Aramark Food Service Manager (currently in the Accelerate to Leadership (A2L) program)
Sadra Lemons knew from her very first job working at a country club that she wanted to work in hospitality. When she realized she could intern with Aramark at her favorite vacation spot — Lake Powell — she knew it was going to be a good match. She now uses that on-the-job training in her role as a food service manager at a pharmaceutical company, where she oversees everything from the café to parties and catering.
Discuss your early experiences working with Aramark.
I was surprised by the scope of my work. As an intern, I wanted to put my hands on everything and be everywhere — and I was pleasantly surprised by how hands-on the work was. I was gaining exposure to all parts of the hospitality industry, from planning weddings to serving students at a cafeteria, and I found that I especially enjoyed events and catering. When I had an opportunity to choose my career path, I asked for a catering position.
And now you’re in the Accelerate to Leadership (A2L) program?
Yes. It’s a yearlong management and training program where you rotate through up to three locations. Because of the diversity of Aramark's business, the A2L program isn't limited to specific majors — participants are recruited for competency, and placed in a role that's right for them. Right now I’m in business dining, but I could potentially rotate to our Sports & Entertainment business, or possibly to a different line of business entirely, to help me become more well rounded.
What do you enjoy most about your current A2L location?
Our location is unique: It’s a health-driven café with a sustainable focus, so we go for cage-free, hormone-free meats and healthy snacks. I also love the people I work with. It takes a very empathetic person to work in the industry because it’s all about supporting the customers and each other.
What’s your favorite type of event to cater?
Since I’m at a pharma company, it’s exciting when they receive FDA approval for a new drug. It creates a lot of excitement, and is celebrated with elaborate decorations and a diverse menu. They’re very busy events (and are often last-minute), but are so much fun.