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with Human Resources Manager, Elise Schauer

In this series, we take a look at the amazing work being accomplished by members of our community. These are the game-changers, the inspirational leaders, and the passion-driven individuals who are changing our community, our health and our planet.

Q. Introduce yourself: tell us who you are and what you do.

A. Hi! My name is Elise Schauer, and I am Impact Kitchen’s Human Resources Manager

Q. How did you get started with Impact Kitchen? 

A. I joined the Impact Kitchen team almost six years ago - wow, time flies! This was back when we were one restaurant located on King Street East and just two weeks after I moved to Canada from the US. 

I started as a Line Cook and over the next two years worked my way up through Front of House Supervisor and Assistant General Manager positions. About four years ago, as Impact Kitchen was preparing to start opening up other locations, I was given the amazing opportunity to serve as Impact’s first-ever HR Manager. 

Coincidentally, I started this new role after having recently broken my leg! It was an unusual way to begin a new job, to say the least, and I am especially grateful that Impact offered me this life-changing opportunity in spite of these (bedridden) circumstances!

Q. How has your role changed? 

A. My core responsibilities as HR Manager have not changed too much over the years. But the scope and how I approach my role have evolved as Impact Kitchen has grown from one restaurant with about 30 employees to 5 restaurants, a commissary kitchen, and a head office team with about 250 employees total. 

For most of my time as HR Manager, I have been a department of one, but now I am happy to have two other amazing people on the HR team: Corey, our Corporate Recruiter, and Richard, our Community Outreach & Inclusion Coordinator.

Q. What was your vision for the work you do? What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

Impact Kitchen’s founders had a vision to be revolutionary and turn the restaurant industry ‘upside down’. When taking on the HR Manager role, I intended to apply these progressive values to how we support and manage our people. Since beginning my work in HR, my hope was to take all of the lessons I’ve learned through a very eclectic career path and use them to cultivate a positive, safe, welcoming, and fulfilling work environment for anyone who chooses to spend their time working on the Impact Kitchen team. 

I am excited to keep learning and making positive changes for the people that make Impact Kitchen great, all while we as a company get bigger, better, and busier!

Q. Can you tell us some of the things you’ve already accomplished in this role? 

Through working alongside staff, managers, and IK owners, I have helped build just about every HR system from scratch: recruitment, hiring, training, policies and procedures, safety, talent development, rewards and recognition, performance evaluations, payroll, and more! 

Recent accomplishments that I’m especially proud of include helping to lead Impact Kitchen through the pandemic crisis, instituting a 360-degree performance review process where employees anonymously review their managers, and collaborating with Richard to teach management workshops around Unconscious Bias & Equitable Hiring.

Q. Outside of work, what lights you up?  

Spending time outside always lights me up, and right now this means biking around the city, walking, gardening, hiking, swimming, and camping! The kinds of things that help me de-stress and stay grounded include exercising, cooking, meditating, reading, knitting, listening to music, playing flute, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Q. What’s your favourite thing to eat at Impact? 

This is a hard question—there are too many yummy things on our menu! The Warrior Bowl is definitely what I order the most often—usually with tempeh, chicken, or a hard-boiled egg added for protein.

Q. And finally, how do you strive to make an Impact every day?

I am lucky that my normal day-to-day work provides me with so many opportunities to make an impact! I am a big believer in the power of random acts of kindness and I am always looking for chances to bring some positivity into the lives of those around me. I also volunteer with and actively support larger organizations like Amnesty International, the Red Door Family Shelter, New Visions Toronto, and Thunder Woman Healing Lodge just to name a few.

We look forward to introducing you to more members of our community who are making an Impact every day.


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