Jennifer Takara

Jennifer Takara is the safety guru for Bon Appétit at Yahoo!.

Details

Café Manager, Bon Appétit, Yahoo!, Sunnyvale, Calif.
Age: 25
Education: B.S. in biology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif.
Years at organization: 3

Why Selected?

Robert Hart, general manager for Bon Appétit at Yahoo!, says: Jen is our safety “Navy Seal.” She created, and continues to build on, a safety program. Jen applied for a student worker position at Bon Appétit as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. After she graduated she was hired by Bon Appétit at Yahoo! as a café supervisor and is now running our biggest café. Jen has been an integral part of opening several new locations within Bon Appétit, creating, implementing and conducting training for safety programs at each location. 

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Successfully creating a space for safety in our cafés. Our employees are under extreme pressure to produce quality food on a strict timeline, often dealing with limited physical space and multiple moving parts. I feel most accomplished when I see other managers take the time to do on-the-spot training with their employees. It could be as simple as handing them a protective cut glove or taking the time to put up a ‘Wet Floor’ sign when an employee is mopping. 

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

I pay extra close attention to the way my colleagues communicate with each other and with employees. By keeping my management style pliable, I can adopt aspects of others’ management styles.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Take every opportunity to learn—even the most tedious or menial tasks can increase your knowledge of the business. 

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

Upon taking on the role of Safety Champion, I was sent to other accounts to help bolster their safety programs. The greatest challenge I faced was creating a Safety Champion persona that would be well received. I had to be compassionate and understanding, yet committed to sharing best practices. I avoided “auditing” my colleagues. Employees are sensitive to mangers’ attitudes when it comes to behavior change.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

A sous chef at a new account emailed me because she wanted some guidance on how to start training her employees. It was extremely rewarding to find that my work has paved the way for other managers to become Safety Champions in their accounts. 

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

I would like to join our corporate Safety Committee. I want to take my commitment to the next level. As a member of the committee, I would put myself in a better position to help pave the way for greater improvements related to safety.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

During my first year at Yahoo! I got into my car, hands full, and drove off with a bag with $300 in change on my roof. It fell to the ground and I didn’t realize it. I re-traced my steps, but the bag was nowhere to be found. Thanks to the security team at Yahoo! and some fine camera replay work, we located the bag. 

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