We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Coughlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
The Joy Bus Diner is a 100% nonprofit restaurant helping to make our Valley a happier place, one meal at a time. The proceeds from the Joy Bus Diner go toward funding our charity, The Joy Bus. Our sole purpose is to relieve the daily struggles of homebound cancer patients with a fresh Chef Inspired meal and a friendly face. At the Joy Bus we are so lucky to have an amazing community that supports our mission every day. We have worked so hard to involve various members of the community in our events and day to day operations. We have so many regulars in the community that come together and volunteer with us, help spread the word about what we are trying to do, and help support us in any way that they can – big or small. The atmosphere that we have been able to create at the diner is so amazing and electric. As soon as you walk in or attend any of our events there is a rad energy that puts a smile on everyone’s face and gets people so stoked to be a part of what we are doing. We have also been able to create a network of local businesses and restaurants that have come together to do some awesome things. We have chefs from all over that come to help with our patient meals, restaurant partners that we have established amazing relationships with, and have been able to connect with local businesses and farms valley wide. I think we have been able do something awesome here and really bring the community together in a fantastic way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Currently, I am the Director at the Joy Bus Diner and I absolutely love my job. I get to be involved in so many different aspects of the organization and am learning more and more every day. Getting to this point was not easy, but with the help of the community and the rest of the Joy Bus staff I have been so lucky because I have this unique and creative space to make the position what I want and continue to grow in so many ways. If I had to describe my brand or major role it would be to bring joy and happiness every day. The one thing that I am most proud of is working as hard as I can to put a smile on everyone’s face when they come to see us and to make each day a celebration. We are working with people in some of the hardest times of their lives so the least I can do is help make their time with us fun and help lift their spirits.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many amazing places to visit in town that I would love to take someone to when they come to visit. First and foremost we HAVE to have breakfast at The Joy Bus Diner. I might be a little biased, but there is honestly no better way to start out a day than with our biscuits and gravy or princess poppy seed pancakes. Side note – I love food, music, and art. I would take them downtown to look at all of the awesome murals and hit up some galeries. Definitely looking for all of the Lalo and JJ Horner murals that we can find because I am obsessed with them. We would find a show to watch at night at Valley Bar and spend some time listening to great music. Over the week some of the places that we would visit to eat would be FNB, Virtue, The Gladly, any one of the Bianco restaurants (they are all amazing), The Larder & The Delta, and Tracey Dempsey Originals for some yummy dessert creations, and Chula Seafood. We would go and play some pool at Little Woody’s and grab some drinks at Four Peaks Brewery to enjoy some of their Joy Bus RAD IPA, The Womack, or The Vig. During the day we can spend some time vibing by the pool at The Valley Ho and have some drinks. Maybe even head down to Cowtown to pick up some new shoes. Then finish off the week by finding out where DJ Kate Scratch Fever is spinning records.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would have to say that my boss/mentor/BFF/unicorn, Jennifer Caraway deserves a shout out more than anyone. Not only is she an amazing person with a huge heart, but she has an amazing ability to recognize strengths in others and help them grow into their best selves. I started out at The Joy Bus as a volunteer and never saw myself as anything more than that, but Jen saw potential in me that I didn’t see myself. She pushed me over the years to do things that made me uncomfortable and pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I have grown so much because of her. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am without her and I am very thankful for the part she has played in my life. We might drive each other a little crazy sometimes, but a little crazy is sometimes a good thing.