The Folks I’ve Met On My Journey

Today, I say goodbye for now to a treasured colleague and mentor, Marian. She’s moving onto an exciting new position at a great company where she will continue to teach and inspire people to get into the kitchen more.

When I let my desk job in September 2014, I had no idea that I would meet so many inspiring, passionate and talented people that would be willing to share with me and support me in my journey to becoming an dietitian.

Certainly, I met some incredibly smart and talented people while working at Columbia. Folks like ‘Stine, Kyong, Hakim and Nick became friends who I confided in when I started to feel like a research career was not for me. And when I chose to pursue a career in food, they could not have been happier for me. I’m grateful to have them in my life as friends to this day.

But, ultimately, I never found a mentor at Columbia. I’m not sure if that’s because I wasn’t passionate enough about the work to put out the energy that might draw a mentor organically, or if people were just too damn busy and siloed in their own work to pay me any mind. Probably some combination of both.

When I started at Sur La Table, I immediately realized something was different. I remember when I was sitting in the office completing my onboarding paperwork and two managers were having a passionate discussion about meatballs.

I thought, OK, I’m in the right place.

Even though for my first year of working there, I basically just washed dishes, I never tired of the people. I couldn’t believe that I was essentially paid to take cooking classes from knowledgable and enthusiastic chefs.

When I transitioned into chef instructor, I was overwhelmed by the support I received from my co-workers. I felt like I had joined a convenant of talented people who wanted nothing but to see me succeed–no nastiness and no competition. Sure, people gossip and there’s occassionally drama but that doesn’t bother me.

I’m grateful to have a working environment that has fostered tremendous growth in a short period of time.

I’m writing the first names of the people that have particularly impacted me in this most critical phase of my journey because I want to acknowledge them: Clare, Lisa, Diana (from Butter Lane), Jessica, Rebecca, Marian, Yukari, Emily, Kendall, Fabian and Matt (from Project Renewal). Thank you! You helped me know I was in the right place–just by being you.

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