Five years ago, I was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.

I worked so much — we had just done a remodel of Cafeteria [Pisone is partner in the Cafeteria Group and the reopened Empire Diner in New York]. It was very stressful and a lot of work. Right after, I went away on a trip for three weeks and came home not feeling well. That was when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

I had surgery and chemo for eight months. Around that time was when I had heard about the Empire Diner becoming available. But I also knew it wasn’t the time for us to go after it. 

Time goes by and I get healthy. I thought it was potentially time to do something else. 

And then I heard Empire wasn’t doing well. I knew it was time for us to go after it. [Pisone and partners reopened the Empire Diner in spring 2017.] 

My reset was realizing that you have to work and create and do stuff that you love, but not at a detriment, where you don’t sleep and where you’re too stressed. You can’t force it — progress and growth have to be organic.