An interview with Christine Guyott, principal, Robert Rippe and Associates, Inc.
For a complete list of FE&S' Future Foodservice Leaders see The Future Is Now.
Name: Christine Guyott, FCSI, RD
Company: Robert Rippe and Associates, Inc.
Industry involvement: Member of FCSI, AHF, and various committees in past years; currently FCSI –TA ICON Committee Chair; standing presenter at various food and nutrition/dietetic classes
Years in foodservice: 30 years
Educational background: BS – Nutritional Science from Pepperdine University; Dietetic Internship at Mayo-St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester, Minn.
What's the most important lesson you have learned?
My dad once told me "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." It has stuck with me and I think it is true. I'm not saying you don't have to know what you are talking about but a good attitude gets you in the door.
What's the best career advice you have been given?
Network, network, network — my professor said this in college and my manager at SYSCO repeated it and I tell every student and intern the same. You need to be involved in professional organizations, work on committees and get to know as many people as possible. The best jobs aren't posted online — they are found via word of mouth.
What makes you want to stay in the industry?
Not many people can say they love their work but I do, and I am proud to be involved with such great people at both my work and in the industry.
What attracted you to the industry?
I started in the restaurant industry when I was in high school and supported myself through college and my internship at various restaurants. In the beginning I was attracted to the fun people and the enjoyment of working hard and making money while I did that. My food service background led me to select food and nutrition as a major, and I was introduced to the clinical side of being a dietitian. In the end I was, and am still, attracted by the wonderful people and the multitude of doors that are opened by being in the foodservice industry. There are so many opportunities to use your skills.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
I am most proud seeing a design that we put on paper come to life. It is rewarding to walk through and watch the clients work in what started as a pencil sketch on a Saturday morning.
Describe the biggest challenge you have overcome.
In the consultant segment, I think it was my age. I started at Robert Rippe & Associates when I was in my late 20s. It was difficult to "consult" to foodservice directors with many years of experience. I am thankful for the mentoring I received from my colleagues and the support they have provided me.
What excites you most about the foodservice industry?
The amount of change and variety the industry still provides. There are constantly new spins on an old theme of "food and beverage". When I started the new spin was combination ovens, today it is energy savings and technology.
If you could improve one thing about the industry, what would it be?
That all of the different components of our industry can work together to effect change in a cohesive manner. It would be nice if there is an issue that has a resolution we can all benefit from, such as the NSF Protector Shelf requirements, that we come together as a community and instigate code changes.