Thursday, 8 September 2016

Summer of #Inspiration, #Women Through the Lens - Sarah Prentice


Welcome to the last of this feature blogs! Summer is over and so all good things
must end. I hope you have enjoyed reading about women's roles and careers and 
before we go, do not miss the interview with Sarah Prentice. Sarah used to be my mentee and she has gone on to really great things in the catering and hospitality industry. Enjoy!


Describe what you do, your job/s
I am the Business Development and Marketing Manager for an independent contract catering company called Blue Apple. We run fantastic staff restaurants within the business and industry sectors and my job is to win new contracts and to lead our Marketing and Design Team who produce all of the promotional material for our 55 restaurants.

What does a typical day look like?
The beauty of this job is every day is totally different. What might be a priority in the morning can often change throughout the day. After a quick cuppa and catch up with the team I check and respond to my emails. I work closely with Lucy our Business Development Co-ordinator on any outstanding tender responses which is crucial to our success, this might include completing financial spreadsheets, writing bid responses and designing menus. One day I might be office based all day and the next I could be on a sales visit, meeting a potential customer and visiting their onsite restaurant or hosting a sales visit to one of our restaurants so that our prospective clients can see and taste what we do.
What are the best and most challenging things about your career?
I love it when we win new business, it is so rewarding and you just can’t beat that euphoric feeling - I wish you could bottle it! The toughest part of this job is when you have put your heart and soul into a bid and then lose. You need to be resilient, learn from your mistakes and move on to the next opportunity. My previous boss told me about the SUMO position = ‘Shut Up and Move On’ and it always makes me laugh and move on to the next opportunity with a positive ‘go get it’ attitude.
How did you get to where you are today, including qualifications and skills?
I didn’t enjoy school - I left with a few GCSE’s and didn’t go to college or university, but I always had a good work ethic and was never out of work. I worked for an international coffee company for many years as a customer service/sales executive and developed in sales from here. I have worked my way up to my role by hard work, learning from others and having the confidence to put myself forward for opportunities and then delivering them. With the right attitude you can go far!
What would you recommend to a younger colleague wanting to start her career in your area or sector of expertise?
The hospitality industry is the best place to be. There are so many amazing opportunities for everyone, be it in sales, marketing, finance or of course in the kitchen as a chef, plus it can be really well paid. The contract catering industry is crying out for hard working individuals and lots of the bigger companies have fantastic placement schemes for school leavers or graduates. Having a passion for food obviously helps!

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