I am a food service sales and marketing professional with experience and insights from all aspects of the industry. My food service portfolio includes operations, distribution, manufacturing, brokerage, marketing, education, training, networking, and professional development.
In my early twenties, couldn’t wait to get away from Iowa. I needed to go somewhere more exciting with more opportunities, even if it was just across the Mississippi River into Illinois. During this time I was working both front and back of the house, working the different food service and marketing positions.
It wasn’t until I started working in distribution that the infatuation with the industry developed. I loved learning about how food service worked and I enjoyed the people I was working with and met through my job. It was then when I realized I wanted to make food service a career.
I use to check out material from the distributor library all the time, study the IMPS/NAMP book like a bible with the Food Lover’s Companion Book always within arms reach and always asked questions.
During this time I learned about the American Culinary Federation which was my first introduction to an organization that encouraged professional development within the culinary arts. I supported our local chapter with donations and attending events yet as a non-chef, I didn’t think there was a place for me at the monthly meetings.
Different story when I moved to Chicago where I discovered the benefits of networking with attending these meetings. I remember feeling confused when someone invited me to join a networking group. I had no idea what a network group was nor did I understand the value of participating in it either.
It wasn’t until after I moved to Arizona that I learned the importance of networking. There were/are so many network groups here, and proceed to do a lot of that, even running two networking groups and eventually, marketing and events manager for the American Culinary Federation Chef’s Association of Arizona.
Other organizations I have worked with are Slow Foods Phoenix and the Cactus Section of the Institute of Food Technologists. With these experiences, I learned so much about culinary education, Arizona agriculture and our community.
Marketing is also another love of mine and have always been aware of combining marketing with sales. The easier it was for a distributor representative or customer to access me and the information they needed about a product or service, the more we sold. Simple stuff, or so I thought. Me and my rose colored glasses. I wear them often.