Q. How long have you been with The Capital Grille and Darden?
A. I joined The Capital Grille about four years ago, but I started my Darden career 12 years ago when I was 16 as a busser at Red Lobster. At one point I worked at Red Lobster and Olive Garden at the same time. When I was home in Reading, PA, during college breaks, I worked at Red Lobster as a server. When I attended Elizabethtown College in Lancaster, PA, I was a server at Olive Garden.
After I earned degrees in business marketing and Spanish, I left Darden to manage an organic farm and then joined the Peace Corps. I served in Guatemala as an agricultural marketing technician with Save the Children, where I learned everything about food from farm to table. I returned to Red Lobster, then transferred to The Capital Grille restaurant in Seattle as a host, worked my way up and trained as a manager. Now I’m back to working for two restaurants at a time — I’m sales manager for The Capital Grille locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ, building relationships in the communities to increase restaurant sales.
Q. How has The Capital Grille recognized your potential and helped you to be successful?
A. I wouldn’t be here without the help of Kasey McEldowney, the sales manager at The Capital Grille in Seattle. We worked closely together and built a rapport. She was my biggest role model and mentor and taught me so much. I’m also grateful to Director of Operations Mary Simpson and Managing Partners Nic Kassis and Charlie Stauter. They all helped me tremendously and believed in my continued success with the company.
Q. How would you describe The Capital Grille’s culture, and how does that align with what’s important to you?
A. Our culture is about respect, building relationships, being genuine and going above and beyond. I live by this creed at work and in my personal life. The culture has changed the way I view situations and interact with people as well as the way I carry and present myself.
Q. Is there one Capital Grille dish you can’t resist?
A. The Porcini Rubbed Bone-In Ribeye with 15-Year Aged Balsamic. It’s the perfect cut.
Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A. I’ve been dancing since I was 3, and tap is my strong suit. Dancing is part of who I am and it gave me confidence, which I take into everything I do. In 2006, I made the top 100 in the Northeast auditions for So You Think You Can Dance.