Top accomplishment this year:
Promoted from assistant manager to manager to training manager, and helped to nearly double adult meal participation and increase student participation by 6%.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Stepping into a management position in a kitchen that lost both the manager and assistant manager, and where the relationship between the kitchen staff and rest of the school faculty was damaged. I was faced with the challenge of repairing that relationship and reinforcing the integrity of this organization while improving food quality and cutting back on waste.
What experience have you learned an important lesson from?
When I was a young girl, my mother worked as a cafeteria manager at my school. Every morning I would sit in her office, eat my cereal, and read a poem on her desk that spoke of the power in a smile and how “No one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give.” This poem, along with the real-life example my mother set for me, truly impacted the person I have become.
We are the only people in the entire school that see every child every day. This means that we have a tremendous opportunity to impact the children in our schools. We never know what kind of struggles our students are facing at home or academically, but we do know the power of kindness.
How do you think the industry will change in the next five years? How do you think that will impact your goals and career?
I feel like the industry will introduce more gourmet foods to their menus, and I feel the public will be introduced to outstanding foodservice operations, thus challenging others to improve. This change will challenge me to continue to improve on my own skills and leadership.