Recipe leaders shape their career paths by staying curious

Recipe leaders shape their career paths by staying curious

Curiosity is defined as being eager to learn, while at the same time exercising critical thinking. This skill not only empowers innovation and creativity, it also paves the way for a fulfilling career.

Lesley Penny and Winnie Minos are two examples of leaders who have successfully taken on various roles throughout their time at Recipe, demonstrating through each experience what it means to be curious. For both women, being curious has kept things interesting and allowed them to work with multiple teams and people.

Lesley attributes her 14-year career with Recipe to people recognizing her strengths and allowing her to grow and develop in various roles. “If Recipe didn’t truly Celebrate People, I would not be this fortunate,” she says.

Over the years she has worn several hats, from Fraud Risk Management to Director of Operations, and has carried elements from each to help her shape the next one – did you know she started off in the finance department of Kelseys?

“I've been so fortunate to work with people who have shared their knowledge, insight and directly or indirectly contributed to my growth and development,” she says.

For Winnie, many aspects of her roles in finance prepared her for this next chapter leading the Ultimate Dining Card team. “The knowledge and experience I gained from my previous role in finance have helped form my understanding of the economics of UDC and its impact on Recipe,” she says.

After nearly two years with Recipe as Director of Financial Reporting, she made the move and joined the Ultimate Dining Card as Senior Director, taking on a new set of challenges.

“Sales and marketing are new to me, but these are also the areas that excite me most,” says Winnie. “Working with brands and marketing teams is something I look forward to.”

There’s no denying that past roles have prepared both leaders for what they currently focus on. In addition to their everyday responsibilities, we wanted to learn more about what Lesley and Winnie had to say as female leaders in the restaurant industry. Read on for their answers.

Q. You've held so many different roles, how did you muster up the courage to try something totally new and how do you deal with the fear of failure?

Lesley: When I was growing up, it was a priority that I played different sports. When starting a new sport you get really comfortable with the fact that you are not going to perform well, you have to be okay with it. You learn the skills you have picked up translate into other sports, so the learning curve, while still there is shorter. That's helped with my mindset toward life in general. I also know that consistent effort yields wins. At the end of the day, you can't let fear or the approval of others control your narrative. Life is the sum of the actions you take, not the feelings you have.

Winnie: When I first started on the Ultimate Dining Card team, I wanted to make sure I had a clear understanding of why Recipe needed a gift card program. This led me to dig into the economics of gift cards and the financial impact it has on Recipe, our brands and our franchisees - my background in finance and accounting helped me make sense of the gift card business. What I have learned is that it's natural to have jitters when trying something new but you are never starting from square one. Believe there is value in your past experience.

Q. What is one piece of leadership advice you'd give to women in the workplace?

Lesley: Speak up and with diplomacy. Be heard, because your opinion matters. Sit at the front of the room. Hold your head high. You will say the wrong thing –it’s okay, we all do. Align with people who will tell you things that are hard to hear, but have your best interests in mind.

Winnie: Track and celebrate your successes. Believe in what you know and don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back.

Q. It's been said that diversity fosters creativity and innovation, how do you think being a woman helps foster thought and creativity within your team?

Winnie: Gender diversity is an important topic but diversity goes beyond gender. I think being open minded, curious and willing to listen helps foster thought and creativity in any group setting.

Lesley: Diversity in whatever form it takes brings a greater understanding and perspective of the world we live in. A woman's perspective is a part of that collective understanding.