Elisa Giusti -- Director of Marketing, Wholesome Harvest Baking

Tagged in Leadership Manufacturer Members

Share a story about your first job in foodservice.
Technically, my first job in foodservice was as a waitress my first year at university (something I think should be a rite of passage for every single person). My first shift on the floor was a Friday night. We were in full-on, waitlist mode, I had been "triple sat" and the family of six that had been waiting a whole 4 minutes and 24 seconds for their spinach and artichoke dip was getting a bit disgruntled with  me... I ran back into the kitchen, and not so kindly asked why my ticket wasn't up yet? What I got next was a grin, followed by a headshake.... 3 minutes and 15 seconds (aka 2 hrs front-of-house time) later, my plate got tossed up into the window, and I heard it loud and clear when I got back to my table. Two lessons still very applicable to my career today were realized: 1. You need to know how to manage people's expectations.
2. When you talk to a restaurant's "back of the house," know what you are talking about… because if  you don't, be prepared to be tuned right out.

What is your industry passion?
I thrive whenever I allow a goal to become my muse, allowing creativity to be the leading resource. I've learned that creativity can be the most useful of assets when one would least expect it to be. It brings to a situation, lenses that are rarely used. I have found this to be one the biggest factors of my success in creating meaningful and lasting relationships, not only with colleges but customers as well. Whether it is through the lanes of innovation or continuous self/organizational improvement, it has always allowed me to grow and continuously stay driven to do and be more.

What is your advice to a person new to the industry? 
Listen, A LOT. There is so much to learn, but at the same time, use that objective and outside viewpoint that you bring by being new. Keep it that way as long as you can, because the best changes are made from those who bring an idea to the table that is outside of "the way we have always done it."

How does being an IFMA member benefit you?
It has been a source of education as well as a forum to which I have been able to meet and make key relationships within our industry.

IFMA featured members are selected based on their accomplishments in the food industry. Recognized as leaders, they are the people moving the industry forward with big ideas and even bigger goals. Know someone who fits the bill? Tell us.

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Jun 12

Navy Foodservice Ashore Solutions Conference

This conference is for all on-shore military personnel, affiliates and foodservice professionals including 100+ military, Department of Defense (DOD) and 50 food manufacturers. The event makes up an eclectic group of industry personnel. 

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Michael Cannon, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Surlean Foods

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Erin Buntin, Director, Foodservice Sales, Schreiber Foods

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Robert A. Corscadden, VP Marketing & Innovation U.S. Specialty Channels, Kellogg Company

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Richard Ferranti, Executive VP and COO, Rich Products

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Mads Houlberg, President, Unilever Food Solution

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Ben Shanley, Vice President Distributor Development, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA

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Gretchen Sussman, Vice President - Foodservice North America, CSM Bakery Solutions

Gretchen develops and communicates clear and actionable strategies, while also removing barriers to her team's success at CSM Bakery Solutions. Further, she also prioritizes getting to know customers and offering value-added solutions to improve business results. Get to know her.