My world has, for as long as I can remember, been immersed in music culture and trying to find myself through the entertainment business. I write and produce hip-hop music that I hope will resonant and help the listeners who find and attach themselves to it. I’ve worked hard for around 7 years to utilize Internet platforms and the rise of technology to push out and promote my art. I first applied and accepted the Sodexo internship position under Daniella Alvarez because I wanted the experience that working with an expert social media and marketing supervisor would bring, regardless of the specific industry. I didn’t know I would learn so much in just my first few months…
Let me explain.
Daniella walked in to the office on my first day and suggested that I could work on creating labels for the cereal boxes in the occasion that we wouldn’t have the official General Mills logos to display in our dining hall. I asked jokingly, “Do I have complete creative control?” as if to say that I could add fun and comedic images on top of the cereal mascots that would be pictured. To my surprise, she took my response seriously and immediately responded with “yes”. For my first job, she sat next to me and taught me how to take ahold of the Photoshop app and change any picture in any way I’d like. My mind started to run wild. For the ten or so cereals we offer, I thought of all the creative ways I could make someone, whether it be a student, staff, or faculty, look up and laugh and just maybe have a better day than they were having. In this moment of me being in the zone, focused and loving what I’m doing, I was hit with one of the biggest lessons of my life. Whether it is food and retail, music, or politics (I’m apart of Loyola’s Student Government), I realized I want to positively affect the lives of others around me.
Here is one of the labels I created where I added my face as the leprechaun of Lucky Charms. Many students found me and told me how funny it was to see a fellow student sporting their favorite cereal!
By the second week, I was in love with the food and marketing business. I had been tasked with a variety of jobs and to this day, I continue to have the energy of doing something new every time I come in to work. For example, I had the opportunity to make a dining hall friendly smoothie, create a promotional video on how I created it, and post it to the audience who follows our social media. Not only does this internship give me the chance to hone my media and creative promotion skills, but it also teaches me all about customer service and food creation, which has became a true passion for me. As much fun as it is to sit across from one of the most inspiring people I’ve worked with, Daniella, and play around with new ideas, we also take the food we serve to the student body very seriously. Here at Loyola, Sodexo holds monthly meetings for our organization LUDAB (Loyola University Dining Advisory Board) which is compiled of students across majors, grade, and experience. These meetings are held in order to hear about what we can change to give the students a better more enjoyable food service experience. Anyone is allowed to attend and the responsibilities of running these meetings falls on my fellow interns Hernan Espinol, Fallon Chiasson, and me! One of the highlights of my life is hearing the criticisms of the students, as hard as that may be, and working to make sure their concerns are addressed. Many things have changed because of what we do, such as a full baked potato bar that is now available daily in our dining hall, convenience of bowls and silverware in frequent areas of eating, and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Finally, I’ve also learned a lot about what I want in a job after I graduate. I know exactly the type of people that I want to work with in the future, and the people I work with every other day at Sodexo are the definition. The managers that I have the wonderful privilege of working with, Phoebe Cook, Renee Burgess, and Julian Dickerson, as well as my mentor Daniella are caring and fun people. I am so honored I get to surround myself with them. In addition, the office where I sit at my desk is well lit (kind of dim lighting that creates a nice calm mood that allows for the least amount of stress in our daily tasks) and filled with a cardboard cutout of Jesus (because why not?), plush football toys from our Monday night events in the dining hall, balloons from the grand opening of our pizza restaurant on campus, and many many suggestion boxes that have been read through and noted in computer documents. Daniella and I talk about our weekends as we sip coffee when we first come in to the office and we play our favorite band, Timeflies, on medium (sometimes blasting) volume while we work. The most important aspect of how we work? When something is accomplished, we promptly congratulate the person who finished the task. New and innovative ideas are rewarded, and all questions are welcomed. This atmosphere is a major key to the success of the company. This is the type of environment I see myself happy in for the rest of my live. Leaving at the end of each day knowing, what we do here is amazing.
I have worked for Sodexo for around two months, and fell in love with the job on day one. The atmosphere that I am surrounded in for four hours every Wednesday and Friday is warm, inviting, and leaves me excited to come back to work the next week. The fact that I get to make incremental changes on a daily basis to continue to better the food services for the students of our university is what I look forward to most for my future with Sodexo.