Bob Haines and Mike Lally are two program graduates who have received promotions since completing their coursework and working alongside mentors who push them forward. 

Food has been a passion of Bob Haines since childhood. He recalls spending many mornings in the kitchen with his father learning how to make omelets. Fulfilling his culinary dreams ultimately led him to working for Eurest as a Sous Chef at a marketplace in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  

As a Sous Chef, Bob was responsible for managing catering orders and an entrée station at his account, but after three years of working as an hourly associate, Bob was ready for something more.

“I had mastered the physical part of my job as a Sous Chef. While we had fewer guests to service in the marketplace because of the pandemic, I knew it was a great time for me to try to learn as much as possible about the operations side of the business,” Bob said.

Bob enrolled in Eurest’s frontline development program created in partnership with the Global University of Lifelong Learning or GULL. GULL’s mission is to build a strong bench of associates for salaried roles by empowering associates to create a career path and develop stronger operational and interpersonal skills.

GULL students are referred to the program by their manager and go through a selection process before entering into the 16-week program. During that time, GULL students complete various assignments that help prepare them for salaried managerial roles and cover core job essentials like operations and finance, guest experience, marketing and culinary and wellness. Each student is assigned a mentor who guides them through their learning experience and provides insight on the roles they are working to earn.

“When I got into the program, I quickly realized there were endless opportunities for me in my career. It woke me up to my potential and made me want to learn more,” Bob shared, “I had people around me who were pushing me to better myself.”

Bob was among the 39 Eurest associates who graduated in the GULL Class of Spring 2021. Not long after graduation, Bob was promoted to a salaried position of Head Chef of his marketplace.

Fellow GULL graduate Mike Lally has had five promotions since he graduated in 2014.

“I started as an hourly associate hoping to work hard and find a path towards advancement, GULL allowed me to focus on consistent, deliberate self-improvement to reach my goals,” Mike said. “The GULL program reframed the way I approach every day. I was able to humble myself and ask what I needed to do to be better prepared for the next opportunity that may arise.”

Mike has since served as a GULL ambassador, speaking to various associate groups about the program.

He now serves as the National Co-Chair of Eurest and Eurest Services Diversity and Inclusion Action Council (DIAC), helping to create additional job development programming to give everyone a path forward.

Senior Director of Dining Services Julie Pearson offered her time this year to coach current students as a mentor. The mentors are considered to be an outlet for further discussion for the students. Mentors also work with students to help them prepare for their capstone project that acts as a final exam to their 16-week coursework.

“Being a GULL mentor has also stretched me as a professional. I can support other managers and that is truly impactful. I continue to stay in touch with my mentee and look forward to what the future holds for her,” Julie shared.

The next set of GULL graduates will enroll for classes this fall as the program expands to accept more students.