We asked the Silver Plate Class of 2015 a few questions to get an inside look at what makes them the operator all-stars they are today. Find out what they had to say about passion for foodservice, career accomplishments and what it means to be part of a legendary group of operators.
Nona Golledge, director, Kansas University Dining, received the Silver Plate for the Colleges & Universities category. She was nominated by Hobart, Idahoan Foods, Schwan's Food Service and Sysco Corp.
What do you enjoy most about your career in foodservice?
The most satisfying part of my career is working with and serving students. I always find time to personally meet with students and/or interns about a class project or an upcoming event. It is our goal to support the educational mission of KU and to make all Jayhawks' experience on campus a positive one. In return, the students provide valuable insight into what is important to their generation as it relates to collegiate dining. I'm always amazed by the students' energy, creativity and passion for learning.
Tell us about your biggest career accomplishment.
Merging two equally fantastic dining teams (retail/catering and residential dining) into one team, KU Dining Services, was certainly a highlight and a learning experience for all of us. Over the past eight years, we have enhanced services and created several popular destination spots for students, faculty and staff. We aren't finished yet! There are many exciting projects on the horizon - both in retail and residential dining. With the can-do spirit of the team, I'm confident we will continue to raise the bar and become even better at exceeding expectations across campus and in the Lawrence community.
How is your segment making a difference for the foodservice industry?
The collegiate hospitality segment is often one of the first to implement emerging trends. Currently, students are asking for clean and simple ingredients; more plant-based options; locally grown and/or produced food; and products that are environmentally-friendly. The food preferences of young adults are good indicators of where the industry is headed for the future. The college environment provides a unique opportunity for food service professionals on campus to partner with food and equipment manufacturers on how best to proceed with meeting the expectations of consumers.
What advice do you have for someone new to the foodservice industry?
My advice for new foodservice professionals is to learn as much about the industry as possible, stay abreast of trends and to lead from the heart. With a service-oriented industry that is rapidly changing, it requires professionals willing to be life-long learners and that are passionate about what is most important to the business - people.
What does being an IFMA Silver Plate recipient mean to you?
I'm truly honored and humbled by the recognition. I consider the Silver Plate a team award. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by so many dedicated and talented professionals. It is sincerely heartwarming to know the team is being nationally recognized for their accomplishments at KU and contributions to the foodservice industry.