CEO … no more.. I wish her the best

Pauline Hoogmoed has been a part of Catersource  ever since I can remember. It was Pauline that stood by patiently waiting while we took FOREVER to do our buffet table for the contest at a Catersource conference in Las Vegas. We were so picky and we took so long but she was such a good sport and never rushed us or said we should maybe speed it up a little.

Those were the days, in the hotels and later fighting with the unions outside of the Convention Center tradeshow to get our stuff in and out. We had to drive 1600 miles from home.. one way because we always had way to much stuff to carry on a plane with us.

We schlepped more things than I care to mention and it works both ways. The times we didn’t enter we could take stuff back that we had bought at the tradeshow. There was also the time we entered two tables because we couldn’t decide which one we liked better. One was a disposable one.

The contests always drew us in .. I don’t know why because we never won anything. Maybe it was the excitement and being a part of something we cared deeply about. Catersource became our ‘bible’ of sorts in everything to do with our business.

The first tradeshow had only maybe 25 vendors and I was so excited because there was a company from Calgary, Canada in it selling the miniature  filo cups.  If I remember correctly there were nine people total..  from Canada attending.

So Pauline was always there to guide us in the right direction and truth be told whenever I spotted her I always felt better. Pauline always recognized me and we always chatted a bit about something..  it was the recognition that I appreciated. The conference grew so big that it was comforting to see a friendly face.

I am going to miss Pauline .. I mean I am really going to miss Pauline, I want her to know that. Along with Mike Roman .. Pauline was Catersource, she had the pulse of everything in her control or she did. I wish her all the best and if she doesn’t have her own company then where-ever she went they are very lucky indeed!

I need to share one story about Pauline. We entered yet another contest .. I know.. I am a sucker for punishment! This was a cold cuts platter contest and daughter and I arrived all gung ho ready to kick ass. It was a luncheon as well .. so we sit out front waiting for them to call us in.

While we are waiting out front contestants are all in the back taking all the cold cuts! When we realized what was happening and ventured to the contest area there was like hardly any cold cuts left to work with.. oh my.. and we had lost some time as well.. I thought we were s.o.l.

I had brought along one of my knives I used for vegetable and fruit carving. I asked Pauline if it would be ok to use it (I didn’t see anything in the rules) . Pauline assured me it would be ok. I was not assured (I didn’t want to be disqualified on a technicality) and asked her if she could find out from Mike if it was ok.

Pauline looked me in the eye and said “I am the CEO of the company and if I say you can use it then you can use it!”  I will never forget that ! omg.. first off I didn’t even know she was the CEO and then I felt dumb, but I loved the way she said it. I later related the story to Mike Roman and we had a good laugh.

As for the contest .. well we had to hurry through it with very little cold cuts so I carved up some oranges , maybe a lemon and spiraled some  cucumbers , added some strawberries and tried to make it pretty for what it lacked in product. We then went to have our lunch and imagine our total surprise AND  delight when we took second place!!(we only had a little bit of ham to work with see picture)CS09_COLDbuffet23.preview

We were SO PROUD .. I know.. you’d have thought I took first place in a beauty contest, but it was like all our efforts through-out the many years of entering the buffet building contests had finally paid off!

Pauline if you are reading this I.. for one..  and I think there are many more as well are really going to miss you…. good luck in your future endeavors.