Sunday, April 28, 2013

Answering a stranger's query

As many of my FB friends know, I temporarily relocated to Southern California earlier this year to work for a short time with a family-member who needed an extra pair of hands for a few months.  Much to my surprise, I’m finding that I like it here (a lot!) and have been doing everything I can since late February to find permanent work in hospitality/catering/event management.

I’ve come close a couple of times - with what I thought was the ideal fit slipping through my hands recently.  One of the things I learned in that particular interview was that there was full team support and it was important to ask for help and draw on the knowledge/experience of others.  So this post is a bit of that...

A stranger (someone I've spoken to and emailed with, but not met) asked me this week what my “ideal” job was – and this was my answer:

I am passionate for catering and event planning.  I love writing menus, pulling ideas together for rental, decor, invitations, entertainment, favors etc. (and I'm really good at it!!)  I like soliciting sponsorships for fundraisers whose missions I am aligned with (homelessness, hunger and services for people in need)  I've worked on galas for 1300, 14-day tennis events where I managed corporate hospitality and a staff of 350, non-profit fundraisers with silent and live auctions,  and street festivals, coordinating food vendors, the health department, signage, etc.

I take great joy in pulling all the pieces together and producing an event that entertains people, enchants, surprises and leaves them wanting more.

For most of my career I've been a mid-sized to large fish in a smallish pond (New Haven, Connecticut is minute compared to LA County).  I'm a bit worried that I'm out of my league out here - but I know that I am more than capable!  I've been a personal assistant, have cooked for friends and private events, worked for FTD, UPS (on a truck!) and the US Census (I'm federally fingerprinted).  I like to write and seem to have a "style".

I want a job with a company that will support me, but also let me flourish.  One that will trust me and can be trusted.  Someday I'd like to teach...

I have almost 30 years in catering/event management/fundraising for non-profits.  I derive great joy from this work, and can’t imagine doing anything else! I have a keen sense of how to deliver premier customer service.  I will do everything in my power to ensure that the client is pleased with the end result.  I’m not afraid of hard work and understand the importance of clear communication and developing relationships with the team and the client.

Some of you would say that I’m well-spoken, can do anything, have a good sense of humor and a knack for creating a warm, welcoming environment.  I describe myself as a people-person, with strong knowledge of food and menu planning who loves to train and excite staff about the work we do.  Multi-tasking is a forte; I’m a good problem-solver and know how to share and delegate responsibilities. I’m operations driven – in other words, I like to know how it’s all going to play out before it does (and can troubleshoot quickly and efficiently when it doesn’t!)
I am a good, kind, generous person who values honesty, integrity and ethics above all else.

My goal is to stay in Greater Los Angeles – particularly between Long Beach and Manhattan Beach. (what’s called the “South Bay”).  Orange County is a possibility if I can wrap my head around a lengthy commute.  I’d go further north (SFO) or south (SAN) is was the absolute perfect thing.  Freelancing is also an option.
So, as I continue to search the web, volunteer for events to create possible contacts and think positively, I ask for your assistance.  Will you share this on your page, helping me reach out to more folks than I can imagine?  I know someone out there is looking to add me to their successful business!

SIDE NOTE:  I spent my most recent birthday with family I had never been able to celebrate with before.  In his toast, my Uncle quoted from the day’s horoscope.  It went something like this and I’ve looked at it every day since… “Set attainable work-related goals.  Professional achievements will give you a sense of security that will make your home life better, too.  Your powers of visualization get stronger each time that you use them, and you’ll use them often over the next seven weeks to picture the life you want…”

My seven weeks are up, but I’m still visualizing.