Maisie Greenawalt: Bon Appétit 

Asdirector of communications for Palo Alto eatery Bon Appétit, Maisie Greenawalt is aware of the importance of attracting positive attention to her company.

But the adulation Greenawalt has helped Bon Appétit collect spreads beyond the norm of average business fanfare.

Over the last 12 years, Greenawalt has helped orchestrate Bon Appétit’s ascendance into a leader in socially responsible customs — such as purchasing from local farmers and insisting on safe, sustainable environmental practices — highlighting Bon Appétit’s mission. She has helped implement these standards, while making sure that the company maintains its emphasis on its product being the highest quality possible.

"We always want to promote responsible environmental practices," Greenawalt said. "But there is always the caveat — does the product still have a high-quality taste? Usually, the two areas coincide with each other."

Greenawalt graduated from Cornell University with a degree in hotel administration, and accepted a job in management at the Taco Bell Corp. The experience was a far cry from Bon Appétit, but it proved to helpful nonetheless.

"I had a really good education at the Taco Bell Corp.," Greenawalt said. "We really had to manage below the penny, so I learned a lot about analyzing the business and helping us function financially."

After a year with Taco Bell, Greenawalt joined Bon Appétit in 1994, where she initially worked in human resources before moving up internally with company management.

Eventually, she was named director of communications and then accepted a larger role by merging those responsibilities with the company’s strategic initiatives policies.

Now, Greenawalt helps research industry trends and marketing strategies for Bon Appétit, while continuing the company’s philosophy of progressive social practices.

"When we started buying our product locally in 1994 we did it because it was the right thing for Bon Appétit," Greenawalt said. "But we began to realize the importance culturally of what we were doing."

The equity between solid business practices and social awareness, combined with upper-management responsiveness to new ideas, makes Bon Appétit an apt fit for Greenawalt.

"I can’t imagine finding a better place where I have access to senior management," Greenawalt said. "My ideas are so valued here and can be implemented. I don’t think I could find that situation with another company."

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Will Reisman

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