“I have really grown and developed as a person, as a leader, and as a member of the hospitality field. I credit a lot of that, if not all of it, to my leaders and their supportiveness over the years, whether it was conversations at the end of a busy day or being granted the opportunity to attend different conferences and team meetings. I know that if those things didn’t happen, I very well may still be in the same exact spot that I was in five years ago.”
He credits Paige Jensen as his first leader in marketing — the person who asked him to apply to his first role at Kutztown who he then had the opportunity to continue to work with throughout the years. John also recognizes his General Manager at Kutztown, Chris Wallace, his Resident District Manager at Bloomsburg, Nick Wiest, and his General Manager, Maria Bauman, as leaders who have allowed him opportunities to learn more about the business and expand his horizons as a marketing professional at Aramark.
Because of the mentorship John received from an early age, he is looking to pass that passion and leadership onto his own teammates and the students he works with.
“I found this career path through the support that I received from leaders on campus, so I have tried to be that same person towards my team members. That’s really one of the most rewarding things to me. I now have a team of marketing students, and I am incredibly committed to their success. I don’t see their roles as just a job. I really look at it from the perspective of how I can help them become successful, just as my leaders did to me when I was a student.”
While John had become accustomed to the environment and operations at college dining halls, the pandemic presented new challenges to John and his team. Despite facing staffing shortages, supply chain dilemmas, and other disruptions to the business, John remained committed to his role and overcame those challenges by using them as chances to learn and grow as a professional.
“COVID-19 provided me an opportunity to get even better insight and understanding of our business as a whole. With staffing challenges affecting the entire hospitality industry because of the pandemic, helping out at some of our operations – whether catering events or serving food in the dining hall – really provided me an opportunity to get that hands-on experience within the food service industry. It was still an opportunity to learn and get a better understanding of everything that we do.”
John’s commitment to the betterment of his teammates and passion to serve, even in dining halls when needed, has allowed him to leave a lasting influence on his leaders, his team members, and his community.
“I think that the most rewarding part of what I do is being able to have a positive impact on students’ lives.”
To learn more about John’s experience working in higher education and his advice for others at early stages in their careers, check out the Q&A in this post!