What first comes across about Shynitha is her bright smile and infectiously positive attitude. Today, she works at the Frontera Express in the State Street Macy’s, but it took a long road and a lot of hard work to get there. When she started at Inspiration Corporation in 2007, after living in Florida for a number of years, she knew she “didn’t want to waste more time.” Her main objective was finding a purpose in her life that could lead to a meaningful career. She now says that without Inspiration Corporation she wouldn’t have known what to do with her life. She found both her passion for food and the skills to make her dream a reality at Inspiration Corporation.
Shynitha was part of one of the first graduating classes of the Foodservice Training program. When she was initially referred to Inspiration Corporation, she was not sure she would meet all the requirements for entry. However, after meeting Chef Sharon and Chef Quantrell (then a sous chef at Inspiration Kitchens) she felt encouraged; even though the challenges of the Foodservice Training program were daunting. Shynitha says she “never thought I’d make it out,” but that it turned out to be a “blessing in disguise.” After completing her training she went on to work as a kitchen coordinator at the Living Room Cafe, under current Associate Director of Operations, Jeff Adams.
While working at the Living Room Cafe she found that she and the participants there “had some kind of bond…People felt comfortable coming to me with their problems.” And Shynitha was always an empathetic listener who was willing to lend a hand. Even now she recalls, “I’d never want to be in that boat and not have someone who had my back. I’d want them to have my back.”
After a time as the kitchen coordinator at the Living Room Cafe, Shynitha landed a job at Food for Thought, where she worked as an “action chef” for three years, before moving on to a position at the State Street Macy’s, where she has worked since May. When she first started at Macy’s, in the catering division, supervisors and managers immediately noticed her skills and promise, promoting her within a few short months to the kitchens of Frontera Express. She is now training to prepare soups and sauces, as well as cook for the more upscale Walnut Room restaurant and Narcissus Room event space.
Her goals include owning and operating her own food truck within two years, and soon after that opening a “mini family café.” She plans for the food truck to have a Nigerian-American influence and for the café to feature Southern comfort food. She looks forward to her business being a place her nine year old son can work in and be proud of when he comes of age, as well as a place that will keep him safe and off the streets.
Shynitha still visits the Living Room Cafe, and saw her replacement, Royal Green, there just last year. She looks forward to returning to volunteer with her son and introduce him to the people who encouraged and inspired her years ago. She’d like for her son to meet the participants who come in for meals and “Hear their stories, and know that they’re genuine people,” because “it makes you humble yourself.” According to Shynitha, “A lot of people understood and kept me on the path I’m on now. People who told me never to give up.”