Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gals We Admire: Krista McLay

So what's it like to be working in business development for one of the hottest restaurant chains in the country? We find out from Krista McLay, who offers us a glimpse into her anything-but-typical daily work life. 
Name: Krista McLay
Job Position Title: Business Development Manager - Jack Astor’s - SIRcorp

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
I am lucky because I don’t have a typical day! Each day varies, but I’ll try to give you a glimpse into what a day might look like. Most days I start off with a meeting with the Event Coordinators that I oversee to do a "check in" and offer support, advice and facilitate. Each day I work out of a different location (across Canada), sometimes at a restaurant, other times at our offices. I often have meetings with various vendors and suppliers to discuss the next ‘up and coming’ idea or product and to decide which restaurants would benefit from the initiative. Next would be a meeting with our president, VP of HR and Marketing team discussing new restaurant openings and what our plan of action consists of for these. Through all of this my phone seems to be dancing with the calls and e-mails coming in from Event Coordinators/GMs/RDs and the Marketing team to discuss approvals, ideas and support. My day is far from over! I am regularly off to a meeting with a committee of some sort- whether it be a mixer for a business improvement association or a launch party with a supplier. Some days I am hands on helping with events and the next day I can be on the street working out details of a guerilla marketing program. Then off to a meeting at our head office! They can be long days filled with varied responsibilities but the days just seem to fly by!

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I always wanted to be a dancer growing up. I think that is almost every little girls dream. Then I wanted to win a Nobel Prize - for what... I don’t know... but I knew I wanted to win one. I knew I wanted to do something where I could help people and make a difference. There is nothing more rewarding then working with a restaurant and seeing the sales increase because of an initiative that I was involved with.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love that I have the opportunity to meet new people each day. Nothing is ever the same from day to day so it is always an adventure. I also work with a very talented team and I find myself learning new skills and working with them to create new concepts in the most unexpected ways.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Being a female (a young one at that) in any corporate company can have its challenges. I have learned very quickly that if you can earn respect from those you work with by using your skills, having a strong work ethic and natural talent that you can achieve anything. It can be difficult at times to balance the 1000 things that need to get done in a day and wear my many different hats, but that is what keeps it exciting.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
I believe I am very lucky to have this career - I love it! I would never have thought five years ago that I would be the Business Development Manager for Jack Astor’s - SIRcorp, but this opportunity came when I was least expecting it. I have always had a way when meeting new people and shaking hands... I really just enjoy people. At a party I am always the one looking to know everyone by the end of the night. If you are in a room with me and I don’t know you, you better bet I’ll make my way over to say hello. If I had to describe the perfect job for me it would look like this one.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Be confident in all that you do. You need to let everyone know that you are capable and that you have the drive to succeed. If you show your confidence others with show confidence in what you do.

Know what you can handle. It is ok to say no to certain projects and tasks if you know you can not achieve them to your standard.

Have those tough conversations. I like to believe that I am known for being a very straightforward, honest woman. I believe you must have conversations when there is conflict or miscommunication to move past the issues and continue to maintain that professional relationship moving forward. People will respect you for your honesty and taking the time to have these important conversations.


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