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Making Campus Connections

March 04, 2014

By: Christene Morath, Talent Acquisition Manager, Darden Restaurants

Making Campus Connections

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NSMH is the leading professional organization for developing exceptional minority student talent and leadership. Their mission is to educate minority students in the industry and set them up for success. This closely aligns with Darden’s core values of embracing diversity and always learning, always teaching. We’re proud to help their mission by recruiting, retaining, supporting and advancing diverse talent throughout our organization.

The conference consisted of a wide range of career development panels for the students to attend as well as a career fair so we could talk one-on-one with students. One unique aspect of our industry, unlike some, is that these students don’t have to wait until they are juniors and seniors to start getting relevant experience. They can start working in our restaurants as freshmen and sophomores and get hands-on experience early on that they can share in their hospitality classes. As they prepare to graduate, they can continue to grow in the restaurant and enter our Manager in Training (MIT) program to develop their skills even further to become a restaurant leader. Or, they could pursue a career in our Restaurant Support Center. There are a number of different career paths one can journey through at Darden, and we’re here to help them figure out the one that best suits their passions.

We participated in many panels ranging in topics, such as diversity, management and technology. In addition to just our recruiting team, we were very fortunate that Dominique Johnson, Staffing & Training Manager with the nearby Olive Garden, was able to join us and participate in two panels. Her perspective added so much for the students because she started as a host and moved her way up to a management role. She was very comfortable talking to all the students because she had been in their shoes before. She shared her experiences of going through the interview processes, life as a manager and why she loves Darden.

In addition to the efforts of the national organization, the NSMH membership is most active at the chapter level on college campuses. Students have the opportunity to take on leadership positions, plan and execute events, and network with industry representatives to gain solid insight into what makes hospitality careers so rewarding. Our greatest involvement is at the campus chapter level. We actively recruit on campus, help with career workshops, give restaurant tours and participate in their chapter meetings.

We include college recruiting in our talent acquisition strategy because we hope that people just starting their careers will want to join and grow with Darden.

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