Renee Guilbault

Renee Guilbault

Founder & CEO at Essayer Consulting

Nothing is perfectly perfect (no team, no job, no boss, no colleague, no recipe, no personal performance – you get the drift), so you can totally let that expectation go. What matters most is how you show up to do your job and navigate all of the unexpected and imperfect things you will find throughout the day, and especially how you will learn from all the things that don’t go as anticipated. The most valuable knowledge you can possibly obtain comes from the experience of things “going wrong”.

Working at Pret A Manger was a true masterclass in how to manage successful, large-scale, workforce engagement. My time there cracked open a whole new understanding of what it meant to acknowledge and reward employees for their incredible, daily efforts - and how to build effective, engaging, results-driven programs while prioritizing fun and overall employee experience. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would lean on those learnings later in my career, when I had the opportunity to oversee a large workforce (1200+ employees).
As someone who started my career as a high school dropout, I learned very quickly that the food world always provided opportunities if I was willing to show up, learn, and do the hard work. It always just felt like home. I mean truly, what possible better place is there to make a career home? Food? Drink? People? Laughter? Beautiful settings? Gorgeous dishes? And sure – it’s incredibly demanding and full of physical and emotional work – but the wild opportunities, rich learnings, and deep friendships made along the way, have more than made up for the hardships.
I only hire people who are truly passionate about what they do, not just those who have proven experience and appropriate skillsets, but those who possess a genuine desire to learn and grow, and who naturally understand and demonstrate flexibility in order to rise to the occasions as they come.
Because of the demanding nature and intensity of the jobs in the industry – if someone truly loves what they do, their passion will be the fuel that gets them through any tough times and their impact on the team environment will remain collaborative and productive.
My job as a leader is to remove the obstacles in my team’s way and provide the tools they need for our collective success – sometimes, the most powerful thing I can do is just let them know that we’re in it together and we’ll figure it out – and we always have.
One of the things I love most about this industry is the wild opportunity to grow, learn, and chase big dreams – everything is possible here! I have literally grown up in this industry, and at every stage of my career I have learned something deeply valuable, meaningful, and unexpected – and I am always excited about “what’s next”.
The one thing I can’t live without in order to do my job is Maldon Sea Salt.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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