Vickie Irish

This entry is part 28 of 54 in the series

Irish_VickieVickie Irish

Shari’s Restaurant Group
Vice President of Training and Human Resources

Years with company:  I began working for Shari’s over 30 years ago when our company had only a few locations, today we have 103 restaurants.  I began my career with Shari’s as a server, was promoted to an assistant and later a general manager.  As our company grew, I was given the opportunity to develop our Training Department and this year to also manage our Human Resources department.

Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations:
I try to stay current and active in our industry.  I’ve been a member of CHART (Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers) for 12 years.  CHART is a wonderful organization, committed to advancing industry training practices and improving organization results.  I’ve also served on Oregon’s Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation, a group that is very committed to the Pro-Start program, which  encourages young people in restaurant careers.  I’ve served on the local Culinary Institute’s board and regularly speak to students in George Fox University’s culinary program.  For the last two years, I’ve studied Spanish to prepare for a service team that went to Honduras to work with emerging villages to learn about community health, education and relations.  As many of our employees are Hispanic, it helped me appreciate all they have done to improve the lives of themselves and their families.

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
Larry Curtis, our former CEO, always encouraged and supported my vision for training at Shari’s.  Larry’s favorite saying was, “A day I haven’t learned something new is a wasted day.”  I truly believe that.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements?  Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
I feel very fortunate in my career and feel compelled to create the same opportunity for advancement for our employees that I have had.  I consciously build a career path into all of our training programs to allow our employees to continue working while developing their skills, and hopefully to be promoted to positions of more responsibility and authority.  To me, there is hardly anything more rewarding than watching someone progress that you have had a hand in identifying, developing and mentoring. I truly hope that I am passing that desire on to the managers we train.

Most challenging part of your job:
To me, the biggest challenge is to make sure that I am directing our team’s efforts to guide and support our hard working managers and front line staff, to take time to really listen and develop effective solutions to help them be successful.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
First, expect to work hard and be a contributor, align your efforts to the strategic goals of your company and be a solution finder.  Second, be curious and always learn more, and especially learn to embrace change.  Third, recognize your team, I am surrounded by creative, caring and dedicated people – they make me want to be better.  And lastly, be strong in your faith.

I love to play golf; I enjoy reading and spending time with my husband on our new boat and learning to be the “Favorite Grandma” to my first grandson.