Bakery feeds Mason alum's need for a new experience

Tanya Logan, who graduated from Mason in 1996 with an accounting degree, said her diverse education gave her the tools to be a successful businesswoman. Photo provided.

After 10 years working as an accountant supervisor for a Fortune 500 media company, George Mason University alumna Tanya Logan felt stuck. She longed for a new experience.

“It was one of those wake up in the morning with no desire to go to work moments where I truly realized I wasn’t happy in corporate America,” she said.

Logan always urged her co-workers to pursue careers that made them happy. Now, she was grappling with taking the same advice.

What makes Logan happy? Connecting with people by feeding them.

The result: Soul Cakes by Tanya, a southern-style pastry shop she opened in Woodbridge, Va., in 2006, that offers handmade treats for any occasion, all of which were influenced by Logan’s southern roots.

Food was always part of Logan’s southern culture. She learned to cook the same way her mother did, by watching.

“My earliest memory of being a part of the cooking process, I was 4 or 5, visiting my grandparents in Mississippi, and my task was to snap peas,” Logan said. “Being able to cook in my house was never looked upon as a talent, it was always something that you were supposed to do.”

She had always made a killer pound cake from an old family recipe, and that cake—and the raves she received from colleagues when she brought the cake to the office—convinced her to launch a new career. She completed an AAS degree in Pastry Arts at Stratford University in Falls Church, Va., in 2007.

“I’ve always loved baking and creating, but I didn’t realize how much of a passion it was to me until I kept doing it,” she said.

Logan graduated from Mason in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She says her diverse education at Mason, which merged analytics with creativity and interpersonal skills, gave her the tools and foundation to become a successful businesswoman.

“Take what you learn and apply it to whatever industry you fall into,” Logan advised those who are reluctant to take their careers in different directions. “You might not think they relate but they do.”