Murline Mallette: Executive director at Liaison College Culinary Arts
1. If you could choose anyone, who would you choose as a business mentor?
My very first mentor 30 years ago was Dan Oberlander, president of CN Hotels. He gave me the support and confidence to move up the ladder at CN Hotels. Now I count on my close business associates, family and friends. They know me so well.
2. What advice have you received that has helped you the most?
I trust my own gut instinct. I have been in business for so many years that I know what works for me and, of course, the incredible people that I surround myself with on a day-to-day basis.
3. What would you do if you felt no fear?
Open another business
4. What makes you laugh?
My family and friends. They are all a hoot!
5. Where have you visited that you would like to return?
I fell in love with Ireland. I would move there and open a pub.
6. What is your favourite spot in Hamilton?
My favourite spot is my own patio. Family and friends gather there with my husband, Gene, and me to eat, drink fabulous wine and solve all the problems of the world.
7. What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure … oh my goodness I have so many … but the best one is to spend Sundays reading and having family and friends over for a really casual dinner.
8. What did you learn from your first job?
My very first job was serving at the lunch counter at Kresge’s in the Oshawa Centre Mall. I learned not to eat anything except the ice cream and Coke!!! I was 14.
9. What is your favourite hobby?
My favourite hobby is theatre. I have been involved in professional and community theatre for over 50 years and I still love it when the curtain rises and the lights dim.
10. What do you do to wind down from work?
I spend about a half hour with a finger of really good single malt Scotch and toast my family and friends who have left me. It grounds me and then I try to cook something wonderful for dinner!
11. What’s your favourite meal to make or eat at a restaurant?
I really love a great steak or delicious hamburger. I’m a meat-a-terian.
12. What makes you nervous?
13. How do you motivate people?
I stand beside them and say we can do this together and we do.
14. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I really dislike whiners and complainers.
15. What are you good at?
Taking an idea and making it happen. My staff tell me I tap dance and they do, too.
16. What do you want to work on?
My own personal health.
17. What is Hamilton’s most valuable asset?
I still firmly believe in the people of Hamilton.
18. If you were to describe your company’s mission in one sentence what would it be?
Make a difference every day.
19. What is the biggest challenge for small- to medium-sized businesses today?
Trying to deal with our federal, provincial and local government on every day issues. It would be nice if they responded in a timely manner. It doesn’t happen.
20. How do you balance your life?
I try to turn off the business side of my brain on my drive home. I then become a wife, mother and friend until seven the next morning.
21. What makes a good employee?
Good employees are “not a dime a dozen” as most people think. My philosophy is: Hire the best, tell them what you expect and then get out of their way. I have never considered myself as the boss, but simply one of a team of professionals who work together.
22. What do you think people would be surprised to know about you?
I once parachuted out of a plane to impress a young man. I landed in the parking lot and by the way, I did not marry him. LOL.