The year was 1985 and my catering business had gotten off to a quick start in the fall of 1984 as a Cottage Industry while raising two small boys, then 2 and 4.  I quickly realized what I could get accomplished between nap time and early bedtimes and thus I stepped into the arena of introducing myself to a few companies that might be entertaining guests during the tournament, held every first week in April in Augusta GA.  I think you know the one……

I look back at the smile on my face then and the one I have now and it’s hard to believe that this will be year 37.  I even have 3 of my original clients still in the fold and so many new ones that each year continues to be an adventure.  My family all say that I just love stress.  They also say that I always figure it out, that they have no idea how we get it all done.  Looking back now at the last two years of ups and downs related to COVID, I am just thrilled to step back into the all too familiar 3-ring circus.  We definitely know how to jump through the hoops.


Recently, my colleague and mentor, Retired Brigadier General Jeffrey Foley and one of his associates, Angela Killough, PHD, presented some Leadership ideas and strategies to the VERA team.  As I think back to how energized I was by the time the meeting ended, I have tried to focus on aspects of my career path that continue to guide and direct this process of being successful during tournament week.  Here’s my reflection:

  • Become a teacher – my education degree has paid off for me professionally and personally. I am guided by a planner; I am visionary generally for at least a nine-month window and I start my week with an outline and a long- & short-term checklist.
  • Play for a great coach – even if sports is not your physical obsession, choose it as a mentorship option. Great coaches can offer so much to each of us in real-life situations that can then prompt results that are significant and measurable.
  • Even an 8-year-old should be impressed. I have chosen that analogy so often in reference to the role I play with my Cooking Campers in the summer.  However, I have found that as they maintain their involvement, I become challenged to set the right goals and guidance and to be that person that won’t let them down.
  • Follow up and Follow Through. I have found the primary use of my planner is to write down when someone says they’ll get back to me and then 90% of the time, that hasn’t happened.  That name on that day in my planner is my nudge to be responsible for still getting what I was hoping to receive.  In the end, getting the information is the most important part, not who remembered.
  • Debrief. It’s so important to even look at the most successful aspect of an event and target improvement.  It’s rare that one might say, “It can’t get any better.”  It could if you took that same situation and applied it to another account to make it better.

So as I go into my 37th Year of Hospitality during the Masters Golf tournament, I am thankful to the event planners that expected nothing short of perfect, the staff that have stood with me year after year, the vendors and suppliers that never ask why, they just bring what I forgot and the clients that make us all love our work.  Here’s to the final month of planning and all aspects of my education background paying off!