Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor?

By Wendy Waren, VP of Communications, Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA)

Wouldn’t it be an absolute dream if every LRA member had a mentor and was a mentor? Think of what we would learn about others, ourselves and our business. Consider how your outlook on your career, relationships and the world around might improve and evolve.

We have so much to learn from each other and so much wisdom to impart on someone else—no matter our experience.

I was raised by my grandparents. My grandfather owned a small business and my grandmother did his books. He was always working, even on the weekends. He was compassionate and always helped others. That work ethic and tireless commitment to being the best person he could be really set a strong example which has shaped my entire life. He was my first mentor.

Michael Gulotta is chef de cuisine at August Restaurant.
This morning, I read an interview on with New Orleans Michael Gulotta, chef de cuisine at August Restaurant. Gulotta shared how working for celebrity chef John Besh has really shaped his career and outlook on the culinary profession. The following statement really stood out to me:

“The difference between a kitchen manager and a true Chef mentor is that the latter challenges his employees to be better people, to read voraciously, to take the menu home and look up everything they don’t know, to exercise and stay healthy, to treat their teammates with respect and act with professionalism at every moment of the day, even when they are not on the clock.”

Holly Goetting is Executive
Chef at Charley G's in Lafayette.
The LRA has been telling the story of individual transformation through mentorship for a couple of years now. The cover of the Spring 2012 A La Carte magazine featured Holly Goetting who attributes her success to the power of mentorship. Many of our members like Nina Camacho with Jazzmen Rice and Tom Pyburn with Emeril’s Home Base mentor students in the LRA Education Foundation administered ProStart Program.

As we roll into 2013, surely the majority of us have let those resolutions fall away for the most part. But every day is an opportunity for us to be better than we were yesterday. Are you surrounding yourself with positive and supportive individuals? Do you foster those individuals? Do you share what you’ve learned with others who may benefit from your experiences?

Got an hour a month? Mentor a ProStart class in your area. Need a mentor? Check out a LRA Chapter meeting.

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