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Lily Bell is an account manager for Visa Europe, one of BaxterStorey’s flagship contracts. She was one of ten finalists who impressed the judges in this year’s ACE Robyns Award. We’ve been talking to her more about her role and the industry ahead of tomorrow’s Summer Party.
What do you love most about working in contract catering?
I love the diverse nature of it with the range of industries, clients, and contracts! It gives you the opportunity to run a contract or location as if it’s your own business allowing full creativity. My role allows me to be innovative and strategic with my full focus on the client, the food and our people.
How did it feel to learn someone had nominated you for the ACE Robyns award?
I’m honoured to have been nominated for such a renowned industry award. It’s amazing to be recognised for the work I do every day at BaxterStorey and this motivates me to continue pushing when the going gets tough.
How has work life been for you during the pandemic?
To lift morale and keep spirits high, I encouraged my team to give back to the local community and created volunteering days for team members to support at a local food bank. I curated a volunteering rota for my team as well as a guide for other BaxterStorey contracts to implement similar volunteering initiatives.
Following the pandemic, I did my best to support my team and focus on building back better. I successfully proposed a staffing plan to my client that saw the employment of 28 team members secured for the foreseeable future. Not forgetting the employment of a further four team members who faced redundancy from another location.
What has been your biggest success in your role?
One of my biggest achievements has been the creation of The Wellbeing Hub at Visa Paddington which launched in March 2022. The hub is a place where employees can learn tips and tricks to help improve the wellbeing of both themselves and others. It includes talks from industry experts such as Andy Aston - Craft Guild of Chefs, Kris Hall – The Burnt Chef Project and Geoff McDonald – Mental Health campaigner.
As part of The Wellbeing Hub, we support locations with advice and initiatives to empower site managers to do more. For example, my team created the wellbeing “walk and talk” initiative. Every Friday the team go out on a 20-to-30-minute walk, with coffee and pastries, to talk about anything and everything.
What are your ambitions for your future in the hospitality industry?
I’m currently completing my Level 7 Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship. Throughout the apprenticeship, I’ve been able to implement my learnings and knowledge into the business. Critical thinking and strategic outlook are two key areas that will benefit my future career development.
Why are the ACE Robyns so important?
The ACE Robyns are important because it’s all about promoting and supporting industry talent across all departments of contract catering and making it inclusive.
You can join us at the ACE Summer Party to find out who this year’s winner is and to celebrate and network with industry peers.