022: Learning about others with Megan Schaafsma
Megan Schaafsma is the co-owner of Odie's Deli and HoneyWheat Catering in Soldotna, AK. She has a B.S. in Economics from Missouri S&T. She lives in Soldotna with her main cohort (and husband) Andy and their persnickety cat, Sophie.
How did you go from education and economics to food service?
· “I started on food service sort of on accident and I always kind of returned to food service. After I finally graduated, I worked a big corporate job and I very quickly realized it was not for me.”
What are the most rewarding or challenging of parts in your industry?
· “Any customer facing job is always challenging but a lot of the things that are most challenging and rewarding are the same. For example, it’s super fast paced, you can get a lot of things done quickly but that can also be very challenging.”
As someone who’s passionate about food, what’s your favorite food?
· “Always, always tacos! I will never ever attempt to do Mexican food of any time because it’s one of those things, don’t make your hobby your job.”
Share with us one of your best networking stories
· “It starts with the story of how I met Lori! Where I’m at in Alaska, there aren’t many people so it’s tough to find mentors or do networking. I found a series of restaurants that I could tell were owned by the same woman who I finally ended up calling. I ended up meeting with her in her office where she suggested a lot of how to do business there and the 10,000 small businesses program!’
How do you stay in front of your network or community?
· “Since I’m super busy, it’s mostly of me reacting to something I think of. If I see something that reminds me of a person, I make a point to reach out to them.”
What advice do you have for business professionals looking to grow their networks?
· “One of the best networking tool I’ve learned over the years is to volunteer. You’ll meet some of your best networking connections by volunteering in things you never even planned to network in.”
Digital networking or traditional networking?
· “For me it’s traditional, always a face-to-face human contact. There is a lot of value in digital networking and it’s an amazing tool to support your traditional networking but face-to-face contact is really important in my industry.”
If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?
· “One of the things I would definitely tell myself to do more of is to keep in contact. I wish I would’ve known the standard to reach out to people when you thought about them”
Who would you love to connect with and do you think you could do it within 6 degrees?
· “So, for me I think the person I would love to connect with would be Danny Meyer, he’s the founder of the Union 4 restaurant group in New York City. I would probably start with chefs that I worked with in Boston and work my way up from there.”
What book are you reading right now?
· “I’m always reading several novels but right now I’m also reading a book called ‘Tribal Leadership’ and it’s about using natural groups and what that looks like! That is by Dave Logan and John King.”
Any final words of advice for our listeners??
· “Talk to people, ask questions. Find out about other people and it will naturally happen.”
You can get in contact with Megan at:
Pretty much any social media, you can either find HoneyWheat Catering or looks for Odie’s Deli!
Otherwise, email her at OdiesDeli@gmail.com