Opportunity In Store: Lianne Audette’s Grocery Career is in the Bag
“Don’t be scared to take a risk and step out of your comfort zone,” says Lianne Audette, sharing the words of encouragement she wants Indigenous youth to hear so they can learn from her experience. She could have gone into management ten years ago, but she stayed in her safe, little bubble and delayed moving into a higher level position. It’s what she would tell herself if she could go back in time and encourage herself to keep moving forward and push past the fear that was keeping her stuck.
Audette lives in Winnipeg where she was born and raised. She has worked at the Safeway grocery store for 19 years where she has spent the last five years as a kitchen manager. She started working there when she was 16 as a part-time job so that she could have some pocket money. When she was 17, she got pregnant and then had her first child at the age of 18. She continued working there at the grocery store because she enjoyed the flexible hours and how accommodating her work schedule has been in considering her needs as a parent.
Her family grew and she went on to have two more kids. As she got older, she started wanting more responsibility in the workplace. It turned out that management was a perfect fit for her and she did training to get to that next level in her career. She loves how there is always room to move up, even now that she is a manager. If she wants to keep climbing the ladder and advancing in her career, she can do some more training to qualify for another promotion.
There are so many opportunities to keep learning and growing and that’s something she is grateful for. She’s received her food handlers’ certificate, first aid training, and there’s even more learning she could do if she were so inclined. The work she does from day to day comes easily to but if she wants a challenge there are opportunities she can take advantage of to work at a higher level. “I enjoy what I do. I love what I do. I'm pretty passionate about it and I think I do it really well,” she smiles.
The only real obstacle she’s faced in her work has been the way she’s held herself back at times because she was scared. Personally, she’s faced the challenge of being a teen mom and working to get where she is today. With a strong support system and a husband she describes as “amazing”, she’s found there’s nothing holding her back now, except herself at times.
One of the things that got in her way was her reluctance around not wanting to feel as if she was putting her career ahead of her children. When she got out of her own way and did what she was wanting to do deep down inside, she realized she could have been performing at this level all along. Her children are now 12, 14 and 16.
As far as her educational journey, she didn’t really enjoy high school and she later went to hairdressing school. She found becoming a hairdresser wasn’t something she wanted to do, either. She kept going to classes and finished the program because it was fun, but she just didn’t feel like she had the creativity needed to do the job well full-time. Knowing she doesn’t really enjoy school, she’s not planning to go back but she’s done the training she needs to do her job through her employer. Her son had a similar path of not thriving in formal academic educational environments so he decided to pursue plumbing, something he really loves to do for work.
Looking to the future, she sees herself eventually stepping into the role of store manager. Realistically, she thinks she is going to want more responsibility and the thrill of a new challenge again. It will take some extra training but she anticipates that if she keeps doing what she’s doing, she will eventually get bored and want to push herself to do more. “It would be a big step,” she acknowledges, but she knows she’s still young. At this point, she’s happy where she is but it’s nice to know that the option is there for her to keep growing professionally in a workplace where she has been thriving for almost two decades.
When she’s not at work, she loves spending time in the great outdoors with her family. Their favourite way to spend time together is by going camping. They also love to visit her parents who live in Winnipeg Beach. In the winter, her free time is tied up with life as a hockey mom. If she wants to indulge herself, she likes to go to Thermëa, the Nordic spa in her hometown, but most of the time she enjoys just spending quality time together as a family.
By following her own advice, “Don’t be scared to take a risk and step out of your comfort zone”, Lianne Audette has been able to move into a role she loves as a kitchen manager. She’s cooking up a happy career in a store where she’s got room to grow while still being the kind of mom she’s always wanted to be. After almost two decades of service, she’s got deep roots in her workplace and a strong foundation that lets her raise her family and live the life she wants to lead, happily working somewhere opportunity is always in store.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
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