“All our dreams can come true- if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney.
There is a direct correlation between achieving dreams and having courage when it comes to your career. Unfortunately, our own fear of failure or criticism can hold us back from reaching our fullest potential.
Choosing a career path can be daunting. But, remember that it is a path and not a destination. All career journeys take a few detours along the way and as I have learned, those detours presented me with the greatest opportunities. By sampling several professions and testing a variety of skills, one can eventually arrive at a fulfilling career. My career path has taken a few twists and turns, but has landed me in the position that allows me to fully engage in my passion for people, as Director of Human Resources within Sodexo’s Education Market-Schools.
I began my career with Sodexo 1993 as a frontline employee in catering at a hospital – in this position I quickly realized my potential and the potential I could have with Sodexo. I loved interacting with customers and inspiring others on our team to do their best. I stayed at that location for 10 years, eventually progressing to General Manager, overseeing 100 employees and managing nearly $3 million in annual revenue.
Over the years, in order to accomplish my dream, I was continually looking for ways to improve: increasing my Operations Experience, Networking and having Mentors which inspired me. In 2003 I was promoted to General Manager of the Ridgefield Public Schools in Connecticut where I led student nutrition services serving over 3,000 students and 700 administrators daily. Those experiences helped me to always remain focused on progressive career positions within Sodexo and that’s how, just three years later I was again promoted to oversee an even larger Education account. This journey in operations taught me the importance of customer service, the significance of inspiring and leading others and the value of thinking outside the box to meet customer and client expectations. I also had the opportunity to develop others as part of strategic succession planning, which led me to my current position – Director of HR.
As an HR Director I get to combine my operational expertise, with my desire to develop and lead others. Every day I help people solve problems, inspiring them on career paths, work through challenging situations, develop people professionally, build awareness of tools and resources, support pipeline, develop and facilitate internal mobility. Although there are challenges, I feel like I’ve found my dream job.
My dream job is also reflected in my commitments to different internal and external programs : I serve on Sodexo’s Cross-Market Diversity Council, Talent Advisory Group, Internal mobility Council, IMPACT I-Team member, HRizon Team, and I am a volunteer member of all Sodexo Network Groups, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Managers), Women’s Foodservice Forum, Food Share Advisory Council, and Toastmasters. Getting involved in those initiatives/organizations is a way to give back and to help individuals who might need a support.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from a former supervisors early in my career – he said “if you always recognize what you do well and pursue it, you will love what you do.” And I love what I do!
Marci Nogueira is a director of human resources for Sodexo’s Education Market.