Business secrets revealed by culinary icon


Excited members of the Marriott School’s Women In Business club gathered for their opening social last Tuesday afternoon in the Tanner Building.

Busy chatter of over 200 business-going women filled the conference hall in anticipation for the key-note speaker, Mary Crafts, CEO and president of Culinary Crafts catering company. Finally, when the long-awaited time had come, chatter was replaced by gasps of excitement and anticipation as one of the top caterers and most successful businesswomen in Utah entered the hall.

What the students did not know was that she came not only to share tips on event planning and starting a business, but to inspire each student to embrace imperfection and strive for excellence and integrity.

“I can’t begin to share how to be a powerful business women,” Crafts said. “It isn’t by talking loudly, but by being a women of integrity. That’s what brings you power.”

Among lessons on integrity and striving for excellence, Crafts also encouraged the women find joy in what they do, be happy in each moment of their work, be balanced instead of perfect, stay out of debt, take care of everyone else before yourself and be persistent in difficult situations.

“I speak to a lot of youth and college entrepreneurs because they see me as someone who has won against the odds,” Crafts said. “And even if I just change one, if I inspire one, if I get one to see things differently in terms of integrity and the value of that, that one person will make a monumental difference in the world. For me, that’s the value of coming here.”

Tina Ashby, manager of Women’s Initiatives and Mentoring, said Crafts offered important principles to all the women that came to the event.

“I think she was an inspiration (to the women) to dig deep and figure out who they are, what they’re about and what they want to accomplish in life,” Ashby said. “(They know) that there is a place of other like-minded women who also want to find their path in life.”

Mary was chosen to speak because of the success that she had made out of her life. Katherine Ashby Poulter, president of Women In Business, said that her story is an example of “rags to riches” and helps people find their passions and change their lives.

Women are in the minority in the business school; however, popularity is increasing. In 2011, the Marriott School had a 20 percent female enrollment. This year, it increased to 28 percent. The Women In Business club also saw an increase in involvement this year from 30 people at the opening social in 2011 to over 200 this year.

Poulter hoped that the opening social allowed women to see how business could be a part of their lives at some point, even if they do not major in business.

“They can still come to our club and use it as a resource to help them build skills that they’ll need in the work force that maybe they’re not able to get anywhere else,” Poulter said. “We wanted to make sure that they could feel like they can come to our events and feel empowered.”

The Women In Business club is five years old and is planning on having a successful year. Poulter wants to continue to show upcoming business women how they can be successful in what they do, whether they work in or out of their home.

“We are doing events that are really relevant to them,” Poulter said. “We listen to their feedback and it is gaining so much traction (and) so much excitement.”

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