People are key to the success of Montana Group, the largest privately owned specialist caterer in New Zealand, based right here in Waikato.
A crew of hundreds of passionate casual and permanent staff exude the Montana Difference – the little bit of magic that starts in state-of-the-art kitchens and finishes with customers delighted by venues or events where they sample Montana’s real and contemporary great taste.
But this expertise goes beyond the kitchen, with the Montana team including event management, front-of-house, logistics and operations staff.
Montana HR Co-ordinator Meenal Budukh began working front-of-house for Montana on a casual basis when a chance conversation with a manager sparked an opportunity.
Top Career Tip
“Do the work, do it honestly and with faith. It doesn’t matter where you start off, it matters where you see yourself going.”
A Chat with Meenal about her role
Meenal, what does your job look like?
I take care of some of the training so it might be workplace motivation, induction training for a team member’s first day or health and safety. I’ve been doing recruitment for our events crew – they could be part of the kitchen, front of house, retail staff or anything else really! That’s been my main focus lately but if anyone in the office needs someone to talk to, I’m always here for them.
How did you get started at Montana?
During one of the events I was covering I started talking to my manager about my studies. He asked if I wanted to go into human resources, and of course I did! But I’ve always wanted to work my way up in an organisation and build a grounding in the company first – that way you understand how it works and your inputs are more context related. My manager passed my name on to the HR partner at Montana and I had an interview. I was finishing up my thesis at the time, so it took a couple of months but now I’m here!
What are some of the highlights of your job?
I love that I get to work in the events industry. I love the fact that I get to talk to so many people and help them if I can. And I love the fact that I’m a team member – there’s always someone looking out for me and guiding me, I’m not left to fend for myself.
What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This is my first job after graduating so there have been a lot of challenges adjusting to what I learned and what actually happens in the workplace. When I first started, I was doing a lot of admin work and it was a challenge to adapt to those processes and find one that worked for me.
What’s your advice for starting out on their career journey?
Do the work, do it honestly and with faith. It doesn’t matter where you start off, it matters where you see yourself going. I started as front of house and never thought I would end up as HR but here I am! You never know what’s going to happen so as long as you’re doing the work and doing it whole-heartedly, you’ll definitely reach your goal.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
I manage stress by going to the gym, I’m a Zumba instructor! It’s also good to have friends outside of work so it’s not just work friends I spend time with – I spend time with friends who are completely unrelated to work so I can just switch off and talk about something else. I love to go hiking as well or do something a bit creative – as long as you have some activities going on outside of work, it really helps you balance things. Oh, and having someone who listens to you of course!
What's your advice for someone starting out in this line of work?
There will be a lot of admin work – never ever run away from it! Do the paperwork… it will make your life easier.
What are your aspirations for your future?
I feel like this is the first step in my dream but there’s still work to be done. My bosses are really excited to see where I go and I’m excited to keep working with them. There’s a lot of learning still to do. I feel like if you’re ready to learn, you can really go a long way.
Becoming an Hr coordinator
What sort of person do you recommend for this type of work?
- Good people skills
- Be considerate – don’t jump to conclusions!
- Be empathetic
- Have active listening skills
- Be able to see behind the wall people build around themselves – the more you listen to someone, the more you’ll be able to read between the lines and see what they’re actually trying to say.