity flowing.
It’s also a really exciting place to work because it’s a young company, and they’ve had a lot of success very quickly. As for the job perks, the biggest one is having access to the best nightclubs and restaurants in Boston.
OUT OF ALL OF THE BIG NIGHT RESTAURANTS, WHICH ONE HAS YOUR FAVORITE MENU ITEM?
I have so many! But, I love sushi–I could live off of it–so I have to go with the crunchy roll at Red Lantern.
WHAT ABOUT COCKTAILS?
Definitely the Thai Bengal martini from Empire, on the rocks.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BOSTON RESTAURANT AND NIGHTLIFE SCENE IN GENERAL?
It’s intimate. It’s growing. But, I feel bad for Boston in a sense because it always gets downplayed and compared to bigger cities like New York and LA and Chicago and Miami. I would love to see Boston on that same level and getting the same respect as those cities. And Big Night is a big part of making that happen.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE CITY?
I live in the West End…it’s kind of between the Garden and the North End, and I love it. I moved there from Beacon Hill, and I like it because I can walk everywhere…which cuts down on my cardio time!
I LOVE YOUR OUTFIT. WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
In Boston I love Zara and H+M, those are my big two stores. Obviously if I could I would shop at Saks and The Tannery every day, which are two of my favorites, but I’ll mix pieces from there with great finds from Forever 21. It’s fun when people come up to me and they’re like “oh my god I love that where is it from?” And I get to say “Forever 21.” Another store that’s kind of new that I really like is No Rest for Bridgette on Newbury Street. They have different stuff than what you usually find in Boston.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Well, I guess I could say I love “mixing.” I like combining feminine pieces with more masculine ones, or wearing studs and spikes with something super-girly. I don’t really play by the rules, like “take one thing off before you leave the house,” or “no white after Labor Day.” I think personal style is all about being creative.
Photos by Andrew Wang for Lux & Concord.