This month we catch up with Pika (Rosario) Fejeran as she shares the memories of her St. John’s family and the joys of self-employment.
Pika! Can you tell us how your name came about?
When my mom was pregnant, she could not get enough Kadun Pika, and was pondering my name during one of those meals, and she kept saying “I love Pika…Pika!, Pika! Her name will be Pika!” 😉
What did you do in the year following HS Graduation?
I moved to Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California…Go Trojans!!
Can you tell us about the career path you chose after College?
In college, I was accepted into an accelerated degree program, where I earned my BS of Public Policy, Management and Planning, and my Masters of Planning degrees concurrently, with only an extra year after my 4-year BS program. I used the degrees during my work as a planner/project manager for a Parsons Corporation in Pasadena, and used that experience to land me a job with DZSP21 as their Environmental Superintendent at Andersen AFB, here at home.
How did your interest in owning a restaurant come about?
Honestly, owning a restaurant had never crossed my mind, until it became my husband Lenny’s dream. In 2010, when Lenny and I moved back home, I had already been hired by DZSP21, so our family income was secure and Lenny could go about pursuing his dream of opening a restaurant. Lenny chased that dream and made it a reality 4 months later, when we opened Pika’s Cafe…right across from St. Johns! I have to tell you though, we had been preparing for restaurant ownership for the year before the move home – we had written out our business plan and already developed our mission. So when Lenny found our location, we just tweaked our concept and business plan. While he opened and managed Pika’s Cafe, I continued working with DZSP21. Then, in 2013, I made the tough decision to leave DZSP21 and work full-time with Lenny at the Cafe. By then, we had expanded Pika’s Cafe, and had grown to the point that Lenny wanted me to join him for the daily Pika’s Cafe grind. He not only needed me full-time for work, but also wanted to share the experience of self-employment with me.
What do you love most about your job?
Now that I am here at the Cafe, there are three things that I love the most about my job: the first is watching our Pika’s Cafe team in action delivering the best hospitality and food to our guests. They are like a strong, well-oiled, happy team; they work very hard and are so good at what they do. They really amaze me. The second thing that I love the most is working with my husband. His drive and passion for what he does is inspiring, and his business acumen is astounding (he did not go to college, or a culinary program). And finally, having the flexibility to be more present in my children’s lives (I bring my 5 month old to work with me!) and taking a more active role in the community, makes me love my job!!
What are your lasting impression of St. John’s School?
Aside from setting me up for college with all the skills and knowledge necessary to excel (I jokingly considered freshman year of college 13th grade because it was a seamless transition academic-wise), some of my favorite memories of St. John’s were on the volleyball court winning titles (Far East Champs! All-island champs!), and in the classrooms learning and developing relationships with my teachers and peers. I was in a very small class (only 21!), and many of us had grown up together, so we had become like family. And like any family, we had our disagreements and issues, but at the end of the day, we were in it together. Although I keep in touch with only a handful of classmates and teachers, everyone at St. Johns had, in one way or another, left a lasting impression or imprint on my life.
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