#112 - Hospitality Meets Clare Johnson - The People Rising Star - Hospitality Meets... with Phil Street

Episode 112

#112 - Hospitality Meets Clare Johnson - The People Rising Star

I'm so lucky to be able to speak to so many different people from within the industry and today's guest is another shining star of Hospitality. I got some time with Clare Johnson, Early Careers Lead at Sodexo (https://www.sodexo.com).

Clare brings the energy from the off and we get through loads including:-

  • Sodexo
  • Previous guest Emeline (Episode 109)
  • Belfast Hospitality
  • Uni v Work
  • Starting in a Theatre
  • Work Ethic
  • Mindset
  • Engaging all age groups
  • Lifting people up
  • Interview performance
  • Finding your hospitality family
  • Non linear careers
  • The belief of others

It's another brilliant chat showcasing this awesome industry and yet another role you can get yourself into.

Enjoy!

Now featured on the Top 50 Hospitality Podcasts at https://blog.feedspot.com/hospitality_podcasts/

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Transcript

00:00.00

philjstreet

Hello and welcome to the next episode of hospitality meets with me Phil street today. We're moving into the world of contract catering and food services and within that training and development. So I'm just going to get stuck straight into this today and welcome the absolutely fabulous bundle of positive energy that is Clare Johnson

00:17.88

Clare Johnson

That that is a great description. Thank you very much never had true but absolutely and also because we I know we spoke briefly that M was on the podcast The other week here I work with.

00:39.30

philjstreet

Welcome to the show as as a do you feel the pressure now.

01:05.20

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

00:52.58

Clare Johnson

Trying to top. Em's podcast is going to be difficult but I will give it a good. Go.

01:15.72

philjstreet

Go for it. Yeah, absolutely so because you both work for sudexo right in various different capacities. So is it a thing then that you've got to be this energetic positive beacon for for the industry to join that company.

01:27.36

Clare Johnson

I You know what I think sodexo and it were the biggest kept secret So you know we do so much within the industry but actually a lot of people don't know who we are so when you get to know the people within it. It is sometimes a.

02:10.94

philjstreet

Um, right.

02:05.32

Clare Johnson

I guess a bit of surprise how how energetic people are and how how much passion there is for hospitality just within our company. So yeah I mean m emmeline's Stephanie one of those people on a Friday afternoon who you you want to speak to or. If you're having one of those days where you're thinking. Oh I just just need to get through a cheat she is the person to speak to because she would definitely have you. You know, pull up your socks and get on with it.

03:07.80

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah I mean she she definitely ah in our chat I felt she's one of these people that that gives energy like you know that are takers and givers of energy it. She is definitely a giver of energy.

03:22.10

Clare Johnson

Yeah, I'm very very lucky to work with her and a lot of my role So I manage early careers at Sudexo which is quite a new role to the company and and I know I'm sure everyone says it but I have the best job in the world. Ah, to get young people into your industry and and a big focus for us is getting people from all different backgrounds I mean that was probably one of the things that made me love the industry so much that there were people from all walks a life all different backgrounds and. So M is that sort of person when you've got a young person in front of you who doesn't know about our industry or hasn't experienced it I can guarantee after a conversation with emline they're going to walk away I Want to be a Chef I Want to be a chef when I speak to M and I have absolutely no culinary skill. But she makes me believe that I can do it.

05:29.78

philjstreet

Yeah I wanted to be a chef Actually when we when we had our chat. She's yeah, she's that we've got a look after people like her for sure. Um, and I think yeah, she's ah she's awesome Anyway, this is not about her This is about you.

05:30.14

Clare Johnson

Um, she.

06:01.80

philjstreet

How are you anyway because we've been trying to do this for quite a long time.

05:49.38

Clare Johnson

I know it's been a bit of a whirlwind year to be honest, so I moved from Suffolk in September over to Gloucestershire moved in with my partner. We then moved into our new house which we're currently renovating. Um, so. Yeah, it's been a bit of a building site and every time we go to speak Phil they have builders here. There's builders unexpectedly turn up so we've got a nice peaceful Sunday now which is delightful pen any dog Barkin but I think we'll be okay.

06:56.60

philjstreet

Yeah, beautiful. Yes and no indeed and I'm I'm like that as well was mine but I thought that I think she's she'll be fine. Um, so you're recording from home today which is now Gloucestershire.

07:12.66

Clare Johnson

It is so I live in Lidtan which is on the um welsh border which is absolutely lovely. Lovely part of the world and and yet's it's bizarre because we're starting to get out and about a bit more and so this week we're off to askco. Um, for royal which is super exciting. That's my first one said exo and but yeah, we've got our little home office set up that was the priority when we moved in and myself on my other half both work from home and so it's nice to have somewhere to bees.

08:10.74

philjstreet

Paint.

08:32.53

philjstreet

Um, right, it's almost a kind of normal part of life now isn't it like it's it's going to be if you had a 3 bedroom house. 1 of those bedrooms is now going to be an office if it wasn't before.

08:40.16

Clare Johnson

Yeah, absolutely and lockdown was a bit crazy in our house. So my other half is a chef and who was teaching and culinary zoom classes during lockdown as well. So we were trying to keep the dogs out of those as well. Which didn't go as successfully.

09:18.98

philjstreet

Um, right.

09:18.86

Clare Johnson

And but it was a a weird time if you had have said to someone three years ago I'm going to get 15 people on a Zoom call to you know make a 3 course dinner. You would absolutely think that person's out of their mind but it it worked and me.

09:54.60

philjstreet

Yeah.

10:07.80

philjstreet

It's incredible. Isn't it how things change.

09:55.80

Clare Johnson

And I think there's a lot more. So for me I feel like I engage with people who I maybe wouldn't have previously because of the way we work now. So it's it's much easier to just say you know, let's let's get 15 minutes together and you get to meet them essentially rather than just an email or a call. So.

10:47.88

philjstreet

Yeah.

10:33.96

Clare Johnson

like sudexa what there's over:

11:03.24

philjstreet

Wow yeah, crike yeah well, we'll get on that um in in a moment. Well ah, really intrigued to learn what it is that your your role does because it's not a role I've come across personally so hopefully that will give people some insight into and at just another thing that you can do in this industry. Um, but obviously before all of that let take us back. How did you get into the industry in the none place because I'm detecting that you didn't originate from Gloucestershire or Suffolk.

11:45.92

Clare Johnson

Correct and I was about to do a terrible glos to share impression but I'll not do that for fear in light of the country and but yeah, so born in Belfast and where hospitality is in our blood. You know I am constantly even now.

12:12.48

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

12:24.28

Clare Johnson

If I've got people coming to visit. They're like why are you putting on so much food. Why so many drinks. It's just but we do we love getting together and so very much my family were that way oriented it. You know, big family get togethers loads of food, loads of drinks obviously and.

13:13.86

philjstreet

Obviously that's a that's a celtic thing isn't it really.

13:02.48

Clare Johnson

Yeah, yeah, that's that's ah, a sort of part of it. It's ah it's an unwritten and but loved it and and got into a bit of singing and scar loved anything theater or you know entertainment based so when I was 18 there was a job that came up in the grand opera house in Belfast so beautiful listed building frank matchum theater. It was the absolute dream and and I was very lucky that I got to perform there with a bit of it and through dramatics group.

14:27.14

philjstreet

Um, right? um.

14:17.90

Clare Johnson

And so clearly I thought my only career was going to be I'm going to be famous going to be on the west end stage and yeah, obviously there was nothing else for it but took my None job there working within hospitality and absolutely loved it. I was.

14:46.46

philjstreet

Obviously.

14:58.64

Clare Johnson

Obsessed. It was my life. So my friends were from work. You know when I had free time we went to see the shows at work and it was so diverse. So when I say hospitality you know people just automatically think food service and you know sort of chefs. That was a completely different tangent to what hospitality is so stage door the best job in the theater you get to see all of the gossip you get to see the celebrities coming through and it was amazing. But we we had a great. Set up so we had our own restaurant there with lots of good irish produce and we had the bars obviously a massive part of it that overlooked and great Victoria Street in Belfast and we had a renovation and sort of my first year there which. Was a big thing because it was one of our mean venues and suddenly we had this whole modern attachment to it with restaurants and different vos and but phenomenal and and I worked there for my first few years when to go off to university because.

17:18.42

philjstreet

Right.

17:24.68

Clare Johnson

do when you're like you know:

17:52.48

philjstreet

That's a very good point.

18:00.34

Clare Johnson

Told my mom and dad this is brilliant I absolutely love it. Best decision ever and then I came home at Christmas and said I don't want to go back and miss home. Yeah it it absolutely was not for me I wasn't I think I missed not working and seeing people.

18:31.44

philjstreet

Are really wow. Great.

18:39.10

Clare Johnson

It was very bizarre. So and all.

18:57.60

philjstreet

Now you see that's that's actually a damn good point because I think um and I've I've listened to lots of other podcasts not just within the hospitality Realm and a lot is in at the moment. The big discussion is around. Sending people to University and especially these days back in my day we used to get student grants and things like that. So It was much easier to do ah you and fees were all paid by by government. But now if you want to go to University you got to put yourself into quite a lot of debt before you even consider working. So.

19:28.76

Clare Johnson

With.

20:04.22

philjstreet

There's that but 2 there's also if you just don't engage with academia or whatever you shouldn't push yourself into that right? I mean if ah, you've just learned something about yourself at quite a young age. Actually you just want to be in it. You want to get stuck in and get going.

20:14.58

Clare Johnson

Yeah, and all my friends were doing it. So I just assumed That's what I have to do or else I'm not going to have a good job or I'm going to really struggle I Genuinely thought I would struggle in life if I didn't go and do it and.

21:05.88

philjstreet

Yeah.

20:53.88

Clare Johnson

I Guess I really enjoyed the hospitality part of University as in going out for student night I was very good at that element of student life and and you know did did okay with the work but absolutely just was not my bag and massively missed home and.

21:20.82

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

21:31.86

Clare Johnson

You know, only child from Ireland you stir family around her all the time and then suddenly you're in england on your own. It was very very scary. So it it was a bit of a and I feel like I took a bit of a knock to my pride because I was very much you know.

22:19.54

philjstreet

Um.

22:09.58

Clare Johnson

Very proud of getting to go to university and my mom did the irish mom thing of our clers going to university and me andland. Ah, yeah, yet the local news the local paper that Claire went to university.

22:36.72

philjstreet

Um, now and that was on the news that yeah yeah, yeah.

22:42.24

Clare Johnson

And so had a bit big lump on my throat when it came back and said I actually don't think this is for me and and I was very lucky I I got grants and to go and student loans because of our circumstance. But absolutely it was not for me I wasn't going to waste another 3 years doing it.

23:32.42

philjstreet

Yeah, how did they take that.

23:19.66

Clare Johnson

Him I think they were secretly happy because I think they as much as they would never have admitted it missed me a bit too and but I think I was very and there was no judgment. You know from them. Um, but they were very adamant.

23:54.40

philjstreet

Um, right.

23:57.46

Clare Johnson

That if I came back I need to do something so I need to you know, get a job get my head down and because basically Ellen Mccrory was not going to have me living in her house for free. So I had to go and get a job and so I went straight back to the theater. And it was like going back to my family and they took took me in. You know we knew it wasn't for you but we didn't want to say anything we knew you'd be back and and I was so happy to be back in all honesty and so I worked my way up there. So I worked a bit in the box office.

24:52.46

philjstreet

Um, right.

25:07.18

Clare Johnson

And did a bit with hospitality but a customer service as well and and absolutely loved it. So it. It went straight back. It was as if I'd never left and and you know really got some great opportunities there so got promoted to the box office coordinator which was the None time ever. Having some responsibility and and it was very early 20 s and managing you know women who have been there for maybe 35 40 years and and and this not great. Um, and I will quote I will quote verbatim um.

26:21.28

philjstreet

Um, yeah, how how did that go? um.

26:23.96

Clare Johnson

If my son ever came home with you I think oh dear God No ah yeah.

26:48.60

philjstreet

Oh my life got some That's a bit harsh.

26:38.90

Clare Johnson

Yeah, I'm thinking oh god I'm not very good at this job and they don't like me in this and that and it was a it took a while it took a while to find my feet with it. But 1 thing they could never deny is I loved that theater if you had have cut me open. It was the grand opera house within it.

27:32.24

philjstreet

Right.

27:18.90

Clare Johnson

Um, and there was a front of house Manager position came up and and this is actually why I went to University in the None place so roll came up I thought this is me no one knows the theater better than me, no one knows our customers and had a bit of a you know. Yeah, you apply for it where it were expect in your application I couldn't wait and and then actually they hired someone who had a degree and that was what made me go Oh. That's why she got it over me. It couldn't possibly be that she was more skilled. It just was the degree and.

28:17.40

philjstreet

Right.

28:32.00

Clare Johnson

But I think that's been a realund of contention for me as I've got older. So for young people now I hear when they say to me oh well, you need to go to Uni I need to do this I need to have this gcsc. No, you need to have a great work ethic and you need to have a passion for what we do and.

29:18.78

philjstreet

Um, here here.

29:11.30

Clare Johnson

Think as a I think as an industry we think we've got that message across to young people and we absolutely have not because they still think it So at an event the other week I had a young person say to me. Do you think I could work for a company like sudexo. And my mind was absolutely blown because I thought of course you can why? Why wouldn't you but they see if you get great. You can come if not absolutely not but this this was where Chef's rule and it was heartbreaking.

30:17.60

philjstreet

Yeah, if if you go and get a degree. Yeah yeah, but yeah, it.

30:24.50

Clare Johnson

To think that he he wouldn't think that he'd be welcomed in and so for me, that's a big part of the message and to young people and you know doing graduate events and everything are you know? brilliant, but you need to speak to young people from None about what the industry is because. There are moms and dads out there. There are teachers there are there are tutors saying god don't get into hospitality. You'll never have a weekend. You'll never have an evening and there's no career progression when actually there's people who again.

31:29.78

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

31:33.80

Clare Johnson

ted myself against when I was:

33:02.34

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, that's such a wonderful thing. You just said around about the fact that you you know it's kind of afforded you so much right? and this perception that we have or not we that work in the industry but the perception of the world.

32:50.56

Clare Johnson

You know.

33:37.00

philjstreet

Of what what hospitality is exactly what you just said there about the fact that be prepared to lose your life Effectively, you know that you won't have a life out of work and La La La and all that sort of thing and this is this this thing that really kind of does my head and around that whole thing is that this.

33:22.44

Clare Johnson

Are.

34:16.76

philjstreet

Like it's an isolation. It's the only industry where at the entry level in some instances you have to work your socks off to get to the next level every industry if you want to get ahead has that element attached to it like if you if you really want to accelerate your career. You cannot be afraid of.

34:11.94

Clare Johnson

Um.

34:56.62

philjstreet

Hard work and hard work doesn't mean necessarily long hours. It means in these moments where you find out find you're out of your comfort zone. It's about pushing through and learning how to make that part of your comfort zone and all of these sorts of things and that's that's the the message for me that we need to get. Much much better at is just telling the world that actually you know what working hard is not a bad thing but you know at the same at the same by the same Token. We've got to um, just tell people that once you've broken through these barriers. This industry is just.

35:28.74

Clare Johnson

Um, one.

35:55.52

Clare Johnson

Yeah, and you learn all of these skills that aren't necessarily put in pints or making cocktails. So I've been thrown on the bar before had no idea.

36:15.00

philjstreet

Amazing.

36:22.64

Clare Johnson

Whatever was doing but I'd like to say that my people's skills got me through that when they were bringing things back I could go Oh it's fine like they they we had that great communication that you only get in hospitality where.

36:48.96

philjstreet

Um, that.

36:49.40

Clare Johnson

They they would absolutely have excused that because I think I was very honest with them. Oh this is my None item I'm doing this I'm doing that and it was great to see because I was terrified on like you know, but from here absolutely fine underneath the hands was she and I was like that's all ongoing below and.

37:18.82

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

37:35.42

philjstreet

Um, we have.

37:27.92

Clare Johnson

But you know I I picked that up and when I first moved england and I took a job with Warner leisure and again that was one of those all incompassin that was my life so it was a lovely coastal village in Suffolk and and that was another.

37:58.40

philjstreet

Right? yeah.

38:04.92

Clare Johnson

Whole facet to hospitality that I didn't know so I actually worked in the entertainment team there but again loads a crossover with the bar with the you know the the cater inside and oh my goodness they worked just as hard as we did and it was. It was unbelievful and it was the most surreal experience so people are eating a roast dinner None nute and then you're up there dancing to dream girlss 2 minutes ah you know, giving them a motown show and but it was great. So that was a different type of hospitality where. You really got to know your customers because they they were often there a few times a year they would be there. Maybe for the stint of a wake and on Christmas morning and we we spent that Christmas morning with them and that was my none one I guess where it really hit home that. I was actually changing. People's lives just through being in hospitality because those people treated us like family. You know that day and they they spent they spent their own harder and money to come and stay with us for that week. So it was actually a real privilege you know.

40:37.96

philjstreet

Yeah.

40:30.44

Clare Johnson

I think you've got 2 ways of looking at it. You can say oh I've not got Christmas morning and I don't get to do this or I've made someone's Christmas morning by being there and spending it with them so that was a big turnum point for me and hospitality. Not.

41:05.96

philjstreet

Um, yeah, but that's ah, but and that's about you controlling your own reaction to something right? because I think ah I definitely was guilty of that on more than None occasion in my early career of going ah god I've got like the the Christmas eve shift. Or something like that and okay I was getting double time and that's great, but then the moment that you kind of realize stop looking for the problem in something and actually start looking for the fun I mean it was such a subtle. Mind shift change. It's kind of got its roots in those who believe they can and those who believe they can't are both right? You know if you believe that you're going to go to a shift and have a crap shift then you're probably going to have a crap shift equally if you if you go there with the intention to.

42:17.66

Clare Johnson

Yeah.

42:46.70

philjstreet

Make somebody's day whether that's a colleague or a guest or whatever. Um, you know you'll end up having a cracking day yourself. Um as well and it's such a you know we can control that ourselves. We don't have to let the the world you know imprint on us all the time god I'm ranting today Anna.

42:40.94

Clare Johnson

Policy.

43:01.98

Clare Johnson

Ah, we would very deep very quickly. But yeah know it was a great job. It was tough. You know lots of split shifts and you know you would find me sort of just sleeping on some chairs bunch together like the back often and.

43:22.96

philjstreet

Um, not going to do a podcast on a Sunday again ja we have.

43:40.50

Clare Johnson

But it was great. It was absolutely if so fun as well. Like where else would you get all of these other people your age in 1 place where you're all sort of doing the same thing and and I think it was that was a big learning curve for me in working out.

44:16.74

philjstreet

Um.

44:15.10

Clare Johnson

Where do I sit within the the grand scheme of all these people who work here. So I'm really privileged within sudexo that I run our and will I coach our our generations council with a fantastic lady called Nicola and and the whole focus on that is. Young people within the industry older people within the industry people in the middle of their career that might have you know they might be current for their own parents but they have their own kids and they're also work on full time and it's a big part of that seek first they understand so when I worked at Warner you know. Initially I was thinking. Well why? Why is this woman on the bar shooting at me for J And X Y And Z because you know I just didn't get it. Actually if I had a step back and looked at it. She ran that bar so successfully for 20 years before I even you know mosied on to the site to do anything of course. She knows better than me and I just needed to shut up for None nutes and listen to her to actually understand what she was trying to get at and something that never will go away so we're really big on trying to make people understand that you know what some people their kids might have grown up.

46:38.78

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

46:44.68

Clare Johnson

Left home. Maybe they don't have their partner there anymore and work is their main focus so that is why they are super picky about the coffee machine that is why they're so invested in the customers getting exactly what they want because that is a big focus in their life. Just because you've came in and you're None and your main priority is going out at the weekend and maybe just getting a bit of money before you work out what you want to? do you need to understand where that other person's coming from and vice versa. So I think that's maybe something on our industry that we either do me amazingly well.

48:03.20

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

48:01.56

Clare Johnson

Or quite terrible. There's they're just to be a middle ground but it's the 1 place you'll get people from 16 to you know I think our and old entire last year was sort of late 70 s what an amazing me straight that's soco.

48:37.60

philjstreet

Right? That's correct. Yeah, totally totally and that's you know we can totally win by just having that mindset because you know we we all talk very very openly about the ah the staffing crisis that's happening in front of our eyes. But the the solutions to this are right in front of our eyes you know and um, part of that is ah is obviously around attracting more people in but it's also about getting the message right to do that. But then it's also about making sure that we look after them and listen with respect. Um, when they do come in.

48:59.44

Clare Johnson

Um, but.

49:30.10

Clare Johnson

Counsel.

49:51.46

philjstreet

Um, and that you know hiring somebody who's age 77 you must have done exactly that right? What What is it that you need in your life right now and a lot of the time and this is incredibly presumptuous of me to say so but at that time of life because I have parents who are that age as well. They just they seek somewhere to be and to. Converse with people and to feel a part of something um and that you know hospitality can totally give them that.

50:26.72

Clare Johnson

Completely and the other end of the spectrum as well with young people makes me laugh because companies need to just stop thinking. You're going to have loads of 16 and seventeen year olds rock up looking for a job that's absolutely not going to happen so you need to go to them.

51:14.60

philjstreet

Um.

51:04.28

Clare Johnson

And so we've been super lucky and I know that m spoke about it with the Raymond Blanc program where we're taking on None chefs None apprentices and they're not going to be forthcoming so we did some events in London and. And it was to really get those scurdo in who maybe wouldn't have had that opportunity. Otherwise so it was a classroom of sixteen year olds and I am more nervous presenting to them sometimes than a board of directors because they will tell you you know miss I don't like your dress a.

52:27.10

philjstreet

Are.

52:14.68

Clare Johnson

You've got you go to her. Ah but I would like to say that I always tend to find something with them that lets us have a good day but we and did an event in partnership with hit training where we cooked bowel buns for the day. So it was a food tech class so they've done it in schedule. Let's take you out of school different environment and let's put a real tangible job right here where we're not going to pay you the apprenticeship wage. We're going to pay you more where you're going to get to do some work experience at a Miche and star establishment.

53:46.34

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

53:30.44

Clare Johnson

Mind-blowing at that age. You know what I was so shocked we have one of the tudors say their Julianne cuts are better than some chefs I've had in here for 5 years the skill level of them and you know shouting at each other for the place not being clayton.

54:09.98

philjstreet

Um, wow.

54:09.12

Clare Johnson

I couldn't believe it. There was one girl who we've subsequently offered to which is amazing but she had everyone cleaning up she but getting them morganed and I thought the skill level you have here at 16 is mega and.

54:56.88

philjstreet

Yeah.

54:44.70

Clare Johnson

The interviews we we've had None were basically the interview panel were all trying not to cry because this young man articulated why he wanted to be a chef better than I've heard anyone do before you know he he came out with the phrase. Well. Foods love like food is love in my house. That's it we cook for each other and I think I can do that for other people to make make their day.

55:54.12

philjstreet

Yeah, ah God I mean that's such a powerful place to start right? in terms of like if that's the connection to your heart around why you want to do something? Um, ah what are yeah, that's and you know what that totally makes a mockery as well of the you know how.

55:43.88

Clare Johnson

Um, yeah.

56:32.42

philjstreet

We love in business to pigeonhole people into generations gen z gen x millennials so on and so forth. Um, and as a result of that people talk to people in a certain way because their expectation is oh well, you're a gens ed so. You know you don't care or whatever like that. But I can absolutely guarantee you that the generational divide has been happening since time began and um and we are no better at it now than two hundred years ago so let's focus on being better at that because.

57:13.98

Clare Johnson

Um, filming.

57:44.14

philjstreet

Actually and this comes back to your point earlier on around the fact that if you talk about um, just you're taking a step back and treating somebody with respect in terms of yes I have a perception of what you might want. But actually if I just stop and listen to you for a second. Maybe I'll learn more about what you need. Rather than me just making the assumption that you need this because you happen to be 19 years old and you fit into a certain category. Um, yeah, what solving problems to they clear are.

58:05.20

Clare Johnson

Camilla.

58:11.56

Clare Johnson

Yeah, yeah, people constantly we're we're putting the word to write but it it is hospitality brings out that. Part in people and you see a different side of people So I had a great stint working at hit trainn which and obviously the Leadingen hospitality apprenticeship company and I account manage to dick So So came full of circles to come rhythm. Yeah, so.

59:18.40

philjstreet

Yeah. Um, Ah yeah.

59:19.18

Clare Johnson

I went to the first m salon cullaire and my nerves were wrecked because for a start it felt like there was 47 forks on the table and I didn't know which one is should be using and you know and I've never heard of this on data chef what is this? what is happening I'm not aware and.

::

philjstreet

Ah.

59:58.64

Clare Johnson

The apprenticeship manager for sudexa was there and she was quite new to me and and again intern is now my current manager so everything came full circle and but you really try to impress her was super. You knowscured of getting anything wrong and she was such a you know.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

Drives a hard bargain but she knows what she's doing. She's a brilliant lady to work with and and there was a a waitress at our table who was petrified. She was shaken and I watched her take her to the side and sort of say you're doing an amazing job Tonight. You've absolutely nothing. To be nervous about we all think you're brilliant have confidence in yourself and it was the most unexpected and direction that I I just wasn't expecting it at all and that let me see so much more about about Sue my manager then.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

Than I ever could have got on an email or a phone call or you know I I and from that day I've seen her pull up loads of people where she's went. Don't speak to your stuff like that in front of people and do this because she she's been an operator. She loves the industry.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

She loves getting young people into it So she's she's definitely you know Justice like she makes sure people are looked after and that's um, yeah, that's something I've taken from her as well because when we're out you know in normal life.

::

philjstreet

Um, my La Yeah yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

I Always make a point of speaking to our serb staff and telling them how amazing they've been or you know obviously there's the the front of house back of house divide in our house having the chef and me but we both love the industry and love talking to young people wherever they're from And. We've had some amazing experiences just hearing about people and what their plans are so you know that it's It's such ah, an amazing thing to see and that's young people also need to step ah back and say you know older people aren't all without to get me. They might be there to develop me.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

And that's something for me I you know sometimes I'll be you know doing a meeting or doing whatever putting a plan together and it feels like you know you get to old this is wrong. You haven't done that right? you haven't done this but I have never had so much development than I've had in the past six months at sitex. So i'm. Ah, different person six months on because it's completely different kettle of fish. You know it's massive. It's you know we you're doing royal ascot 1 minute and then there's a hospital cater in plan the next It's what a way to see the industry as a whole and and actually.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

We we spoke about how university wasn't for me I have decided to do my degree now. So I'm in going into my third year yeah and also you know big fan of apprenticeships obviously because it's what I do but doing it through the apprenticeship levy having it funded for me.

::

philjstreet

Now and why not right.

::

Clare Johnson

It's a No- brainer I mean sometimes it's not a no-brainer when you've left all of the coursework to the last weekend which is what I All do.

::

philjstreet

I but that was kind of um ah was exactly the same I I almost felt like I needed that pressure to excel and some I'd like used to so surprise myself with some of the stuff that I'd come out with and I would. Used to annoy all of my mates that I'd inevitably get an a or a b or some a pretty good Mark having just left it to the last minute and these people poor people had put two months of effort in and actually I'm going to I'm going to tell a little story that I've never told anyone. Before but this yeah and actually I might have people who might alienate themselves for me because because what I'm about to say but I um back in the the early days once I'd got my degree the none um, major job that I had out of university was with piano cruises and you know that question.

::

Clare Johnson

We're getting the gossip.

::

philjstreet

That you get asked and I don't have people still ask this question I hate it. But what are your weaknesses. Um I I I was twenty years old when I was at the interview I didn't really have much interview experience and I always said to them which is a complete lie. Um. I've never been academically brilliant I've always had to work hard for my grades right? I know and if anybody from piano is listening I'm sorry but I turned out to be a pretty good employee. So hopefully you're not going to lamb bast me that that bad.

::

Clare Johnson

Um, oh you liar? um.

::

philjstreet

Ah, stayed with them for None years so um and got promoted multiple times in that time. So um I obviously wasn't that bad. But yeah I it's I don't even know what my point around this is where um yeah, who cares? yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

But um and got drawn to the article tech.

::

Clare Johnson

I Think it's but originally we spoke it like me going to Deuni and doing now. But yeah, you do have some people do fantastically well with time management I am not one of those people know if any of our apprentices from sex or listening. Do not take my advice work hard the whole way me leaving into the last minute and but you know what? so.

::

philjstreet

Yes, and did but actually probably the main point ah around that is that that everybody's brain works differently right? and ah for me I needed that pressure in ah in order to focus fully I know that.

::

Clare Johnson

And.

::

philjstreet

The way that I work if if I've got three months to complete an assignment and I start it on day one you know with ninety days to complete it that my mind will wander and I'll go over there and you know and I'll think about oh okay, but if I've got something that says to me, you've got to get this done in the next. 24 to 4 8 hours I'm you know I'm fully focused and I have tried to break that cycle in the past. Um, and it's obviously just part of me so you just accept then that that's part of you and if that's the way you operate make sure that you're operating to that.

::

Clare Johnson

Um, yeah.

::

philjstreet

That way if if that's what gets the best out of you.

::

Clare Johnson

And I have to say we get these assignments on you know, project management and finance and this and that and you would I think to an outsider saidexo could seem so corporate so you know Business-y and you Know. Maybe doesn't have that family element. You couldn't be more wrong. So when I'm doing my assignments you know I will tap up our financial director and say hey can you give me a hand because this makes no sense to my little brain and not one person has ever Said. No.

::

philjstreet

Um, right.

::

Clare Johnson

They've always helped me doesn't matter whether it's one of our senior project managers finance each or whoever they will always give me a hand with it and and that's I think going to be my journey over the next couple of years to you know, let young people see what a career at Sadxo could be. You know you you can you can move countries look how many countries we're in you can change Industry. We've had. We've a chef start with us who have ended up the financial director of a segment and we read them because that's what they wanted to do where else so you want to be able to do that. Um, So yeah, it's It's been.

::

philjstreet

That.

::

philjstreet

Um, right. Yeah, well.

::

Clare Johnson

A whirlwind of six months but you know we've had I've just got to meet so many amazing young people and that's you know, getting young people involved is half the bowel. It's about making sure you look after them and understand them because there you know I think some people almost. Make them sound like they're aliens oh a sixteen year old can I hire them. Could they use a knife. Yes, of course they can like they're they're completely capable. You just need to give them that extra bit of support and there's the passion alone.

::

philjstreet

Yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

From from the young people. We've had 3 d and review has been phenomenal and getting. Yeah.

::

philjstreet

But that's amazing to hear. It's wonderful to hear and and you need to shout about that loudly.

::

Clare Johnson

Completely and that's you know I'm very lucky to be part of the the institute of Hospitalities Youth Council as well and that's maybe that next step on in career where people are you know, having their none management position or. You know, really just starting to find out what they want to do and likewise from that the passion for our industry if if that group of people are going to be our next set of gms and you know chefs then I feel like the the industry will be.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, we're in sound hands. Yeah, no indeed. Absolutely I'm I'm very very conscious that we've kind of your career story has not been. We've not done a straight line here.

::

Clare Johnson

Cf Hans We just need more of them.

::

philjstreet

We've kind of done a little bit of that and a little bit of that. Are we missing any gold from your career so far in terms of because actually one of the roles I I wrote down so just because of the job title I thought it was a cracking job title was National relationship manager managing the nation's relationships.

::

Clare Johnson

Completely, you need to get me into parliament and then I'll manage all of those relationships but that which is probably easier than trying to run apprenticeships sometimes but no, that was amazing. I met some characters in the industry. So. You know, worked with you so she and on their apprenticeship scheme met an amazing whirlwind of a man called Dan who he and I hope he forgives me if you're saying this. He's a bit weird. He's a bit strange and I thought I'm a bit weird I'm a bit strange I like you I can be you and he had this.

::

philjstreet

Um.

::

Clare Johnson

Great role, very similar to what I do know and he was so unapologetically himself he wore horrendously and Hawaiian print shirts to business meetings. He ah you should get him on here. He is phenomenal and he started off as an operator as well.

::

philjstreet

Um, ah think I like him.

::

Clare Johnson

Manage one of their sites and the whole team there were just so open to everything and you know got to work across loads of amazing clients though you know and it it was all different parts of the industry and really getting them to understand. The importance of learning and development and apprenticeships within their business and likewise on the hit side of things you know, got to learn from some of the industry greats I mean there's Jill Whitaker who's just been announced to her and her oba you know, ah amazing. I've got to work with her. You know.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah, absolute legend.

::

Clare Johnson

Just people who are experts in they're field and and you know that what a a great way and we say about family and industry I have met my Noi fiance from working at hit and you know and that's been that does show that it's Family. You know it's. Um, still get to work with them in my job Now. That's amazing and but that you know I've worked in employability getting people into jobs apprenticeships recruitment and it feels like the rule night is a really lovely mix.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

Of All of those things you know it's a bit of recruitment. It's a bit of L and D it's a bit of back to Floor. It's it's everything and so it's it's I think I've had the most crazy career at the age of 33 you know I've done so many different things and. I Think it was a really good point that you said your career's been this this and this because it's not followed a line. It's not been. You know I start off doing finance and then I was an accounts assistant and then I had hospitality doesn't have to be like that I have bounced about and.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah, um.

::

Clare Johnson

And that's been the best thing for me now I have actually been able to settle to go this is it. This is the Colin and which is amazing. Um I wouldn't have but that in any other industry.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah, and I think that that's the wonderful single isn't it as well because you can have that linear career as well. If you want it like it's it's easily there but you can as you quite rightly put I mean you've you've worked in multiple little sectors within the sector. Um, and um. If. It takes you 10 years it takes you twenty years thirty years to find that thing as long as you're still feeling a connection to what you're doing then you know it doesn't really matter how long it takes does it we we don't need to be in a hurry to get to the end goal. Um, it can be a really interesting journey if you just let yourself move off to the left and the right and the up and the down a little bit.

::

Clare Johnson

And some of us are just hospitality people I did a very small stint and in a state agency in the middle because I thought I'm I'm going to do this. This is this is a real job I'm going to blow. Um I I just didn't I missed people.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

And I missed working with people and I missed that team when I missed the rush of like we need to make this happen and you know we need to recruit that many people or we need to feed that many people it wasn't there for me So at a great time and picked up some skills but hospitality is not going to get rid of me anytime soon I think I'll be here until.

::

philjstreet

Yeah.

::

philjstreet

Well that is music to my ears. You're um, you're absolutely a shining light for for this industry I'm not letting you off the hook yet before you go I'm conscious of time a little bit but there's ah, a couple of questions I want to ask you before I let you go 1

::

Clare Johnson

Till a stop.

::

philjstreet

Stories I Always like to ask people if they've got any funny stories from their career so far that they can share. Um, yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

That's the trouble can I no I there's not been any in you know in particular that sort of stick out for me that have been you know traumatic orious and. I think it's just been the whole journey of it. You know there's nothing in particular that makes me you know I've had some amazing times you know we've had some great laughs and you see people move through their life as well in hospitality which is. Absolutely am amazing. But no no m traumatic stories or hilarious ones that it can be but I'll think of Roman hang up. No doubt.

::

philjstreet

And that's very very disappointing. Yeah, but of course no not and then there's so many people that have I've said to me. Yeah, once we stopped recording. Um, if we catch up for a pint I'll I'll tell you some stories.

::

Clare Johnson

Um, yeah, probably not. That's probably the the issue. Ah I did of a terrible one I did of a terrible one.

::

philjstreet

And that's when you get the the real but nothing that you could ever air in public. Um, yeah I think they keep the key thing up open on gone.

::

Clare Johnson

And so when I worked in the box office that was the height of and you know going out having a great party time and and accidentally booked a family to go and see high school musical instead of the opera because I think I wasn't firing on all cylinders I might have been might have been slightly hungover. Um.

::

philjstreet

Ah, you know.

::

Clare Johnson

And it wasn't until later on in the day I Thought that's just definitely right? So very luckily caught it in time but nearly sent a very yeah, a very posh family to high school musical. What but.

::

philjstreet

Ah I Almost wish you hadn't ah you'd you'd have improved their life. No end. Yeah and did absolutely. It's ah it's a fun, fun musical. Um, no, that's awesome.

::

Clare Johnson

Um, they might have enjoyed it. Um.

::

philjstreet

You've covered a few of these probably throughout our chat. But what would be your top 3 reasons to to come and join hospitality.

::

Clare Johnson

The family so they become your family and even if you don't intend them to be and I have you know as you get older things happen that you don't Expect. You know you you go through some pretty tough times. And in your life Naturally as everyone does and I Honestly don't think I would have got through it if it hadn't been for the family that I worked with at the time and say the second one is so for me I'm a big imposter syndrome I always feel like I shouldn't be in the room. Was feeling like everyone's far more skilled than me and they know what they're doing Actually I had some amazing compliments and support from people who I never would have thought would have backed me but there's an amazing quote and and. It's amazingt how far you can go if someone believes in you. So for me I feel like I still get a lot of that from from my team Atsedex So but I get to believe in other young people to come in and so I think again, that's something that you will definitely get within the industry.

::

philjstreet

Ah, for sure.

::

philjstreet

Yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

And and then thirdly it's not going anywhere. Yes, we've had a blip with the the dreaded word that we'll not say but yeah, yeah, voltimort, but where people will never stop.

::

philjstreet

That shall not be named. Yeah.

::

Clare Johnson

Wanting to have good food to go and see a show to go and have a drink with their friends and actually you get to be part of that you know you get to see so many celebration dinners for engagements, you get to say you know celebrations of a great school report. It doesn't. Matter You also get to be there sometimes in hospitality and the other side of it like us within hospitality or you know defense. There's you You don't realize how much of an impact you can have in someone's life just from being in hospitality.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, now here here I think everything that you've discussed has been absolutely on point as I say you're an absolute positive beacon I'm so delighted that I've gotten to know you loosely so far. But we're getting there with everyone because we we got to know each other. Iu networking events I None saw you do a panel at the shard. Um, and you know you were on that panel with some pretty heavy hitters and let me tell you you were the one that everybody was talking about. So um, you're you're um, you're moving in the right direction you're pointing around.

::

Clare Johnson

Um, hopeful.

::

philjstreet

People seeing something in you I think ask anybody in this industry if they would be where they were without somebody seeing something in them at some point in their career that they didn't see in themselves. Um I think it's such a valid point and um I thank you so so much for spending. Some time with us today to share your story.

::

Clare Johnson

No problem at all. Thank you so much for having me and and yeah, can't wait to see he else is on in the future I love listening to this. This is my weekend podcast. So yes, thank you proud me. It's a privilege thanks Bill you 2

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philjstreet

Miss you no problem at all have a cracking Sunday head take care bye.