Constance Van Heule, head of growth for Fieldtrip in New York City, was chosen for the NRN Power List by chef/owner JJ Johnson for how she embodies the brands values and “leads with purpose.” Here’s what else he had to say:
Constance is the driving force behind Chef JJ Johnson. She embodies perseverance. She believes in a better food place for all and that there is a bright future for people of color and women to lead companies. She leads with a sense of purpose that there is nothing below her and [we can] all rise together. Over this next year she will truly define what Chef JJ looks like as a brand and help maintain the marketing efforts of Fieldtrip.
Nation’s Restaurant News talked with Constance Van Heule about navigating the challenges of 2020 and building an inclusive, mission-driven company. Here’s what she had to say:
What were the biggest lessons you learned from the challenges of 2020?
Always be ready to adapt. Adapting has certainly been my biggest asset during the pandemic. While a global pandemic was definitely not on anyone’s radar, I quickly learned that acting decisively and rapidly was crucial as business hurdles came through. In this case it meant switching priorities and approaching problems head on in ways that hadn’t been done before.
I’m extremely proud of the remarkable work JJ and the team have done within the community. Shutting down was no option for JJ. We partnered with the Boys and Girls Club, Harlem Grown and New York City Housing Authority to provide nutritious, flavorful meals to community members in need at the very start. Lines grew longer every day and we were really able to touch the community in a very unique way.
How is your organization working to build a diverse and inclusive company culture?
Developing a strong and diverse work environment is conducive to a successful organization. At Fieldtrip you’ll find people from all walks of life and everyone has an important role to play. We continuously bounce ideas off of each other and really get different perspectives, which allows us to grow exponentially as a company.