This month's Member Spotlight features Jay Silverstein, VP, Corporate Services at Credit Suisse. Jay answered several questions for us.
How does it feel to be among the elite group of Silver Plate recipients?
I am truly honored. The Silver Plate recipients are a pretty illustrious group and to join their ranks is very humbling to me.
Aside from winning the Silver Plate Award, what would you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
I thought when SFM gave me the Lifetime Achievement Award last year, what could top that. My greatest professional accomplishment has been to have the privilege and honor to work with so many great people over the years. To watch someone start out working either as an hourly foodservice worker and progress onto a supervisory role or management, taking away some small thing that I taught them or worked beside them is just outstanding. Additionally to have two of my sons working within On-site Foodservice in management positions is my own little accomplishment.
What is a challenge that you face and how do you overcome it?
Everything that I do is either based on past experience or what I have learned either formally or informally over the years
. The foundation to everything I do is based on the Boy Scout motto of Be Prepared. If you prepare well and plan for what could go wrong, more often than not no matter what, you can push through. However, I learned sometimes the hard way that you cannot succeed in winning every challenge, but learn from those times and realize that sometimes it is purely out of your hands.
You’ve been involved with SFM since 1986—what is your favorite aspect of being a member?
The people. SFM is like family. Although you may not see everyone often, if you should need something you can just pick up the phone and seek their assistance or advice. After 9/11 and we postponed the National Conference, as each of us arrived on the first day for the opening session it was like a validation that we came through this and together we could overcome anything. It was a very special moment for all of us involved. Very emotional.
From your experience, what advice do you have for upcoming professionals?
You have to earn respect not demand respect. I started in Foodservice as a dishwasher and worked just about every job front and back of house. I started at the bottom and worked my way up learning as I went. With this type of background and skill set, you can speak with hands on knowledge and people come to respect that.
When and where was your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is not one in a restaurant, but Friday night dinner in our house cooked by my wife Kim. We try and keep the Jewish tradition of having a great family meal together with the boys whenever we can. Kim makes the greatest roasted chicken with sweet potatoes. You can smell it when you pull into the driveway. It’s nothing fancy, but good food, great conversation and the joy of being together as a family. Anyone who knows me, understands how important family and friends are to me. The people in SFM are some of my best friends in the world.