Big news on the O-HI-30 front!

Northstar at Easton.(Jodi Miller/Alive)

Northstar at Easton.(Jodi Miller/Alive)

After eight and a half years at METTLER TOLEDO, it’s time for a change – a BIG change!  My career path is taking a new turn – from Industrial Engineer to Marketer to Sales Rep to….Restaurant Manager!  And not just any restaurant, but my favorite restaurant, Northstar Cafe!

If you’re thinking that managing a restaurant sounds crazy, you’re right.  If you’re thinking that it’s a huge lifestyle change, you’re right.  If you’re thinking that I’m going to be exhausted and overworked, you’re right. And if you’re thinking that it’s going to be an exciting, worthwhile adventure, you’re definitely right!

How I got to this place is an interesting story that I’ll save for another post, but suffice it to say it wasn’t your typical apply-for-job-online experience.  After all, I wasn’t exactly I looking to become a restaurant manager!  But I’ve always been a huge believer in seizing opportunities as they arise and asking for what you want – a lesson I learned from my Dad.  So when I found myself talking to the owner of Northstar, Kevin Malhame, and he asked me if I was interested in discussing career opportunities, I said “why not?”

That was over two months ago, and here I am today, the newest addition to the Northstar Managing Partner team!  To give you a feel for the type of company Northstar is and the people who work there, I thought I’d share something that just happened today.  My main contact at Northstar throughout this process has been a super friendly and kind woman named Leigh.  Leigh sent out the following email to the Northstar Managing Partner Team:
leigh email
Is that not the nicest, most personal, thoughtful introduction email you’ve ever seen?!  It’s worth noting that Leigh did not ask me a single question to prepare this email – she pulled it all from casual conversations we’ve had over the past 2.5 months.  She even quoted this blog!  (although she got it wrong – I’ve completed SIX triathlons, not three – but I think I’ll forgive her).  From my limited experience thus far, I can tell that Northstar treats their managers very well, perhaps differently than typical restaurants.  Anyone who has eaten in a Northstar Cafe can confirm that this approach has served the company well; all of the employees, from the managers to the cooks to the service team (Northstar’s term for wait staff), all seem to genuinely be enjoying their jobs.

Tofu + Bacon = Totally Bomb!

The Chopped Salad at Northstar Cafe, sub Tofu for Turkey (half portion)

Does that mean I expect to enjoy my job 100% of the time?  Absolutely not!  I’m prepared for the reality that this job is going to challenge me in a way I haven’t been challenged before, and I’ll probably get frustrated and overwhelmed at times.  During the SIX MONTH training period (most of which will take place in the Clintonville location, in case you want to visit me at work!), I’ll rotate weekly through every aspect of the operation – including washing dishes.  Northstar believes in making sure their managers fully understand every aspect of the operation, and not just from a high level overview.  By the time I actually begin managing the cafe in March of 2016, I’ll understand the ins and outs of every person’s job – with still so much to learn.

Long-term, I see myself getting involved in the business side of the company, perhaps working more “normal” hours once again and utilizing my corporate skills.  But Northstar has a tried-and-true policy of not bringing in people from the outside into their small yet effective corporate office.  The focus is on in-store operations, and they believe in building a great team from the ground up.  While this philosophy initially made me nervous, over time I’ve fully embraced it and believe I will experience its full meaning and value in time.  In the meantime, I’ll be shelving my adorable business casual outfits in favor of khakis and non-slip clogs (and pinning my newly minted bangs back:( ), with the hopes of one day working those pencil skirts back into my wardrobe!

There is so much more I could say, and will, in time.  But for now, I’ll be enjoying my last eight days at METTLER TOLEDO, saying goodbye to so many wonderful co-workers and tying up loose ends.  I’ll then enjoy 3.5 blissful weeks of nothingness, including Pam’s wedding, a trip to Florida, and hopefully lots of free days for workouts, apartment organizing, and Netflix watching.  The calm before the storm!

Special thanks to my family and friends who encouraged and supported me throughout this process.  You made me believe that I wasn’t crazy for doing something crazy, and for that, I am grateful.  Free veggie burgers and cookies for you!  (Yes…I get a stipend to use on others.  Start brown nosing now).


  1. Hi
    All the best in your new adventure, both you and Francesca starting new challenges! You will succeed no matter what you tackle, you have the right spirit.

  2. Sarah,
    Congratulations on this adventure and more importantly,this life changing event. I know you are up for ANYTHING you choose to do.
    You will work hard, but not because the work is hard, but because that is who you are.
    Enjoy your time off too. You,of course,play hard as well.

  3. What a nice email to the rest of the managing partner team! I appreciate that Leigh took the time to learn (and include) more about you in that letter. I’m so excited for you, and full of admiration as well!

  4. Congratulations! …on your new job and your courage to leave the known and venture into the unknown. Life is an adventure! Best of luck!!

  5. Pingback: Alive | O-HI-30!

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