Mentorship Enables Leadership

Mentorship Enables LeadershipI’ve been having a lot of conversations with our audience about mentorship and support lately and how vital it is to all of us engaged within the catering space.

I know when I was a Catering Sales Manager, I sometimes felt like I was on an island all by myself. CSMs generally work from home, in different markets, and spend most of their time talking to clients, not colleagues. Catering Directors also sometimes feel independent in nature. Even though they work with multiple departments, they don’t always have additional catering specific support at their disposal. How often would we just like to have someone to talk to that understands our stress, workload and struggles – and can help us with them and apply experience from dealing with the same issues?!?!

From these conversations comes a realization that the idea of asking for support and mentorship puts some people on guard.  “I don’t want to ask for help or support – that makes me look weak” or “I don’t want to bring visibility to my flaws or lack of knowledge”.  Well, I can tell you that I am as stubborn as the next gal, but I will say from experience, that letting go of that perception and accepting guidance and mentorship is important to the advancement of your career. It offers increased knowledge, access to real world experience, development of your confidence, and belief in your abilities and results.

Here’s the thing, understanding that none of us knows it all, and that we can always learn from others is important. Then being willing to accept the guidance with an open heart and mind is the next step. Not to mention the fact that self-improvement and self-development establish very favorable attributes that our employers recognize and value.

In the case of the CSM or the Catering Director, take the time to seek out someone that you trust and respect, someone who is a strong leader and understands your role. This can be any number of people: your boss, a veteran co-worker, a previous employer or an outside resource organization. Then have an honest conversation and explain what you are hoping to accomplish with their help.  Not everyone is cut out for, or has time for, a mentorship role.

Here are a few things that a mentor can provide:

  • Increased job knowledge
  • Position and market insights
  • Real world experience / solutions
  • Resources
  • Emotional and moral support
  • Practice buddy
  • Sounding board for new ideas
  • Feedback on your performance
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved results
  • Leadership skills

So, why not give yourself the edge with support and guidance of a mentor? Remember, you are your very best investment!

For additional information on the topic or the Mentorship Program provided by the MMS Catering Institute feel free to call or email me directly – e: or p: 770.316.0597.

Tracy Avolio - VP, Client Services, MMS Catering Institute

photo credit: ffaalumni via photopin cc