Caterers, competition and copper pots

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One of the most interesting discussions I heard at ISES Eventworld 2012 in Dallas wasn't one of the formal presentations. Instead, it came up in casual conversation�as many great discussions do at events. And it involved a vital question: What's the right balance between being a competitor and a colleague?

Joann Roth-Oseary (pictured), president of catering company Someone's in the Kitchen, was relating the story of another caterer in L.A. who had been trying to woo away many of her staff members.

Joann was pretty disgusted by this. Referring to other local caterers she respects, she says, "We would never try to take an employee away from one another, nor would be ask to see someone else's proposal so we could underbid. The correct answer to your clients would always be, 'Please share your budget parameters with me and I will be happy to show you what we can do for you.'"

Joann pointed to the relationships she has with other established caterers, saying, "I could always call them to borrow a copper pot, and I would lend them a pot, too."

"Respectful professional relationships within your industry are the strong foundation upon with to build your company and your reputation," she adds. And as a multiple Gala Award winner and winner of the Special Events Lifetime Achievement Award, she should know.

"Clawing and trampling is not the way to the top as the ladder always has two sides," Joann says. "And we must see ourselves on both."

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