Olive Garden General Manager Shaine Miller of Albuquerque, NM, who has worked in foodservice since high school, is her own woman — with her own style of mentoring others to follow in her footsteps.
“I start with someone’s character development and then move on to professional results,” she said. “When we are well-developed in all areas of our life — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically — we perform better at work. So when you’re mentoring someone, it’s important to talk about work and home, personal and professional traits.”
A general manager for 11 years after starting as a host, Shaine mentors not only her own team but other managers in her region. Last month, she shared her experience with a classroom of general managers and managing partners during training at Darden’s Restaurant Support Center in Orlando, FL.
Her best advice for them was to be humble and open to learning. “Their training is great, but they aren’t expected to know everything,” she said. “It’s important for their teams to see that they aren’t perfect and they aren’t on a pedestal. At times they will fail, and at other times they will be amazing. Both are okay. Just learn from those mistakes.”
Shaine said women sometimes need extra help visualizing themselves in leadership roles. Until recently, she said she hadn’t thought of becoming a director, her next goal. But Vincent Sanford, her director of operations, kept encouraging her and propelling her forward. “He’s been my biggest champion.” She’s also grateful to Director of Operations Lisa McDowell for her advice and strength.
Shaine feels strongly that everyone should pursue passions outside work. “While I respect that drive to put work first, you’ll be better off if you put yourself and your well-being first.” She did that a year ago, with spectacular results.
“I realized I was living an unhealthy lifestyle so I began to eat better, started working out every day and lost 50 pounds.” Shaine said she also made personal growth a priority through reading and travel. She and a friend spent two weeks in Kenya in a hut in the middle of nowhere, walking everywhere they went.
“We got to know the people, and we walked alongside warthogs, giraffes and water buffalo. It was a rich, deep experience. We would see people pass us in tour vans staring at their cell phones.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want,” she said. “You deserve it.”