C&J Case Study

The organization: C&J Catering, a full-service catering company for weddings, corporate, and social events that employs over 100 people

The challenge: When C&J Catering’s owner and CEO Jamie Berger reflects on her vision for the company, she’s quick to point out that people are at the core. “Our goal is to make a difference in people’s lives; serving food is an amazing vessel.” Jamie shares. C&J’s mission is to honor God by impacting the lives of our employees, clients and community by providing an atmosphere in which our associates can thrive in delivering a delectable culinary experience and seamlessly executed event production from beginning to end. 

Ensuring mission alignment throughout a company isn’t always easy though. When the pandemic hit, C&J’s sales came to a grinding halt in a matter of weeks and they were forced to reduce their staff. As demand returned to normal, they had to scale up quickly to rebuild. Jamie recalls that amid this transition, C&J faced staffing challenges, performance issues, and a slew of operational headaches. As the team put out fire after fire, culture fell to the wayside. These challenges were not at all reflective of the type of company Jamie desired or envisioned.  She realized, “We have got to put the brakes on, because we aren’t doing a good job of making sure that the people we’re bringing in are clear on who we are as a company.” Jamie knew she needed help.  

When Jamie reconnected with former colleague and friend, Ray Chung, Rising Sun’s senior consultant, she shared the challenges C&J was facing. She was drawn to Rising Sun’s focus on servant leadership and how the team could help her develop a plan to move forward.

The approach: Rising Sun provided C&J with a blend of executive coaching and HR technical support through this engagement. It was a privilege and honor to support  Jamie and the leadership through coaching sessions, participation in leadership meetings, and helping to rebuild the human resources team. Ray assured Jamie and her team that what they were experiencing wasn’t unusual. While it’s important to address challenges around staffing, policies, and benefits, helping C&J’s leadership embrace the path of servant leadership is what would be truly transformative. 

The outcome: Soon after the engagement began, Jamie realized that as owner and CEO, she had a critical role to play if she wanted C&J’s culture to improve. She understood that she needed to take ownership for the way that the culture had taken a back seat. Since then, the team has seen engagement increase and operational processes become more seamless across the organization. “Accountability matters. It hasn’t been easy, but I know it’s necessary. And, I know it starts with me, “ Jamie shares. Jamie is excited about how consistent messaging around servant leadership has created opportunities for staff to hold each other accountable to the organization’s mission. C&J’s mission and values are at the forefront, whether it’s how they actually do the job (not just the written job description), how they communicate in weekly team meetings, or the way they  approach difficult performance conversations. Recently, the team decided to rethink how the organization handles gratuities received from events so that  everyone receives a portion of the gratuity. Jamie says  that teamwork is a big part of applying the servant leadership model at C&J, “and making sure that each department is celebrating the successes together.” 

Our reflections: The C&J team loves catering. They love the culinary experience. They love serving. They understand that when the culture takes a back seat its operations and team suffer. They have seen it firsthand. C&J is continuing to take active steps to live out servant leadership. As Jamie recently said, “If you value your culture, you have to actively invest in it. Otherwise, it’s like building a house on sand.” At C&J Catering, we found a team who knows that pursuing excellence and a servant leadership-based culture are not mutually exclusive. We are honored to journey with Jamie and the leadership team as they  grow in servant leadership, continue to build a purpose driven organization, support their amazing team members, and deliver delectable culinary experiences to all  C&J customers.

Want a vibrant and thriving culture? Schedule a consultation today by emailing rebecca@risingsunconsultants.com.

Have you joined our Radiant Horizons newsletter family yet?