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One-on-One with a SAGE Team Member: Wendy Lambert

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Team Member Wendy Lambert has been with SAGE at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton for 21 years this November. His incredible work ethic, respect for those around him, and contagious sense of humor make a difference in his community every day.

Student Geoffrey Atulo even wrote about Wendy in an essay on character: “Wendy was the jolliest and most positive being I had ever seen. I decided to be like [him]. Through [his] exuberant character, I was able to bring light to my heart and life by smiling a lot.”

How did you get started with SAGE?
A friend of mine [who had] come with me from Haiti was leaving St. Andrew’s. So he told me SAGE needed a person so I came over, I had an interview and a cook’s test.

I started at this school but with a much smaller kitchen with fewer people.

I think I’ll work for SAGE until I retire. It’s a good company, like a family. At this school, everybody knows me—every single person, students, teachers, staff. I respect everybody, and I joke with everybody, especially kids. Kids deserve to be happy. If they’ve waited for something and we don’t have it in when they get to the front of the line, I say, “Wait a minute—let me check in the oven and the cooler, let me see what I have.”

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I open up every morning and work through lunch [prepping food and serving on the line]. When we finish lunch, I go and prep for the next day’s breakfast. And if I see that something needs to be done before I go home, I put my hand in and do it. If there are dishes that need to be cleaned, I’ll wash [them]. I’ll sweep, mop, serve on the line, make sure someone [restocks] the cups and plates.

And when I leave on Friday, I make sure they’re prepped for Saturday and Sunday. When I leave for the weekend, everything’s perfect. That’s what I’m here for.

What are your tips for customer service?
Be nice to everybody—teachers, students, Team Members, Managers, everybody. Joke with them. Ask, about their families. First thing when you see the customer, say, “Good morning! How are you doing? How may I help you?”

 When [St. Andrew’s] students go off to college, their families will come to the kitchen and say, “I’ve got to meet Wendy. My kid’s always talking about Wendy.”

What’s your best career advice?
No matter where you work, have respect for everybody. Come in on time—I’ve never been late, not even a minute, for 21 years. Be happy, have fun, and don’t get mad. Especially if you have to serve the food in the line, you need to be nice to everybody. There’s only one way you can have a business—be nice to the customer.

What motivates you to work so hard?
When I wake up every morning, I thank God that I can work. When I go to bed every night, I pray, “Please give me more opportunities to help everyone in the world.” The more work you do for [your] company, the more your company goes up, up, up. And when the company can do good for others, it’s good for the employee, too.

We’re not the only ones who think Wendy’s great!
When the Class of 2016 dedicated their yearbook to SAGE, they mentioned Wendy in particular: “Wendy brightens my day more than anyone else I know. ‘You’re special baby!’”

District Manager Yoni Maestro sings his praises: “Wendy spearheads this operation in terms of genuine hospitality and Team Member ownership! In the three years I’ve been here, I can’t recall one time when he was down. He’s a superstar at Saint Andrew’s School, and he represents SAGE in an outstanding manner.”

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