Lauren Koeppe is in her element. She is directing her staff of 30 as they greet guests at the reveal of Beverly Center’s indoor shopping transformation.
Appetizers are floating above views of The Hollywood Hills. Shoppers are toasting champagne. Nicole Richie just took a selfie.
Nine restaurants have been added to the revitalized shopping center and a 4-Michelin starred chef is opening another next year. Behind the movement is the founder of CREATE Hospitality, Lauren Koeppe.
Almost two years ago, I decided I had more to offer the culinary world.
So I ventured into launching my own company where I could do more consulting.
After 12 years of experience in different industries, I felt I was able to offer expertise with openings and consulting versus being an employee for someone else.
CREATE is essentially a liaison between the client and the catering service. We help facilitate the operations so that all communications between the client and catering or beverage company happen clearly and that all the boxes are checked.
We emphasize the importance of details. The logistics. Mastery in executing these elements with an emphasis on organization is really important.
My team is everything. I’m responsible for the structure. Every move is timed. We make sure everyone is dialed in.
We put key people in place to create the ultimate guest experience so that when they first walk in they are accommodated.
My initial experience was in restaurants. I started in college working as a host. Then as a server within all kinds of different restaurants and structures. Some were casual. Some were formal. I took it all in.
I’ve been on the floor seeing what works and what doesn’t. Having been in management at major events for so long in high volume situations―I now know what needs to be done to make an event successful. It’s experience.
I didn’t have a lot of definition in my career until later. That flexibility helped. What was most important was the mastery and complete understanding of an operation, above everything. When I was ready, I’d move on because I didn’t want to get stuck in repeating the same thing year after year. That wasn’t the smartest trajectory.
Usually, I didn’t want to keep moving up in a company because I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do long term. What I did was harness the skills as best I could from that environment. Learn as much as I could. Then move on.
The traditional model is to stay in one place for a long time and go up the ladder, but I’m not sure if that makes you a master or just really skilled in one specific area. You need to be diverse. Cross-functional experience is what sets me apart.
Being creative is not enough.
So don’t be afraid to try different careers or experiences. Don’t be afraid to move around or take different kinds of jobs because it all leads back to building those layers that make your background more diverse.