|The Communal team is a collection of great people who enjoy working, slurping, sniffing, eating, selling, talking and playing croquet in equal measure.
Melissa Saunders General Manager
Croquet Name: Little Ripper
As General Manager and all around chieftan, Melissa Monti Saunders applies the full spectrum of her obssessive complusive nature and former & current lawyerliness to every minute aspect of our activities. You may think you’re getting away with something, but your not, and it will be presented to you in writing at some point. This isn’t a diss, though - I’m just saying that Melissa is a t crosser and i dotter extroadinaire. She also happens to be a careful planner, future worrier, super marathoner, epicurean explorer, arch cook, and bad to the bone wine savant who holds a WSET Diploma (and who is currently pursuing the Master of Wine accreditation. This married Brooklynite (Clinton Hill) has in the past worked as a lawyer for abused women and continues to be an advocate for strong women in all of life’s roles. She and her husband Dan have operated a boutique wine importing business for several years focusing on high end, limited production wines from New Zealand - Otto’s Constant Dream is the natural solution to limitations of solely being an importer. OCD lets Melissa use all of her talents from varietal development to distribution to education. No stranger to the greatest vineyards from Napa to Burgundy, Melissa has also been the East Coast Account Manager for Chateau Montelena - a groundbreaking California winery. You can find Melissa and the rest of us in Prospect Park often on nice weekends playing cutthroat croquet - Melissa’s the one on her Blackberry.
Chris Antista Creative Director
Croquet Name: The Course Whisperer
Mr. Creative Director to you, Obama. When not schooling the president in pick-up basketball games at the Bedford Stuyvesant Y, Chris Antista is busy fermenting secret ingredients in 50 gallon plastic drums (for flavor) to make his famous Bed Stuy Deadeye Malt Beverage in his Brownstone basement. Prior to being the mouse-jockey and idea machine for Otto, Chris was the chief concept maven and founding partner of the famous Lansky Lounge on the Lower East Side and the hot dog institution, Crif Dogs in the East Village. Having been an idea guy for a long time, Chris gets to let his dreams run wild while making Otto do all of his dirty work for him: muse and fall guy all in one. If Chris offends you sometimes, he’ll just tell you it’s Otto and he’s drunk and he can’t help it. Don’t believe him. He’s lying. He’s just trying to push your buttons so you’ll react. In Chris’ creative world the biggest failure is no reaction at all. Down with the ‘whatever’ generation! Viva love! Viva Hate!
Dan Saunders Finance
Croquet Name: Mr. Through and Screw
Do not for one second let the infallible civility and those colorfully patterned dress shirts fool you - Daniel Saunders will bite off your nose, eat it and then say in his (probably fake) New Zealand accent, “what happened to your nose mate?” Don’t answer, it’s a setup for an even crueler joke and you should probably head to a hospital. It’s that kind of ruthlessness that lets him crunch numbers so emotionlessly. In that stoic atmosphere thrives some of the most creative business modeling the world has ever seen. Dan’s spreadsheets are pure numbers porn, if that’s your thing, and his business plans are like post and rail fencing: classically beautiful boundaries in which thoroughbreds whinny and trot like the rip-snorting ass-kickers that they are while paradoxically enjoying their confines. It’s a delicate art that Dan excels at time and time again. It’s because you have to mind your nose while in his presence. You’ve been warned. When not toiling for Communal Brands and Otto, Dan flexes his MBA as a Partner at PIPC, Inc. A consulting firm specializing in the management and delivery of humungus (big), hairy (complex) programs and projects around the world.
Kat Kelly Office Manager
Kat Kelly joined the team in early 2011 and immediately things became brighter –
particularly because of her neon pink desktop wallpaper. From her days as a top-scoring
jammer on the Yazzoo City Rllrgrlz (spelled correctly) Kat always knows when an
opportunity to score is forthcoming – prescience is an indispensable tool for people who
are the metaphoric glue in a small office. Like a modern day Radar O'Reilly, she knows
how to deflect the pathological ramblings of the creative department while deftly
managing the endless niggling details of the wine biz and taking the time to taste and
learn. She's a renaissance gal who is wise beyond her years, yet manages to show few of
them on the outside (a trick we'd all like to know!). Part wine geek, part sales person,
part calmly-inserting-the-pins-back-into-grenades-person, Kat Kelly puts more than one
K in 'everything's gonna be OK'.
| Samantha Darling, Dave Padro
Communal's intrepid cadre of wine envoys.