A sweet career shift

Sad beginnings with happy endings.

Returning to the office Monday after a weekend-long illness, I was desperately seeking some feel-good news. I found it in my e-mail inbox, in the form of a link to an article in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.

The write-up was part of a group of articles about executives at Lehman Brothers who lost their jobs when the financial firm went bankrupt a year ago. One of those executives was Sally Saltzbart Minier, who oversaw the foodservice program for the multinational company’s offices in North and South America.

The one-time president of the Society for Foodservice Management has started a new life, as a baker and head of new own little company, Sweet Sally’s Bakeshop. Working out of a kitchen—rent-free, for now—in Whippany, N.J., Sally is pulling 16-hour days recreating baked goods from recipes passed down from her mother and grandmother. She began taking orders last month for her first two specialties, a chocolate rugelach and an item she calls “big apple crackle,” made with matzoh and caramel.

Sally takes only online or wholesale orders to save on the cost of a retail outlet. Telling the WSJ that “food is in my blood,” she expressed no resentment at Lehman for her career shift. Rather, she called it the impetus she needed to do something she had dreamed about but was afraid to act on. I can relate to that; something similar happened to me earlier in my career.

I wasn’t surprised by the article, as Sally had sent me information earlier this year about Sweet Sally’s. Still, it was good to read a story about someone I know turning a negative into a positive, and I hope the media coverage gives her fledgling bakery a boost.

Sally, if you read this, I know we probably won’t see you at the SFM conference later this month in San Francisco, but on the off-chance you do make the trip, could you bring rugelach?

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