Authority Magazine recently interviewed our Real Vegas Magazine CEO & Publisher, Candice Wiener and although she’s not used to being on the receiving end of these interviews, we wanted to share for our local readers.
An Interview With Pirie Jones Grossman
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born and raised in Las Vegas. My mother was a single mom until she met my step-father while she was working 2 jobs to make ends meet. They married a couple years later and she then was a stay-at-home mom and my father was a CEO of a major linen corporation that services all the hotels and casinos and more in Las Vegas. In my childhood, my grandma Blondie was my world and we had a very large extended family that I cherished spending time with. My grandfather on my dad’s side was also quite an inspiration to me. He legally represented Bugsy Siegel, Howard Hughes, Dean Martin, Redd Foxx, Kirk Kerkorian and many others during the mob era in Las Vegas and I literally soaked up the wealth of information that he would so generously share with our family and reviled in learning about the Las Vegas mob history as well as the notable Vegas families who helped pioneer and literally paved the path for what Vegas is today. I was very maternal and protective at a young age and always had an uncanny love for babies, children and animals. I learned a lot of valuable life lessons early on and was very eager, ambitious and kind natured seeking everything that was good in the world and extremely inquisitive, which I believe gave me a lot of advantages in life.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My Grandfather used to tell me “Knowledge is Power” when I was a little girl. I learned at a very young age that I wanted to know a little or a lot about everything in life and soak up any and all information I could ascertain, which helped me become a sedulous student with a vast array of knowledge in many different areas. My Grandmother used to always tell me “Patience is a Virtue,” and knowing how devout and virtuous she was, I learned at a young age to be patient and that things happen when they are meant to, and that timing is everything. Both of these things have been helpful and relevant in both my personal and professional life and have served me well.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Resilience. – Being a woman in the media sector has had its fair share of challenges. From working with male bosses that were domineering, misogynistic and downright cut throat, I learned that being resilient in my career was the only way to be able to achieve success and that others attempting to knock you down was unfortunately inevitable, but how you got back on your feet and that both the attitude and composure you maintained were what others would remember most about you. I do remember a seasoned veteran Publisher of a National Magazine, telling me that the student had far surpassed the teacher.
Faith. – Faith is probably the utmost important quality to possess when you want to achieve success. There were many, many times in my professional career where I was told no. 1 Publisher told me my dream vision of a local Las Vegas magazine wasn’t realistic or attainable. I went on to launch my conceptualization under his corporate umbrella and am proud to say that 1 specific magazine within his publishing house netted him more money than he had ever made from multiple magazines in his entire life. Although I didn’t get a proper thank you for my blood, sweat, tears and years of loyalty and hard work, I was proud of what I achieved and accomplished for him, and myself. Without faith, that would have been a next to impossible feat.
Humility. – Humility is one of my favorites. I’ve seen many people in my field that have achieved a large level of success, only to watch their increased profits steal, kill and destroy their kindness and change them into something ugly that no quality individual with class would ever want to associate themselves with. Ego can be a very deplorable thing that I have personally witnessed completely destroy people professionally and personally. I’ve first hand seen those who refused to remain humble, ethical, honest and kind, stripped from their families and friends not wanting anything whatsoever to do with them because of their calamitous and destructive nature and then that same individual turn around and attempt to point the finger and place blame on everyone else for their very own actions. I’ve watched people go morally bankrupt. Being humble when you have next to nothing is easy, but staying humble when you have achieved everything you’ve ever dreamt of and more is an honorable notion that deserves the utmost respect.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
Absolutely, it’s my honor and pleasure. I’ve worked hard my entire life. My mother had 8 children and being one of the oldest, it was always expected that I would drop anything to help the younger kids and the entire family unit as a whole. Also, that was much more intensified when my mother became very ill when I was around 9 years old. I was depended on to wake up in the middle of the night to feed and change the baby and then wake up for school and achieve really good grades and maintain above board progress in the “gifted and talented” educational school program I was a part of, in addition to my regular school work. When we came home from school, there were always a ton of chores to do before homework since our father was raised military style, there was an unreasonable expectation for our family home to always be spotless… And I mean, SPOTLESS. I was a care taker and nanny for many years for my 3 youngest siblings. As a young single mother of 2 girls, this gave me the ability to bring them with me when I went to work and not have to place them in the care of others while I earned money to support and care for them and provide them a nice lifestyle. I entered into the world of media when both of my daughters were full time in school and boy did it have its ups and downs. I worked for practically peanuts and had huge expectations of me at the age of about 24 and forward. I was subject to not so savory work conditions, to say the least. But I took it with a grain of salt, granted the experience I was gaining that I truly felt college life wouldn’t hold up a candle to, so I was grateful for the peanuts I was given and the experience I was gaining. Something no one could ever take away from me. I continued on this path until I was worn, tired and after selling my 1st home and the untimely death of my husband, I truly had a “Carrie” in Sex in the City moment. I went back to my dad who raised me, the CEO and financier and told him I didn’t want anything; but his avid advice on how to learn and earn some real money. He was a silent investor in a large nightclub giant and told me to show up to the office the following Monday at 10am, and therein was the beginning of my bartending career. I was hired to bartend at Coyote Ugly on the Las Vegas Strip. Although as a young mother of 2, I wasn’t willing to get up on the bar, bare midriff in an effort to entertain tourists, I had a short stint and was completely content with my income, tips and culinary healthcare benefits I could provide for my daughters, who were and still are my entire world! I was re-approached by him to come and help open his newest business endeavors; Trader Vic’s fine dining restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip, the upstairs ultra-lounge and Halo Bar, the circle bar inside Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood. I was up for the challenge. I made some of the most meaningful, lifelong relationships there and after another short 2-year stint, they sold both venues and I was once again looking for work and struggling to decipher exactly what I wanted to do. I eventually ended up going back to work in media with a local women’s publication & ended up overseeing all of the special event operations for that publication. I enjoyed working with that strong female publisher, but that ended abruptly when she and her then husband got a divorce & she took that publication that she had built in the divorce. I 100% would have left with her; however, the interesting caveat was the fact that her now ex-husband was my biological father that I didn’t know for 20 years & he demanded my loyalty and intuitiveness to help him rebuild and launch something to replace the revenue of his ex-wives publication that was also under his umbrella until their divorce.
When my bio dad “who likely never earned that term” approached me and told me he wanted me to create and publish another “niche” parenting magazine, because I was “just a mom”, I was insulted and although I entertained the idea, ultimately, I decided I wouldn’t want to live in that space since my children were practically grown and that I had bigger aspirations. He continued on, “well then, what do you want to publish, what’s your passion?” And that was the 1st time I pondered that question. After some long hard thought, I came back telling him that I wanted to publish a local centered Vegas magazine. He replied with “absolutely not, it can’t be done and Las Vegas is already saturated with local Vegas magazines.” I persisted as I knew it could be done differently and fulfill a void in the current marketplace. Although it took him some time to both ingest my suggestion, he ultimately said yes, and tasked me out to working on all of the conceptualization, business plan, etc. from 2011-2013. I was up for the task at hand and rose to the occasion! With a rekindled passion full of ambiguity and excitement, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work! My girlfriends would continuously tell me that the work I was doing during our comrade time would still be there in the morning. My reply was always a matter-of-fact statement, “that I would do what I had to do so I could one day do what I want to do.” Although they didn’t understand, I saw the bigger picture & I simply went to work!
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
After the launch of my 1st “baby” and Vegas publication, I immediately felt a sense of ego & greed envelope the owner who said it couldn’t be done and suddenly I found myself training my replacement. I showed her everything I knew to help set her up for success; knowing the writing was already written on the proverbial wall. I was eventually nixed out of my own intellectual property and brainchild, and left with emptiness and sadness. It was a close friend who brought my attention back to my initial conceptualization after me being gone a year+. My friend advised me that it was on the decline and being defiled and ran into the ground. I then contacted them and questioned the intention and was asked to come back in for a potential position. I did just that and was hired as publisher and head of sales to turn the dwindling demise of the publication I birthed back to life and I did just that. I came back from 2015-2018 and not only quadrupled sales, but legitimized the integrity of the entire operation. It wasn’t long after the initial success (which really wasn’t a ton of money), that the owner started to push me out of what I built once again. The owner purchased a $50k Bentley on a lavish vacation to Florida & then came back to purchase a $1mil home off the earnings of what I had built. I was happy and proud of that, feeling that since he was my biological dad, I was seemingly his retirement plan.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
Then came the indiscretions with so many females. From 2017-2018 I struggles big time with wanting to believe that my biological father was not capable of these things he was being accused of and continued to support him and stand by him, but inside I was wrestling within my own ethics and self. Ironically enough, the last article I wrote as Publisher of that magazine was titled, “But Seriously, #METOO. As any smart woman would do, I hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. In June of 2018, a nasty legal implication came across my desk regarding the owner and this time, I couldn’t deny what I was reading and decided to confront him on the allegation. I was met with anger, haste and outrage for simply bringing the matter to his attention. Suddenly, I was once again being pushed out of what I created and built. I tried to reason with him in an effort to help protect his assets, but was ultimately fired for standing up for what is right and speaking the truth. Fortunately for me, I had seen the writing on the wall years prior and I launched my own LLC in 2017. I left gracefully, with him expecting to cut me off once again and not compensate me for what I was owed. I went to the Labor Board this time and although they were unable to do much of anything, I ended up getting my final pay and agreed to walk away silently once again, after being told that if I didn’t want a personal relationship with my biological father, (which I told him based on his mistreatment of so many other women and myself, that I in fact did not) then I could no longer work for him professionally. So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on the official launch of Real Vegas Magazine. From that point, it has been a challenging but rewarding 3+ years to date and I couldn’t have foreseen the inevitable attacks and smear campaigns he would launch of me and my loved ones, including my boyfriend and children, but mainly targeting me both attempting to assassinate my personal and professional character with a slew of lies, defamation, slander and libel. I withstood those negative antics and chose to keep my head high and rise above it, although it was gut-wrenching the fact that a father could so maliciously attack his own child, I continued to succeed with an incredible, successful launch of the inaugural issue of Real Vegas Magazine and our 1st Real Vegas Strong event, in memory of the tragic 10.1 incident, in which we had about 1,000 in attendance, and my 2nd professional baby and dream was birthed.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
This time around, I was self-funded, stronger than ever and driven to continue to build something that couldn’t be stripped from me ever again. This time there would be no fake carrot on a stick that I was chasing and since I learned from working with this owner everything not to do when running a publication over the past 15+ years, I was able to build and lead my company with honest, integrity and focus on what was real! Also, our creative freedom and outlets now had no glass ceiling and this gave me the ability to run the company in the positive direction that I wanted it to go in.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
This is our 3rd year and we are doing fantastic at this juncture and are full of gratitude and humility for the opportunity to continue doing what we love, which is featuring local leaders and continue to meet and connect with great people and businesses in the Las Vegas community. We were given the exclusive to do a photo shoot with the 1st responders of the 10.1 tragedy, connect deeper with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and many other notable Las Vegas public figures. Interviewing Las Vegas’ longest running headliner who is also known as Queen of the Las Vegas Strip was an enjoyable opportunity. Another up close and personal interview we had with celebrated Celebrity Photographer, Jerry Metellus was fantastic, and countless others we have had the opportunity of getting to know more about. There are so many incredible success stories and wonderful locals whom we’ve personally had the pleasure of connecting with.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Wow, far too many to list here. From lifelong friends, mentors, loved ones, my large family, former advertisers/friends, contributing writers, contributing photographers, our team of graphic artists, advertising representatives, our Marketing Director who happens to be my older sister, Chief Publicist, Public Relations Professionals… The list goes on and on. There are 4 people in particular that have helped impact me to make the move that I so longed for to make my dream a reality. 1 is Michael Rogers. I had the pleasure of working with Michael at previous publications and one day he saw my frustration and he said to me, “One day you are going to have your own magazine, and I am going to be your photographer.” It was a few short months later that came to fruition and the launch of Real Vegas happened and next thing you know, we both rolled up our sleeves and got to work! After shooting the 10.1 first responders at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, to a couple other shoots and then to our shoot with at the time, Vegas Golden Knights defender, Ryan Reaves, we knew we were both destined to do some incredible things together, but it wasn’t until the subsequent issue when we were in Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s office shooting and interviewing her, when Michael said, “Is this all really happening?” And I replied, yes, with a huge smile ear to ear and told him, “Get used to it, it’s only the beginning!” And we’ve been on this incredible journey ever since. 2nd person I am thankful to have had the opportunity and work with is Jeffery Rogers of BrainStorm Success Training, is an incredible business coach that helped open my eyes to not be oblivious to the things that were holding me back, including former boss and magazine. His training truly was invaluable and I not only continue to implement some of the things he taught me previously today, but I also appreciate the fact that he truly helped me to grow and see things from a broader perspective. 3rd person would be my mother, Marsha Wiener. She positively encouraged me all the way through, knowing what most others didn’t of the blood, sweat, pain and tears to see this come full circle and although she was also aware of the obscene and vicious things that I was being subjected to at the hands of my biological father and former employee, she urged me to remain forgiving and to continue to pray for him as she said many times, “he is really going to need it after all the damage and destruction he has done.” She helped keep me positive and listened to me when I really needed to vent and has always been a devout constant in my life. 4th and last, but certainly not least, my best friend and partner in life, Travis Heinrich. He saw the roughest of the rough patches and was also subject to a lot of undeserving drama, lies and much more, but he withstood the storm with me under conditions I didn’t know if we’d make it through together in all of this and as the saying goes: if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best. And some days we could hardly handle each other and the sheer destruction that was being flung our way, but we both stood firm and overcame together and ultimately, all that we went through really strengthened our already strong bond. At the end of the day, we both knew we had one another!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Interestingly enough, I believe I have covered the majority of the unbelievable challenges I had to overcome, but when I think of the word interesting, something personal comes to mind. My daughter returned from college out of state just as I was embarking on the launch of Real Vegas Magazine, we helped her get settled back into Las Vegas and were so glad to have her back home! Almost a year went by after she returned home to Las Vegas and she found out she was pregnant and going to have a baby. She didn’t know how to tell me as I always encouraged her to get situated in her career before having children and pursue her law degree that she so desired since she was very young. Therefore, she didn’t tell me right away. I actually found out while meeting my younger daughter’s boyfriend’s mother (at the time) for the 1st time. We were sitting on my patio in our backyard and she asked me, “So how is Bailey feeling with the morning sickness and all that?” I was in shock! I had no idea… I immediately ran up to my room and was crying in shock thinking to myself that I didn’t want her to have to struggle much as I had as a young mother and how I wished her to be so much more stabilized, set up and secure. I realized quickly that everything happens for a reason and was disappointed in my initial reaction and was obviously overwhelmed with joy for her at the same time, being a little scared as I know all too quickly how difficult it can be being a young single mom and just really hoped and prayed that she would have adequate support. And I vowed to be a part of her entire support system. Since the granddaughter, Eden’s arrival on Christmas Eve, 2019, we have all been so blessed and thankful for this brand-new part of our lives in our family unity. Now, I’ve experienced juggling being a grandma and entrepreneur, running the magazine with a little extra love of her wanting to jump in my lap at my desk to interrupt me publishing for a quick couple of songs and bringing her to lunch meetings and I can’t imagine life with her not being the most interesting and beautiful piece of this new puzzle and chapter!
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
I did struggle with confidence to an extent, mostly due to abuse I sustained as a young child, and unfortunately that path continued with abusive men in relationships as I got older who would say some of the most gut-wrenching, horrific and ruthless things out of spite to me. But I often looked inward and constantly took inventory and usually once the initial hurt wore off, I realized it really wasn’t about me. It was typically more indicative about themselves and their issues being projected onto me. After my husband passed away, it was very difficult to date again and that took a long time. Even when I tried to get back into dating and find love again, I wasn’t very good at it. I joined an online narcissistic abuse recovery group and that was very helpful. I am also very fortunate to have a very loving and supporting family on my maternal side that has told me how loved and special I am since I was little, so I really didn’t struggle too much here (despite the toxic amount of abuse I experienced) and mainly, I think that was also attributed to my faith in God and constant positive affirmations that I would pray for and receive. Also, in my heart of hearts, I know that I am a great person and don’t even have the capacity to hate others who have harmed me, but instead wish them well from the bottom of my heart and continue to pray for them as well.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
The majority of my support system was already in place, so I was very fortunate. I did have my former employer doing everything within his power to take my support away from me and strip me of that support system, but he wasn’t successful. Whom he was able to turn against me weren’t true friends from the beginning and were very minimal. Thankfully, I have a pretty impenetrable support system so I am very appreciative of that. And they’re the real ones that are genuine and trustworthy.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
Oh, I had already long been out of my comfort zone. It’s almost as if I was in training for my 2nd chapter of my life the 3 years previous to launching my own business. I was pushed and pushed until the point I felt so confident that I could do anything I set my mind to and with the power of intention, I was well on my way to embracing change to create the career I wanted to pursue!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Being that I worked in my respective field for 15+ years and as I mentioned earlier, I learned everything about what not to do in print publications and the media sector, I would say most of those things I had already learned and been equipped with; therefore, I think I could better share 5 things I would tell someone before they start their own organization and why.
- Be pure and true about your intention and establish your “why”. What are you looking to achieve? Who would your organization help? Getting very clear about your intent facilitates things to naturally come together and helps you as a leader become very hyper focused on creating your end result.
- Establish what is your passion purpose? As Henry Ford said, “a business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. It’s stated that a company devoted to their clients and service will have only 1 problem, which is embarrassingly large profits. Love what you do before you start, otherwise, you won’t have the sturdy foundation you will need to rely on.
- Everyone needs these 3 things in life and in business. A great CPA or bookkeeper, an intelligent and smart attorney and an ethical and honest automobile mechanic. I was very fortunate to have all 3. I strongly suggest interviewing and having a strong vetting process when determining who your 3 will be.
- Streamline and organize things as you go. Develop, create and implement procedures and protocols the 1st time you do any new task for your business. Once you have a systematic manual to reference, it will save you countless hours from going over the same thing time and time again and eliminate counter-productiveness that can be very costly to your bottom line. Have your standard and keep your employees, independent contractors, vendors, etc. accountable to operate at and/or above your standards. This helps keep the continuity of your brand and everyone on the same page within your organization.
- Be very selective with whom you trust and hire within your organization. I would say be very intentional about whom you allow into your inner circle of your organization and take longer to hire if you need be, in order to find the right fit. Companies spend millions and millions with turn-over and constantly having to fire and rehire. Treat your organization like you would your family and only the loyal and trustworthy ones can stay. Toxicity has to go or it will kill your organization from the inside out.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
For the past 20+ years, I’ve felt guided and compelled to start a non-profit organization to help abused and neglected children. I launched a group on Facebook years ago, called Mothers Against Child Abuse. I posted and shared some things I thought would be helpful but the page basically sat dormant for many years and then not too long ago, somehow, I managed to stumble upon the inbox of that page only to discover that there were tons and tons of messages from mothers and fathers alike asking for help. I looked up and said, “God, I am picking up what you are putting down and I have faith that you will equip me with an army of angels to help bring this organization to fruition.” Since then, I’ve spoken with countless individuals whether to attempt to provide local resources in their regions or simply for them to share and vent in a safe place. I look forward to putting effort and energy behind this to help being wide spread awareness to a tabu topic that most people don’t want to discuss. I believe we will do major things and if we can save even 1 child from an abusive situation, it will be well worth it. But I have aspirations that we can do tremendous things and make strides beyond what I can imagine right now within this organization.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
There are so many incredibly fascinating people that I would love the opportunity to meet; however, this one took me a little bit. I really wanted to dig deep to ask myself who I would really love to meet in person and the person that kept coming to mind is Adele. Being an avid lover of music and writing, including song writing and a self-proclaimed vocalist, I absolutely love her strong and powerful, yet soulful and sultry voice. Her real name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins and her falsetto is perfection and piercing. The fact that she is a singer & songwriter also is very appealing to me. Her lyrics speak to my soul and I have no doubt in my mind that we’ve been through and impacted by similar situations in our lives. I can also relate to her fear of the stage and performing. She’s a fantastic talent and her lyrics speak directly to my heart and I can completely feel her energy and positive vibe through her amazingly gifted voice.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Likewise, thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview and your interest in our brand and myself!