In the same way that a good stage crew is necessary for a theater production to run smoothly, Heather Thomas plays a vital role in day to day flow of College Chefs. In her role as an Event Planner, Heather has a number of responsibilities that many times, she will handle on the fly. In her own words, “I basically handle anything that’s a change to the normal meal plan. That could be having 10 guests for a dinner, planning a huge philanthropy event, mom’s weekend, or a homecoming event. If the houses want to skip a meal the Friday before Thanksgiving, I handle that and make sure they get credit for those meals which they can use to pay for events down the road.”.
Heather grew up in Champaign, Illinois, the same city where College Chefs is now headquartered. Both her parents also grew up in Champaign, and Heather attended Centennial High School in Champaign. After high school, Heather stayed in her backyard and attended the University of Illinois for her undergrad and graduate degrees, also located in Champaign.
As far as her current job as an event planner, it was never something Heather had thought specifically about doing. She had a strong math background and always did enjoy planning. A good friend of hers introduced Heather to College Chefs after realizing that her intangibles may make her a good fit. She was right.
In hindsight, Heather would tell her teenage self not to sweat the small stuff. In her younger years she was set on going to college and finding a good job in a specific field. Now, Heather is in a role she never could have predicted, but is happy and realized that everything is meant to be.
Although Heather is not a chef herself, that does not mean she doesn’t have a passion for food. She did strongly consider attending culinary school after high school, but was convinced to take the traditional route. She dreams of one day owning her own business, possibly within the pastry making industry. This again would be another field where she could combine her love of numbers and food.
Heather describes herself in 3 words as Nice, Organized, and Independent. She tries to get along with everyone and be friendly. She is super organized, almost to a fault, she admits. She also likes to be independent and is very reliable to get her work done to the best of her ability.
Outside of her job, Heather loves to travel. It is something that she got to do a lot of in high school with her family, and looks forward to doing again in the future. She dreams of being able to try foods from all over the world. She’d love to visit Europe, specifically Italy, Ireland, and Greece.
Later this fall, Heather will be taking on a new position in College Chefs. She is soon to be announced as the Business Operations Coordinator. According to College Chefs GM of Operations, Dave Tarrant, “The goal is for Heather to work with Liz on Special Events through this Fall season, and ultimately have her transition out of Special Events, and into her new role, sometime around mid to late-November.”
The management team at College Chefs is very excited for this change, knowing that any time Heather is involved, everyone else’s job becomes much easier. “Heather has absolutely nailed it in the Special Events Department. She handles massive amounts of information and is more organized than just about anyone I know. I'm excited to see the positive impact she'll have in other areas of the business,” Tarrant concludes.
As of November 2nd, 2017, Heather has transitioned into the full-time roll of Business Operations Coordinator.
Written by College Chefs' Cody Sullivan