Amid the paparazzi flashes and the throngs of admirers lining the red carpet, this year’s Bon Appétit Management Company Be-A-Star winners celebrated their successes in style. Our parent company Compass North America designed the Be-A-Star program to recognize and champion associates within the company who are achieving business excellence in their field. Winners take an all-expenses-paid trip to Orlando for the ceremony, where they’re fêted with a fantastic party, dinner, and awards ceremony along with their peers from around the country.
Big congrats to this year’s winners from Bon Appétit, who strive to embody our principles and values in their work! Read more about this year’s stars below.
Daniel Connolly, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region, Regional Wellness Manager of the Year, University of Pennsylvania
Dan has long held a passion for food and nutrition, starting in high school as a student-athlete. While pursuing a degree in nutrition and dietetics, he worked on wellness projects for Bon Appétit, solidifying his philosophy on cooking and sourcing. In 2014, Dan became a full-time registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) at the University of Pennsylvania, where he works as the wellness manager. In his role, Dan collaborates with chefs and managers to ensure students have access to the food options they need. Dan has led initiatives to improve the halal program on campus and created the Individual Meal Ordering (IMO) accommodation policy. He is also a co-chair of Compass’s RDN Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Network, promoting diversity and inclusion in the company and throughout the profession.
LaNita Doucet, West Coast (II) Region, Regional Catering Director of the Year, The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens
LaNita began her career with Bon Appétit in June 2010, starting as a catering bartender at one of our Southern California university accounts. She was promoted after a year to catering supervisor, a testament to her dedication and skills. Over the years, LaNita continued to excel and move up the ranks, becoming an operations manager three years later. In 2019, she was promoted to catering director at Azusa Pacific University, where she continued to demonstrate her exceptional event planning skills and strong work ethic.
During the COVID pandemic, LaNita stepped up and worked as a catering director at a high-volume, fast-paced account, adapting to the dynamic environment and ensuring successful events. In June 2022, she was promoted to catering director at The Huntington, further solidifying her reputation as an outstanding manager. LaNita is valued for her exceptional planning skills, hard work, and dedication to success. Overall, LaNita is a huge asset to Bon Appétit, consistently demonstrating her leadership abilities, planning prowess, and commitment to excellence.
Tracy Haraldson, Central Region, Regional General Manager of the Year, Medtronic
Tracy is an incredibly kind and hardworking person. She always approaches her work with a smile and prioritizes the needs of both customers and team members. During the challenging times of the COVID pandemic, she went above and beyond by taking on various tasks, such as driving the catering truck and doing dishes, to make sure everything that needed to get done, got done. Tracy’s dedication and positive attitude led to her promotion from interim general manager to general manager at her account. She has made a lasting impact at Medtronic .
Allana Jules, Southeast/Mid-West Region, Regional General Manager of the Year, Emory Oxford
Allana has shown tremendous growth and leadership during her eight years with Bon Appétit. Since becoming the general manager at Oxford College of Emory University, she has successfully fostered a team-oriented work environment and built an amazingly supportive team. Allana is a leader of action — she knows when to step in and work a station to enhance the guest experience, and she knows when to empower her team to provide the level of service she expects guests to receive.
Allana keeps her focus on the bigger picture, and always takes the time to make individual team members and guests feel valued and important. She and her team host the most robust student engagement program in the region, and our most senior client recently shared how thrilled she is with Allana’s team’s talent and positive energy.
Carrie Pearl, West Coast (I) Region, Regional RDM of the Year, Regional District Manager
When Carrie began her career at Bon Appétit as a sous chef, her culinary skill, drive, and commitment to excellence were immediately apparent. Over the years her hard work and determination helped her rise through the ranks to become an executive chef. Her career with Bon Appétit has included stints at a variety of high-profile technology and finance companies and a prestigious university. It was apparent early on that through Carrie’s self-discipline, tenacity, and eagerness to learn all aspects of the business, she had the potential to grow into a larger role. Carrie guided her team through the challenge of operating throughout the pandemic and has continued to grow our business, opening two new restaurants and recently winning another account for Bon Appétit! In her current role as resident district manager, Carrie continues to show exemplary leadership, inspiring those around her to strive for excellence.
Kristen Redshaw, West Coast (IV) Region, Regional General Manager of the Year, Columbia Sportswear
Kristen began her journey with Bon Appétit in 1998 as the catering manager at a technology account in Northern California. She’s held various positions with the company throughout her tenure, currently serving as the general manager at Columbia Sportswear. Kristen, along with Executive Chef Joe Dougherty, was honored with the prestigious Golden Gert Award, the first time a contractor has received this distinction. Kristen’s colleagues recognize her as a consummate professional, a top-notch caterer, and a generally great human. Kristen consistently exhibits a willingness to lend a hand wherever needed, offering support and generously sharing her expertise. Her dedication to her craft and the region’s success makes her a truly deserving recipient of this recognition.
Grant Ruesch, Washington/Rocky Mt Region, Regional Executive Chef of the Year, Colorado Christian University
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Grant attended Cal Poly State University, where he also worked at Giovanni’s Fish Market on the waterfront of Morro Bay, CA. In the summer, Grant spent his time offloading shrimp boats and refilling them with ice before they set off for their haul. After graduating, he attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where he studied hospitality and restaurant management. Grant spent a year with Bon Appétit at an account in Santa Clara, California before heading to the Rockies. Drawn by the mountains, he moved to Denver in 2004 and worked in catering, rejoining Bon Appétit as a catering chef in 2013. Grant was later promoted to sous chef and became the executive chef at Colorado Christian University. As the district safety champion, he ensures the safety of the Bon Appétit accounts in the Mountain region, inspiring others to be everyday champions of safety. Grant’s passion, professionalism, kindness, and dedication make him a valuable team member.