I consider myself an ordinary person living an extraordinary life. As a college senior in Michigan State University’s Hospitality Management program, I interviewed with ARAMARK for a management trainee position. I was intrigued by the company’s vision and the confident, yet humble, leadership style of the people who interviewed me. The people and their values truly distinguished ARAMARK from the other companies I considered. And, more than 30 years later, the people are the reason why I am still with the company today. I have been truly fortunate to work alongside so many exceptional people throughout my career at ARAMARK.
I am so proud of and continue to be inspired by our 35,000 plus employees who work tirelessly every day to make a difference for our Higher Education clients and customers.
I never set any grand career goal to be a company president. I truly believe if you do your job well and to the best of your ability, opportunities will emerge and doors will open. Very early on in my career, I was challenged to take risks and told that every challenge brings opportunity. I embraced this theory and have faced many challenges along the way, first working as a catering director, assistant food service director and operations director. These positions required an incredible investment of time and energy, but ultimately yielded invaluable perspective, as I moved into senior management roles. It gave me great insight into what it takes to develop people to be the best they can be and how each employee contributes to the overall success of the company.
The humble confidence that attracted me to ARAMARK 30 years ago fuels my leadership style today. I feel strongly that leadership is measured by the success and development of each team member. By positioning others for success, you will succeed. While this can be counter-intuitive for some people, many embrace the opportunity and understand that if the team wins, everyone wins.
My advice to young professionals is to decide what is important to you and don’t be afraid to take risks. Do what you want to do and do it well; don’t waver. If you waver, you don’t end up doing anything well. Above all, enjoy what you do. If you really enjoy what you do every day and stay true to yourself, you will find life balance and career success.