Autumn Ryder

Autumn Ryder began with Ohio University dining as a student employee who was quickly promoted because she is organized, shows initiative and is enthusiastic.

Why Selected?

Rich Neumann, director of dining services at Ohio University, says: Autumn began with us as a student employee who was quickly promoted because she is organized, shows initiative and is enthusiastic. Autumn manages our largest dining hall and is responsible for day-to-day operations. Autumn is a key member of our safety team who put together a training program that reduced workers’ compensation claims by 56%.


General Manager at Nelson Dining Hall, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Age: 28
Education: Associate degrees in human services, and corrections, adults and juveniles from Hawking College, Nelsonville, Ohio. B.S. in addiction studies from the University of Cincinnati
Years at organization: 10


Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Careerwise I’d have to say being general manager of Nelson Dining Hall. I’ve worked with a great group of people that have supported me. I’m very honored to be in my position.

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I try to have an open mind to new things and challenges. Sometimes it’s hard for people to accept changes that come their way. I try to take things on with a positive attitude.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Changing the perception of others that they had of young women in a leadership position. You have to earn their respect by showing that you can make things happen. I think just getting in there and actually working the jobs with them helps them respect you. Putting in the long hours and doing things to help others out makes them appreciate you.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

It’s always rewarding when I have former students send me a card in the mail or a letter thanking me for what I’ve done to help them become a better person. Just hearing they appreciate that I pushed them to do their best, that’s definitely one of the best parts of working here.

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

We are part of a renovation project that’s going to start in August. I’d really like to continue to be a part of that project and open the new facility.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

People come into the dining hall, whether they are a customer or a worker, and they’ll ask, “Oh, are you a student?” And I always have to say, no, I’m the general manager of the dining hall. When people don’t think I’m a student anymore that’s when I’ll know I’m getting older.

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