Q. When did you begin your career at Darden, what positions have you held and what is your current position?
A. I started with Darden in 1978, when I was 16, as a file clerk in Personnel Records. Through a program at my high school, I attended classes in the mornings and worked at Darden four hours each afternoon. I’ve worked in a lot of positions in HR, including the health insurance area, and I’ve processed unemployment compensation claims and bought company cars. I tried being a secretary but that lasted only about three months because I could not get the hang of typing with carbon paper. But for roughly the last 10 years, I’ve been administrator of Darden’s stock plan, and I really enjoy the work. I’m celebrating my 40th anniversary at Darden this month.
Q. What do you like best about working at Darden?
A. Darden’s been good to me, and that’s why I’ve stayed. I felt lucky to have landed a good job with a good company when I was so young, and who would have thought I would have stayed so long. I grew up here. The benefits are fantastic and the pay is highly competitive because Darden wants to retain its people. I feel incredibly blessed.
Darden has always had a caring culture. Many years ago, when I couldn’t find a Pokémon game for one of my sons in any of the stores for Christmas, my senior vice president helped me out. He showed me how to find the special toy online and saved the day.
Q. What is your greatest accomplishment?
A. My two sons, Daniel, 28, and Drew, 26. My happy place is spending time with my husband, Allen, and my boys because they’re so dang funny. Allen and I are celebrating our 37th anniversary this month. I guess longevity’s in my blood.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working?
A. I’m passionate about reading, especially murder mysteries and courtroom dramas. I’m active in my church and have gone with my husband on three mission trips to Peru and Ecuador. My husband helps set up a medical clinic and I work with people who have vision problems, fitting them with reading glasses so they can see better.
Q. In the spirit of Darden’s core value of Always Learning, Always Teaching, what is one thing you would like to take the time to learn more about — someday?
A. I would like to help adults learn to read since it’s such a pleasurable, important activity. Also, I’d like to learn how to frost a cake correctly, so it looks pretty. I bake a lot and I’m pretty good at it, but the appearance of my frosting is another story altogether.