- NEWS & CHAT
Leo Coates is director of operations at Bennett Hay and joins our impressive line-up of ACE Robyns finalists this year. Itâ€™s been fantastic to learn more about his work ahead of our Summer Party.
What do you love most about working in contract catering?
People! I thrive off people interaction, so this is the best industry for me. I love developing teams, creating success stories and making long standing relationships with clients and colleagues. My first ever general manager from Sodexo will be attending the award dinner who I have known for 18 years!
How did it feel to learn someone had nominated you for the ACE Robyns award?
Blown away as Iâ€™ve never really been in the limelight as I just crack on doing what I love. But when thinking about it, Iâ€™ve done a lot in the industry since I was 16! I am always the one pushing for others to enter awards and never really thought about entering myself.
What does being a finalist mean to you?
Itâ€™s amazing and unexpected. I am so proud of our industry and always shouting about the amazing jobs that everyone does across the sectors.
How has work life been for you during the pandemic?
I worked through the majority of the pandemic in boarding schools that still sadly had young children who could not get home to their loved ones. We had to basically become their family, thinking of how we can keep them entertained through food innovation and fun. I feel very proud that I could help these children in a small way through what was a horrendous and scary time.
What has been your biggest success in your role?
I think itâ€™s making so many friends during my career. Iâ€™m still very close with my first ever general manager and all of my Ops and MDâ€™s in my career, Iâ€™m confident I could pick the phone up and ask for support or development and all of them would help.
What are your ambitions for your future in the hospitality industry?
Iâ€™ve always set myself career targets and so far even with the unexpected pandemic I am still on track! My ambition is to drive more young people into the hospitality industry as it really is not something you know about at school or 6th form. Most people do not know what is actually inside these amazing buildings in London!
Why are the ACE Robyns so important?
The ACE Robyns are so important because they show recognition for the â€˜youngerâ€™ generation who are still finding their way and learning, but who are probably the biggest ambassadors at the same time. We need to keep this momentum to highlight to the industry how many superstars there are and to inspire the next generation of talent that is so desperately needed.
You can join us at the ACE Summer Party to find out who this yearâ€™s winner is and to celebrate and network with industry peers.