By Alex Balletto – Copy Editor
Chartwells is here. Can you tell? I can, but it’s not because things are different. In my eyes, Valentine is incomplete without the former general manager of Sodexo, Mairead Van Heest. I’m also not sure if the college sent her away properly – the students were never able to say goodbye and thank you.
Lasell is so fortunate that Mairead was here to grow with it. She went along with the unforeseen and never said no. This is often a big weakness in people, but for her it was a strength because she could handle it with ease. As a club leader, I know serving the students was her biggest goal.
In an industry where it is not easy to please, Mairead continued to program for the students, on top of watching over dining services. Her active interest in student-life made her present, and eventually Mairead transformed into a fixture of the institution. She was always there as support with whatever was needed. Besides that and her many actual management roles, she welcomed students into Valentine with a smile, was always a nearby suggestion card, and was a friend to numerous students and faculty.
I had the pleasure of calling Mairead a friend, but first I called her my boss. Without sounding exaggerated, working for Sodexo changed my perspective on life. Besides the corporate experience I gained, I can say that Sodexo opened my eyes to diversity and a challenging work setting. It was Mairead that fostered this environment, being both durable and devoted when either was necessary.
It’s so important to recognize Mairead and her contributions to Lasell. Before I worked for Mairead, I can remember living in Woodland, looking down at 10 p.m. and thinking “wow this lady works hard for us.” That’s commendable because as I spent more time learning the industry, I learned how rare this is.
The food services industry needs compassionate and driven leaders for product improvement and, most importantly, to make sure there is always food on the table. When it comes to a compassionate and driven leader in the food industry, there is no one more relevant than Mairead. And for that we say thank you.