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Rooted in My Local Park District

November 06, 2014

By: Catherine Fetter, Managing Partner, LongHorn Steakhouse

Rooted in My Local Park District

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In college, I studied ecology and biology wanting to beautify and preserve the natural resources of our planet. While in school, I interned at the Licking County Park District near my hometown in Ohio. After graduating, I had the opportunity to continue working there.

The Licking Park District is made up of 13 facilities, more than 1,600 acres, 25 miles of recreational trails and 24 miles of bike paths that enhance the cultural and economic quality of the communities in the area. In my role as the Operations Administrator, I worked with community leaders, volunteers and government organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, on the operations and strategy of the organization. I learned a lot about leadership, communications and interacting with key stakeholders.

After working at the Park District for two years after graduating college, I was ready for a new challenge and felt I could take on more. A brand new LongHorn Steakhouse was opening in town. I had been a server for a little while during college, so I decided to apply for a job to pass the time and earn extra money when not at the Park District. With my background in ecology and biology, I was impressed by the quality and freshness of the ingredients used at LongHorn Steakhouse. The Sustainability Team also greatly intrigued me as a way I could have an impact on our local community. I jumped right into joining the Sustainability Team and helped my restaurant see considerable savings in our water, gas and energy usage from the previous year.

I learned a lot of management skills from my Managing Partner at LongHorn that I would actually apply back at my Park District job. I was inspired to organize a volunteer taskforce for the park. I learned a lot about how to motivate, lead and communicate with the volunteers from the example set for me at LongHorn.

When I first started at LongHorn, I wasn’t interested in management. However, as I began to plateau in my role with the Park District, I started looking for growth opportunities. I felt I had accomplished everything I could with the Park District and wanted to continue to grow. I had fallen in love with the passion and energy of the restaurant, and I realized how similar a role as Managing Partner was to my old role as a Parks Operations Administrator. I could still make a difference in my community and on the planet.

So I decided to enter the Manager-in-Training program about two years ago. About eight months ago, I was promoted to Managing Partner of the LongHorn Steakhouse in Boardman, Ohio. I’m very excited to be managing my own restaurant and to inspire my Sustainability Team. My restaurant team is excited to get involved in the community as well, so we’re planning on participating in a volunteer project to beautify our local community every quarter. We recently participated in a benefit for the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, which beautifies the Youngstown area. We grilled for and fed 500 people.

I’m so excited to have found a career where I can contribute to sustainability initiatives and helping our planet’s resources. I have such a passion for our planet and preserving our habitats, and I’m proud to work for a company that shares those same passions.

By: Catherine Fetter, Managing Partner, LongHorn Steakhouse

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