Aspiring to inspire When Liz Lindsay graduated in 2007, she was certified to teach art from kindergarten through high school. Today she’s teaching a different sort of art than she anticipated – the traditional Korean martial art Tang Soo Do. Liz started training in Tang Soo Do before she was six, absorbing not only its physical techniques but also the personal discipline and respect that’s central to the martial art. Tang Soo Do is a Korean “karate” taught by way of Moo Duk Kwan, which translates roughly as “military virtue school.” It teaches virtues like responsibility, sincerity and justice in strict, disciplined classes involving kicking, punching, knee strikes, elbow strikes, joint locking, and sweeping take downs. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always fun.
Liquid Artistry Christina Maffei has held key management positions at many world-class hotels and restaurants since graduating from Mercyhurst in 2001, but it’s her unique sideline that’s drawn the most attention. An award-winning mixologist, she created “The World’s Best Mai Tai” at the Bacardi World Mai Tai Competition in Kona, Hawaii, in 2011. She describes her philosophy of cocktail making as “Liquid Artistry” and says she combines the ideas of a bar chef and the ingredients of a liquid kitchen to create her tantalizing sensations. She also adds market-fresh ingredients, homemade components such as infusions and herbal and spice-flavored syrups, and fresh squeezed juices and purees to create her signature drinks.
“Little did I know at the time that the instructor’s job wasn’t to teach me to have fun or even to kick and punch, but to make me into a better, more well-rounded person,” Liz explains. She quit lessons at 16 and only realized years later how much she missed them. “That instructor cared enough to help me and so many others learn right from wrong, what it was to earn something, how it felt to lose and then practice harder to succeed, how to respect everyone, how to protect myself, how to push myself, and what it meant to give yourself to the development of others,” she says. She returned to training and, in 2008, was offered her own school by Grand Master C.S. Kim. Enrollment at her school in Irwin, Pa., has grown from 15 at the start to 100 now, with ages ranging from 4 to 60 and abilities from those with physical and mental disabilities to gifted athletes. She expects to produce her first black belts this year. As a competitor, she’s brought home 10 national and world championships. The second female to win a world championship in individual forms, she was the first to do it twice. In October, she earned her master’s belt and the title Master Lindsay (Sa Bom Nim Lindsay). Lindsay says some people suggest she wasted her education. She replies vehemently, “No, I use it every day! There are many, many times I look back proud that I had good roots and a well-rounded education. I think people underestimate having a good education.” She knows some of her students probably feel like she did as a teen – that all she does is yell at them. “The gift is knowing that someday they will get it. Someday, maybe they will appreciate those who taught before them. Someday, they will aspire to inspire too!” 29
Fresh out of Mercyhurst, Maffei headed to Chicago, working at Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chef Charlie Trotter’s restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and Fairmont Hotel Chicago. For the past five years she’s been a part of the Trump Hotel Collection. She was on the opening teams for both Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk. In 2011, Maffei joined the task force to open the newest Trump addition in Panama City, Panama, and in spring 2012 she headed to Miami where Trump had acquired the Doral Golf Resort & Spa. Now Maffei has moved back to Oahu to serve as Director of Food and Beverage Outlets for the 3,600-room Hilton Hawaiian Village. Maffei is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, a member of the U.S. Bartenders Guild and a former member of the Chaine de Rotisseurs, Honolulu Chapter.
Mercyhurst Spring magazine