Proudest career accomplishment in the past year:
We hired a videographer for my marketing department, and we have really been pushing the needle on video content. Facebook’s vice president states that by 2020, he thinks the platform’s news feed will just be video sharing, and we as a team want to prepare ourselves now for when that happens. Videos help us tell stories that sometimes we don’t have the space to on normal print and digital advertisements.
Most rewarding moment so far:
One thing I worked on was to include our weekly menus on the university’s mobile app, allowing students to view the menus even before leaving their dorm—it was a service to them to aid their day-to-day life. When we first debuted the app menus, it was late spring, right before students left for the semester. When they returned the following fall, our menu module was the second-most used module on the entire app, right behind checking their courses in Blackboard. It was a huge encouragement to see this service being useful to the student body, and it prompted us to start working with our IT team to develop mobile ordering on the app.
Biggest challenge you’ve overcome:
Learning to be a strong leader for my team. When I first started out, fresh out of college, I had no idea how to run a team, much less a department. A lot of trial and error happened in my first and second years in the role. Thankfully, I had a very supportive management team. I started to listen to seminars and read books on leadership, and I started to involve my team more in department decisions, so they felt like their voices were valuable. I think leading a team will always be a growing process for me, but I’m thankful to have been taught to be an open-minded person and to continue growing and changing. I think that’s how great leaders set themselves apart from managers who just want to continue the status quo.
One thing you would change about foodservice:
I wish technological agility was a stronger focus. Foodservice is a tad behind digital trends that other sectors are utilizing heavily. This agility doesn’t even have to be strictly customer-facing; it can also include teams being more open to stronger reporting and analytics software to track historical data and streamline services.