Carolyn Gable didn't have a college degree or a background in running a business, but as a waitress and mother of seven, she says she developed the skills of a CEO. Jean talks with Carolyn about now being the CEO of her $28 million company and her new book, Everything I Know as a CEO I Learned as a Waitress.
Carolyn says waiting tables near Chicago's busy O'Hare airport was "life school." "What an education that was," she says. "How do you teach someone to communicate? How do you teach someone to have a personality and be enthusiastic? You need to have all of those things to be a waitress."
After waiting tables for several years, Carolyn says she got a job as a customer service representative in the trucking industry. From there she moved into the sales department and eventually started her own transportation logistics corporation. "All of that took off because I had that experience of [waiting tables], dealing every day with hundreds of different people and communicating with them," she says.
Carolyn shares ways that waiting tables prepared her to be a CEO:
She says waiting tables helped her showcase her values of honesty, initiative and hard work.
Carolyn says she is always upfront with her customers in the transportation business just as she was with customers in a restaurant. If something isn't to the customer on time, she lets them know exactly what's going on, rather than making excuses.
Just as she did when she was a waitress, Carolyn says when she has a bad interaction with a customer she shakes it off and doesn't let it ruin the rest of her day.
While handling money is part of waiting tables, Carolyn says it was her experience of balancing her personal checkbook that helped her run her company. She says she followed the simple rule of balancing what comes in with what goes out every single day.