This month’s Member Spotlight features Karla Lacey, Chief Marketing Officer for Guckenheimer Enterprises, Inc. Karla answered several questions for us.
What is the biggest challenge you face in business?
Making sure I focus on the things that will have the biggest impact on Guckenheimer. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and not focus on big strategic issues that have major impact. From a strictly marketing perspective my biggest challenge is building awareness for Guckenheimer. We have a great story to share and it is my job to figure out how best to share it!
You are a relatively new member although very involved; what is your favorite aspect of SHFM membership?
SHFM has been a great way for me to get know more people in the industry. I was a newcomer to foodservice and hospitality when I joined Guckenheimer. SHFM members have been so open and welcoming and willing to share information and insights. I learn something new at every event I attend.
As Chair of the Marketing Committee, what insights have you discovered with the association that you might have otherwise missed?
The marketing committee interacts with many of the other board committees so it has been fascinating to see how the whole organization works. The integration of the “H” in our organization as we recognize so many people who increasingly have foodservice in addition to other responsibilities has been particularly interesting.
You have also assisted a great deal with SHFM Local – California! How do you balance volunteering with SHFM and your day job?
Not to mention having a life outside work! I think all of us deal with overcrowded schedules these days. I try to look at my calendar not just for the day or the week but for the next month and look at what I have coming up to make sure I am scheduling time for the things I need to deliver. I am not always 100% successful but it does seem to reduce the number of fire drills. Also, I think we all have to set some priorities that we will not compromise. For me, my daughters’ softball games are mandatory. If I am in town I will be there!
What advice would you share with a young professional considering the foodservice industry?
I think food is trendy right now and many young people are attracted to the “glamour” of being a chef or working in food. Now that I work with our incredible chefs all the time, I realize how hard their jobs are. But the pleasure our employees get making customers happy is so rewarding that I believe they think it is worth the trade-off. So I would tell a young professional to look beyond the glamour and make sure they really like being in a people business where you prove yourself every day.
What and where was the best meal you have ever had?
I am lucky to live in the San Francisco Bay Area where great local ingredients and great restaurants abound. My husband and I had dinner in Manresa in Los Gatos, CA about a year ago. It was the perfect combination of ambiance, service, food and wine—definitely worth the wait for the reservation.