Kate Bendall, Managing Director
I am a ‘real foodie’! I love to try different foods, experiencing new flavours and seeing what I can experiment with next!
I am a classically trained cordon bleu chef with advanced pastry qualifications. I worked as a Chef for 8 years, and then moved into the Operations Team before progressing onto the sales team. I have a varied and rounded expertise to identify your needs and design a solution.
I worked in and managed the sales team for over 12 years and enjoyed working with the different teams problem solving and finding solutions for the various sites. The diverse knowledge and experience I have will lend itself very well to my new and exciting role of Joint Managing Director with my sister. I look forward to the challenges ahead, whilst ensuring Connect continue to deliver fresh food and quality service.
Our Operations Team is very good with the training and development of each catering team and this makes my life very easy when putting across to our new clients, how fabulous our teams are. All any prospective client needs to do is talk to one of our clients or come on a site visit - and they will see for themselves how different we are; and WE DO WHAT WE SAY!
My favourite food………..huummm well – the problem with asking this is I just love to change my views all the time as I don’t like to stick with one thing!! Well….duck hoisin, or duck breast cooked pink with roasted beetroot, chicory, and potato dauphinoise with pomegranate butter!! Love it!! Or Sea bass with shredded fresh veggies en papillote served with warm flat bread! Or a big salad with hot chicken with a mustard and honey dressing poured all over it!! Divine!! Then of course the desserts….oh don’t get me started!!
Louise Laver, Managing Director
I have worked for the company in different departments over 22 years. I have loved being involved in creating all the marketing for all the sites over. I have also managed the office and payroll department and I am now thrilled to step up to Joint Managing Director with my sister. We have proven we work very well together, complementing each other’s strengths. Our collective backgrounds and knowledge plus attention to detail will ensure Connect grows and develops for a further 25 years.
This may sound like a cliché but I do love food and so does my family which enables me to experiment with sweet and savory dishes, plus I really like baking! The office is always very grateful to sample my baking creations.
Outside work I am a busy mother and wife, so my spare time is full of family time. My husband and I are keen rugby supporters playing a little during our education. Now following in our footsteps are our two children who are both rugby fans.
Study is the key word in our house at the moment…my daughter has just completed her GCSE’s and is now starting her A Levels, along with theatrical stage management. My son is currently studying for his GCSE's.
Jane Griffiths, Operations Director
I joined Connect in 1998 as a Chef Manager and then moved on to Catering Manager and in 2004 I was promoted to Operations Manager. I thoroughly enjoyed this role, working with my teams, communicating with the clients and generally ensuring all of Connect’s standards and values were met. I am passionate about ensuring all sites deliver quality fresh food and exceptional service to all customers and clients. I have extensive experience in running large operations and multi-site units in all sectors of the contract catering industry including business, industry, education and residential care.
My qualifications include a three year professional Chefs course at Westminster College where I completed 706/1, 706/2, 772/1, several wine exams and applied science qualifications, and a NEBs certificate in Management Studies. I have spent the last 30 years in the catering sector, in a broad spectrum of roles including running my own restaurant – an all-encompassing and enjoyable challenge!
To relax, there is nothing better than loading Archie, my dog, and family into the car and heading for the Scottish Lochs to enjoy the scenery, the nature, and messing about on the water.
Sue Clay, Finance Director
I first joined the company in 1986 as a Catering Manager. I had been trained in Hotel and Catering Operations at Oxford College and then followed this up with an Advanced Diploma at Prue Leith’s School of Food & Wine in London. I have always had a passion for food but after working for the company for 10 years I went on maternity leave and decided to retrain as an Accountant.
I passed my AAT and CIMA exams and worked in various companies and roles in industry. A happy coincidence brought me back into contact with John Herring which resulted in me being offered the role of Head of Finance.
This allows me to combine my love of the catering industry with my career as an Accountant and gives me a unique perspective when talking to Catering Managers as I can easily put myself in their shoes.
I love still being part of a catering company and enjoy visiting sites and sampling the fantastic cooking that our Chefs produce. Things have changed a lot since my cooking days but freshly cooked food is still the most important thing we do and I am always happy to ensure the standards are maintained by testing the food!
Liz Mbaziira, Personnel Director
First and foremost I love food. I may not be the most expert person with a saucepan; however I really enjoy delicious dishes prepared in our sites. So much so, I feel obliged to purchase and try at every opportunity.
My background before Connect was in insurance claims. What an insight into people! Listening, understanding, showing empathy where necessary, finding solutions and resolving claims all provide an excellent depth of knowledge for human relations.
I enjoy working for Connect as my job is so varied, meeting different people, hearing interesting stories and ensuring our managers and teams have the support they deserve. The diverse teams within Connect work hard to ensure they deliver great fresh food and create a friendly, professional environment.
I also put my PGCE to good use by training for the company and it is fantastic to see people develop and improve. The fact that this can be combined with my undoubted love of food is a major added bonus!