Young Entrepreneurs Receive Outstanding Mentorship Through CEO’s Generosity

Tom Walter, CEO of Tasty Catering, has a long standing relationship with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO). Tom is a frequent speaker at the CEO National Conferences and has gone out of his way to serve as a mentor to students and future entrepreneurs. Tasty Catering is a diversified corporate event planning company that specializes in catering, breakfast, lunch, picnics, barbecues, entertainment, holiday parties, and special events for the Chicago area. As part of its entrepreneurial culture, every employee is required to read the popular James Charles Collins book “From Good to Great.” They encourage employees to be innovative and to share their ideas. Tasty Catering has launched six companies all started by their young entrepreneurial minded staff. The company has won numerous awards since they transformed their business back in 2005, but what they haven’t been awarded for is their tremendous efforts in helping to mentor young students and entrepreneurs.

Kaitlyn Caraway, a student at Ball State University in Indiana, met Tom Walter at the 2011 National CEO Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Kaitlyn is working on her new start-up company, 360°mobile. She mentioned that “Since the conference, I have kept in touch quite often with Mr. Walter, and was invited to see Tasty Catering’s facility in Elk Grove. On my tour, he taught me about his business’s well-known management style, and some of the history of his business ventures.” Tom is now on the advisory board for Kaitlyn’s company and is helping mentor her along the path to success.

Trent Infield, a student at Miami University of Ohio, co-founder of Talon Mobile LLC, also met Tom at the CEO National Conference and stated that “Tom’s help has been indispensable for my entrepreneurial journey.” Among other things, Tom helped Trent work through LLC partnership agreements and some of his other questions and concerns related to his start-up venture.

Sean O’Morrow recently graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in international business. Sean was present at Tom’s presentation at the 2011 National CEO Conference and based on his culinary interests , decided to approach Tom for more information on opportunities in the food industry for new entrepreneurs such as himself. Tom invited Sean to have lunch with him, and that was only the start of Sean’s hands-on experience with Tom and Tasty Catering; “they put me up in a hotel for all of my stay, paid me a good wage, and even did my laundry. As for work experience at Tasty, I was able to work in various departments including culinary, delivery, and banquet serving. I also had a crash course in marketing, ordering, logistics, and management.” In summing up his overall experience, Sean said, “In total, I put in about 85 hours in 6 days and couldn’t have loved it more. I appreciate that entrepreneurs like Tom, Larry, and Kevin Walter are willing to take the time to show a younger generation the ropes.” Tom had only great things to say about Sean as an aspiring entrepreneurial mentee; “Sean joined us on December 14th during the height of our holiday season. His work ethic, his knowledge of culinary skill and the hospitality industry is amazing.” This relationship that began with networking at the National CEO Conference led to a great experience for both Tom and Sean.

Not only is Tasty Catering growing in its success as a company, but the mentorship opportunities that Tom and the other Tasty Catering team have provided to students is helping to enhance the success of young entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial community itself. In addition to mentoring individual students, Tasty Catering has opened its doors to CEO Chapters and groups of promising students; the CEO Chapters at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and DePaul University have been invited to visit the their headquarters, experience an entrepreneurial culture in action, and share their entrepreneurial ideas with the Tasty team. CEO and aspiring entrepreneurs are fortunate to have a passionate and dedicated mentor such as Tom Walter of Tasty Catering.

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