From Saxbys to the Movies, Casey Coleman is Ready for Her Close Up
Does running a Saxbys cafe help you prepare for a career in animation and film production? Casey Coleman would say a resounding “yes.”
The 21-year-old is spending six months leading a Saxbys cafe at Drexel University where she was responsible for everything from team development to community leadership to financial management.
For Casey — an animation and visual effects major who wants to manage movie productions — the skills she’s learning at Saxbys are seriously transferrable. Time management. Giving constructive feedback. Becoming a better leader. She took a few minutes to discuss her time at Saxbys so far and how it’s preparing her for a successful career.
You want to work on movies. How will the skills you’re learning at Saxbys help further your career?
The main thing I’m trying to get out of this experience is management and leadership skills. I think they’re really transferable into my career path because eventually I would like to go into production management. That means I would run the whole process and production. Going from filming to sound to editing and post production — all the way down to deciding what goes into the movie, what gets cut. So the management skills I learn at Saxbys will be really valuable.
You worked as a team member for a year before moving to the SCEO position. Are you happy to be promoted from within?
It’s amazing. It makes Saxbys such a wonderful company to work for since there are so many opportunities for growth. I would never have seen myself in this type of leadership position until Saxbys gave me the training and helped me realize I could do it.
How will you build a culture based off your leadership style at your cafe?
I’m coming in open-minded. This cafe is smaller than where I trained, so the team works closely together. That makes it very personal here. Building trust with my team means making sure they know I care about them and am open to listening to all thoughts and feedback. That’s really important.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of developing your team so far?
They were very hesitant to the SCEO change in the beginning. We had a lot of older team members who had been here since the cafe opened about two years ago. They were stuck in the rut of doing things like they’d always been done. But after listening to them and communicating openly with them, they were open to modifying their processes and welcomed me with open arms.
What has been a major obstacle you had to overcome when it came to developing a team member?
My biggest obstacle was building their confidence. I recently promoted a team lead that I don’t think had full confidence that he was ready for the position. I had to reassure him that he knew what he was doing, he was acting like a team lead anyway, and he had the right mentality.
What are some community initiatives you are proud of?
We participated in the senior sendoff, which is an event where all the seniors go for toast with the President around graduation time. We actually developed the “senior drink” with input from the students. After voting, they chose a peanut butter cup shake — made with peanut butter, almond milk, dark chocolate sauce. It was very indulgent. I’m also working with Margeax the SCEO of the original Saxbys Drexel to come up with some other community collaborations.
How does becoming a community leader impact your cafe?
Most of our guests are students. Once they see that we’re really involved in the community, they’re more likely to come here because they know it’s a place that actually cares about them.
How are you working to manage and understand your profit/loss statement?
I had no financial management training when I started. As an animation major, numbers weren’t really my thing. After going through the P&L training, it all makes sense to me. For example, we’ve been working on making sure our bakery is fully stocked. We noticed that we’ve been doing really well selling baked items but sold out too quickly and couldn’t accommodate guests at the end of the day. So we fixed that and now have the proper quantities throughout the day. That impacted the finances greatly. I also worked to manage our cost of goods. We were wasting a lot of bagels in the beginning of my tenure but now we’re down to not wasting any at all. Also, making sure the baristas are aware of how proper portioning impacts the bottom line.
How is the experience affecting you personally?
Overall, the entire process has been really impactful for me. I had a lot of issues with self confidence before. Part of my interviewing process was showing how I could get through that. My self confidence has grown a lot by having to step up and be that leader in my team. I see an entirely different person in myself now.