Member Spotlight – Sara Abbas

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Sara Abbas
Good Eating Company

What advice would you share with a young professional considering the industry?

Be genuine. The teams you build, and the client relationships you cultivate will succeed when they know they are standing in front of a person who is transparent and has their best interest at heart. Our business is brutal; however, taking care of the people who hire us and we hire creates a consistent reputation of excellence that echoes throughout your career. Fail well, learn from your character building days and remain vigilant toward the ever-evolving nature of our industry.

Which hospitality and foodservice services do you oversee and how does SHFM help you balance these responsibilities?

I oversee the New York City market for The Good Eating Company in the Corporate Services sector. I joined SHFM recently and am thrilled to absorb all the knowledge it brings. So far, I’ve already met some amazing leaders and learned about latest advances in the tech area of our industry.

What and where was the best meal you have ever had?

Oh my…. this is the most challenging question ever…. it really depends on the country, however, excluding a meal made by my amazing Pakistani mother, who is a BEAST in the kitchen, I have to say that my favorite people in the last month was in Paros, and island in Greece that served the most amazing whole roasted butterflied branzino, charred red peppers and onion with garlic, oregano and olive oil, lemon potatoes, saganaki cheese & an amazing greek white wine with a mineral finish. This local place is still family run and I was back at there three times during that quick stay before hopping to the next island.

You’ve been involved with SHFM since 2024 – what is your favorite aspect of being a member?

I am a nerd at heart and love learning new things all the time. I believe my tenure with SHFM will allow me to see things from an alternative perspective and I cannot wait!

What do you view as your greatest benefit of SHFM?

Love the sense of community and networking.

What path did you follow to get where you are today?

Well, it sure wasn't the direct path I studied for. My background is in Criminal Justice, Police Studies, Criminal Profiling and Political Science. My original career path involved profiling for the FBI and joining the counterterrorism unit in DC & Quantico. My career in hospitality was growing organically. When I was just about to hang up my hospitality hat, I realized I couldn't. It was the passion and joy of my life. The first person I told was my father who was looking forward to having his bad-ass daughter in the FBI. Needless to say, he was not thrilled; it took a few years for him to understand that food, wine, and people are where my heart is. Do I find my criminal justice training and education to be handy? More than you think! Do not regret staying in the hospitality for one moment, it was who I was born to be.

What is a unique experience you’ve had with SHFM?

I recently attended the tech conference in NYC and I had the pleasure of listening to the brilliant minds of our industry speak about how tech is the future. I was able to attend with my Senior Vice President, Mark Spinelli, who is a seasoned leader in the industry. It was a fantastic learning experience to learn from him, how he approaches our clients, his leaders in the region and his experience in this industry. Attending the conference with him was a pleasure because he has so many stories to share that offer valuable learning lessons. I appreciated his wisdom, sense if humor and genuine candor.

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