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Anything is possible if you work hard

Buzz boost: Thomas Mayer (left), Riketa Pavy and Holger Eiselt. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

This article was submitted by 23-year-old Riketa Pavy. It reflects her experience of working for local chain Buzz and how she has earned an opportunity to go to university in the UK, supported by her employer.

By Riketa Pavy

I began working at Buzz in 2009 stocking supplies after school. I was so excited to finally have a job. I gained a sense of independence by being able to earn my own pocket change. Although it was an entry level position that required hardly any skill set, I was determined to prove myself and move up in the company.

I was reliable and eager to learn. Once summer vacation began and my schedule was more flexible, I began training in the outlets as a server. I grasped concepts quickly and I thrived in the fast paced environment. I loved it! The staff was extremely supportive. They created a positive atmosphere where I felt comfortable to ask for help and express concerns.

I was trained by a stern Filipina lady named Margie: my ‘Buzz Mother’. She instilled key work ethic components in me that I still utilise to this day. The combination of my ambitious nature and the proper guidance allowed me to quickly prove myself to be a valuable employee.

When I graduated from CedarBridge Academy I was unsure of my career path, but I decided to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Art and Design, a personal passion of mine, at the Bermuda College.

Buzz worked around my school schedule so that I could continue with the company. I worked at the newly opened Buzz outlet at Bermuda College as well as on weekends at other outlets. After my first year was completed I worked at another newly opened outlet at Tobacco Bay, where I became the youngest assistant manager.

During my summer at Tobacco Bay I matured a great deal and developed my communication skills which I now find to be a crucial asset in life. I was not afraid of hard labour or long hours. I was trusted with more responsibilities and I enjoyed the challenges accompanied with each new task I faced. I learned something new every day and with the more I knew the better at my job I became. I wanted so badly to prove myself to my employers; I wanted to break the stereotype of the “Lazy Bermudian”. My efforts did not go unnoticed.

After that summer I decided to take a break from college and work full time with Buzz. During the year I took off I was introduced to the administration department. I gained a new perspective on the food service industry. Walking though the production kitchen and seeing the volume of food that needs to be produced to support so many outlets is astonishing. Being involved in the process it takes to run multiple outlets and more than 60 employees gives you a new understanding of how things work.

Areas such as food production, labour cost, and profit and loss interested me the most. These are aspects of a business that I was previously unaware of, however they can make or break a business if done incorrectly.

I worked primarily in the catering department, first as a waitress on catering events and then I trained under the catering coordinator. I learned about the intricate details of event planning. Eventually I took over the role as catering coordinator at Buzz. In just three years I had done so much in this company and now I had another opportunity to prove to my employers that I was capable of even more than I had already shown. Being the catering coordinator was a huge accomplishment for me, and helped to shape my future.

During my nine months as catering coordinator I not only learned about the hospitality industry — I fell in love with it! Up until that point I had no idea what my career goal was, but after that year I was sure. I returned to college and completed my Associate’s Degree in Art and Design as well as four additional hospitality courses. To my surprise Buzz decided to cover my tuition and incidental fees for the remainder of my time at Bermuda College.

In that same year I created the Buzz Healthy Smoothie Programme which is a one-hour presentation that encourages healthy beverage options, targeted at children aged five to ten. The presentation is held during after-school programmes and summer camps and consists of an educational fruit flash card presentation, smoothie sampling and a take home colouring book with a recap of the information taught. I also was promoted to manager and became certified to train other staff.

Now in my fifth year of the company I am working under the operations manager, Mr Ooi. So far I am enjoying myself, and I am learning as much as possible from him. Managing 11 outlets is no easy task. It takes extreme organisational skills, business know how and communication skills. I am currently launching a Buzz Beverage Training Programme under his guidance. The programme is designed to teach Buzz’s basic hot and cold beverage production techniques to new employees. My goal is to equip them with the right tools to maintain product consistency and hopefully they will grow in the company as I have.

Despite what members of the public say, Buzz does employ Bermudians and there are a lot of opportunities to grow within the company. As a certified trainer I can honestly say this field is not for everyone and it requires effort on the individual’s part. Buzz supports student employees and like me the same opportunities are available. However they have to be dedicated.

I have worked extremely hard to accomplish what I have. I am a young black Bermudian female who is the youngest manager at Buzz. I will be beginning my Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management in the fall of this year. My goal is to one day become a food and beverage director.

It has been no easy task to get where I am. I work hard; that is my secret! However I have also had a great support system from my employers, Thomas Mayer and Holger Eiselt. I cannot find words suitable to express my gratitude to them. They have not only funded my education and aided in shaping my future, they have given me something to strive for. I look up to them as role models. They are examples of where I would like to be in life some day. They too started from humble beginnings and have proven that anything is possible if you are willing to work for it. Thank you bosses!

My message to young people in Bermuda is to take full advantage of all opportunities given to you, do your absolute best no matter how small the task is and work hard.