Community//

“Inspiring.” With Candice Georgiadis, Michelle Jimenez-Meggiato and Andrea Meggiato

What inspired us the most about the behavior of people during the pandemic was the sense of COMMUNITY and people coming together. Everyone was doing their best to help one another whether it was small businesses sharing resources with one another, customers purchasing gift cards or donating to support their favorite small businesses and those […]

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What inspired us the most about the behavior of people during the pandemic was the sense of COMMUNITY and people coming together. Everyone was doing their best to help one another whether it was small businesses sharing resources with one another, customers purchasing gift cards or donating to support their favorite small businesses and those who donated their time and resources to help people in their community.


I had the pleasure to interview Michelle Jimenez-Meggiato and Andrea Meggiato of The Pizza Cupcake.

The Pizza Cupcake is a family-owned, small business baked from a crazy fun idea by two ambitious kids with a dream. Michelle Jimenez-Meggiato is a first-generation Filipina-American and Andrea Meggiato is an Italian native. In November of 2018, they put their zest for ‘za into creating The Pizza Cupcake.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how and where you grew up?

Our shared love for pizza, family and New York City set the foundation for our relationship. We like to say that pizza is what brought us together since our first date was over pizza in New York City. We are both products of hard working immigrant families with humble beginnings. I came to New York City as a first-generation Filipina American who left the blue collar town of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania for college and haven’t looked back since. Andrea came to New York City as the only person in his entire family and extended network who left his native Italy and worked his way through the restaurant and luxury jewelry industries. We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to avail ourselves of the American dream — we started our family business, The Pizza Cupcake.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher has taught us how to handle stress during these trying times by cultivating Mindfulness through brief powerful meditation exercises. Like most people, we have been suffering from multiple stressors resulting from the global pandemic, the financial downturn, and the immediacy of the need for racial justice. We have found this book to keep us centered so that we can show up for our marriage, our community and ourselves.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

“Family First” — While there are twists and turns of life, we both learned early on that the only thing we can count on is family through every chapter of our lives. Our commitment is to always show up and make time for our marriage and our loved ones.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. You are currently leading a social impact organization that has stepped up during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to address?

The Pizza Cupcake is all about bringing people together through the love of delicious pizza. We wanted to bring joy and provide a sense of normalcy at a time that was so stressful for families in underserved communities and those serving on the frontlines.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a hero?

There are heroes all around us. They are the frontline workers who show up every day to serve the communities and cities that are suffering greatly from this pandemic. They are the families who are raising the next generation of leaders. They are the immigrants who are deemed essential workers who make sure we have food in our supermarkets. They are the majority low-wage workers who ensure that our groceries are stocked and our packages are delivered. Our heroes are ordinary people who aren’t seeking recognition, but show up for society each and every day.

In your opinion or experience, what are “3 characteristics of a hero? Please share a story or example for each.

Integrity — Our frontline workers keep their word to serve their communities despite the risks to themselves and their families, even though it’s not convenient.

Courageous — Immigrants who travel to this country for freedom and leave everything behind in hopes to create a prosperous life for themselves and their families.

Kindness — Children are kind to one another and have the purest heart. If we can see the world from a child’s heart we can create UNITY and EQUALITY.

If heroism is rooted in doing something difficult, scary, or even self-sacrificing, what do you think drives some people — ordinary people — to become heroes?

These ordinary people are doing what they need to do because of who they are as human beings. They serve without the need for recognition, but because of their commitment to their family and society.

What was the specific catalyst for you or your organization to take heroic action? At what point did you personally decide that heroic action needed to be taken?

New York City is where we fell in love. New York City is our home and where we built our business from the ground up. It was also the epicenter of the pandemic and we knew we needed to do something for our community. On March 27th, we launched our Support NYC initiative in response to two things: a group of nurses reached out to us asking if we were open for delivery and The Lower Eastside Girls Club asked for food donations to feed the families in their community. With the support of our customers we were able to donate Pizza Cupcakes to our healthcare heroes and the families of the Lower Eastside Girls Club. We wanted to share love, one bite at a time, even with social distancing. This is what the Pizza Cupcake is all about — bringing people together

Who are your heroes, or who do you see as heroes today?

Our heroes are our parents, ordinary people from humble beginnings, who exemplify courage, kindness and integrity.

Let’s talk a bit about what is happening in the world today. What specifically frightened or frightens you most about the pandemic?

There’s a saying that “impermanence is permanent”. This quote played out for us in the pandemic and showed us that our lives and everyone’s lives changed in an instant. What frightens us about the pandemic is how quickly our entire way of life changed and the financial hardships our country is experiencing as a result of COVID-19.

Despite that, what gives you hope for the future? Can you explain?

We see the youth and communities rallying together to help and support each other to rebuild after the mass devastation. We see the changes they are advocating for such as social justice and racial equality. We are inspired by the kindness of communities coming together because we believe that we are stronger together.

What has inspired you the most about the behavior of people during the pandemic, and what behaviors do you find most disappointing?

What inspired us the most about the behavior of people during the pandemic was the sense of COMMUNITY and people coming together. Everyone was doing their best to help one another whether it was small businesses sharing resources with one another, customers purchasing gift cards or donating to support their favorite small businesses and those who donated their time and resources to help people in their community.

Has this crisis caused you to reassess your view of the world or of society? We would love to hear what you mean.

We are divided as a country and we would love to see more of our youth, our future leaders, bringing us together and creating racial equality in our society.

What permanent societal changes would you like to see come out of this crisis?

With recent events from the global pandemic to the recent deaths and protests for Black Lives Matter, our society needs to learn from history and do better. We would like to see change towards racial equality and social justice.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

We must continue to pay it forward, every little bit counts and we all need to do our part for our planet and community.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow us on social and sign up for our newsletter on the www.thepizzacupcake.com

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/thepizzacupcake/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thepizzacupcake

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