I just finished the long trek between Atlanta and Denver. About the time I made it to Kansas and its flat roads, turning windmills and pale colors, the emotions, ALL of them, sunk in.
In one year and through one company, my life has changed. In early 2016, I met Kimberly Lexow and Jess Legge, founders of Sifted. Their energy for their startup was contagious, and for the first time in a while, I felt that my own enthusiasm was being met with warmth, meaning and really good food.
Prior to Sifted, I wasn’t well-trained in the food space. So when the founders were describing the needs they were facing in Atlanta, for someone to lead their first ever expansion to a new city, to coordinate nearly 1,000 meals a week, oversee a growing team, and be the main point of contact for all of our clients, I was unmistakably intimidated. But the idea of Sifted was something I couldn’t shake.
I left the predictability and structure of a previous job, and jumped in head first, eyes wide-open into experimentation and uncertainty.
It was all a bit ridiculous for a while. I was entrusted with a dream in Atlanta, working with some of the coolest tech companies known to the city, serving badass food and working alongside of some of the most dedicated, invested people I’ve ever met. I had to grow a lot. We were moving so fast (quadrupled the business since the start of the year) and I needed to focus on the operational aspects of my job. I built processes from scratch, spent hours refining the packout process in the kitchen, developed hosts and made strides in time management to accomplish all the responsibilities that my hands-on, relational, operational job demanded. When it felt like too much, I was encouraged to speak up. When I needed help, I was told to reach out. When we failed, we didn’t wallow. We fixed our mistakes and kept moving.
The design of our team kept me grounded throughout the year. We intend to be highly personal with all of our clients so that they have one dedicated person they know has their back and a whole team of people who are working to make the best experience possible. We take a lot of personal responsibility at Sifted, but nobody is independent. Most of us don’t have food backgrounds, and it’s our diverse paths that are our strength. See, we’re building a food business like no other. One that’s not bound by “how it has been” or “how most people do it.” We fight for honesty, pursue experimentation and make things right when they go wrong.
It’s a culture built on trust, and I’ve fallen in love with it. So much so, that my new position, Culture + Community Energizer, is designed to best use my relational skills and my desire to see our culture grow. Like always, we are keeping things ambitious. I’ll oversee the development of our community managers as we take Sifted to 2, 5, 10 more cities. I’ll be focused on preserving the authenticity of our culture and introducing new clients and new team members to who Sifted is. We’re a group of people obsessed with creating the most relatable, inclusive, personable lunch experience known to the business world, and we’re just getting started.
When my journey was winding down, the sun was setting, and Denver’s quiet majesty was welcoming me to my new homebase. A central hub for our movement out West, we’re anticipating Denver to be a source of connectivity, inspiration and growth. Our operations start today. Wish us luck and connect me with your favorite Denver companies. I promise we’ll serve them a lunch they won’t soon forget.