Our go-to girl for all things multi-unit related, she always puts a smile on our faces, and provides the ideal partnership between manufacturer and rep. You guessed it! Cambro Manufacturing’s Director Strategic Accounts & Specialty Markets, Stephanie Eaton, is our feature today. My “interview” with Stephanie actually got cut a little short (even though we talked longer than planned?) because we had the BEST time chatting. It seemed like I wanted to know more about what she had to say on every topic, soaking in the knowledge she shared and applying it to what I’ve come to know about foodservice. The determination and savvy-thinking she has, made me confident in picking another fabulous female to look up to. Ready?
How long have you been in the Foodservice E&S industry?
17 years, can you believe it? Ever since February of 2005, having no idea what I was getting myself into. After working for another manufacturer in various roles and a rep group, I joined the Camily in 2019. I was able to broaden my knowledge and bring experience from previous roles, but it is impossible to know everything. We learn from one another and learn from our peers on the regular. I don’t think there is a day that goes by where I don’t learn something new from someone else.
What is your 'why'?
Being a resource. How can I help someone else accomplish their goals? You get back from people, what you give to them and the harder someone is working, the harder I want to work. Everyone in the industry is my peer, it’s a team effort. Communication, responsibility, and honesty are a big part of being a resource to all my peers and working together as a team.
What has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Change is never the easiest thing for me, I’m a creature of habit! I love my routine. I even still keep a hard calendar, write checks for my bills and use Snail Mail! Yes, change is often good, but sometimes change for the sake of change is not necessarily always the right direction. You must have a well-thought-out plan for the best results.
Another barrier is that I’m very hard on myself. I can be a perfectionist and overly detail oriented, which is the pressure I put on myself to be “perfect”, but I have to remind myself to not get frustrated and build myself back up. Working hard and sticking with it delivers results.
Are there any challenges ahead for young women (and men) joining this industry?
Knowing how to deliver the message. You need to hold yourself accountable and be professional, putting the best version of yourself forward. The only thing you have is your reputation! Don’t be afraid. There is always a professional way to deliver the message, hard or easy. If you’ve got an opinion, just be willing to share it respectfully.
What advice would you give the next generation of leaders?
Continue learning, growing and create new challenges that are intriguing to you! No two situations are ever the exact same. So, go find that new challenge and create a scenario/solution. No two days are ever the same! Things change all around us, but always embrace that as an opportunity to meet someone new or work with someone new. That will really help your brand too!
What are the next steps for your career?
I love where I’ve been able to take my career, and I love my role. I don’t think you should have an agenda or preconceived notion of what is next. When changes happen, things fall into place! There have been tough decisions along the way, but you have to trust your gut and know what feels right. There are always things working around you if you want to utilize it. Don’t fear them!
What WAYS DO YOU STAY GROUNDED? OR STEPS TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF?
I do my best to keep some sort of routine in my life; it’s not always perfect, but I definitely work at making it a priority. I try to get a workout in 3 to 4 times a week, doing better to get more reading time in my week, getting outdoor time in when the weather is nice and make it a priority to enjoy as many vacations each year, as possible – rather short or long periods of downtime, relaxation, fun and me time!
How can someone (young female in the industry) differentiate herself?
Look at all sides of the story, be calming, rationalize and take it all in. It’s a strength that women take a pause to think about the situation, versus jumping to an immediate reaction. This will help set you apart from the rest!
Can I just say DITTO to everything Stephanie shared?? The always changing, what’s new nature of the foodservice E&S industry isn’t slowing down, and neither should we. We should embrace the chance to adapt ourselves, while always being a valued resource for others. There is a lot I’ve been thankfully able to learn from Ms. Eaton over the past few years working together but obtaining an understanding of her grit and feeling the emotion she puts into both work and life, was my favorite!
No surprise - Stephanie's TOP PICK:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
This article was written by Meredith Mulliken, Chrane's Marketing Manager, to shine light on all the great women she looks up to in foodservice. This blog is designed to share the wealth of knowledge from females that helped pave the road map and excite new, young professionals to join our amazing industry.