20 Under 40 Class of 2017

Nathan Todd 
Director of dining services and director of events, Fresh Ideas and bleu Events
Age: You never ask a lady her age! But there is a rumor I am 34.

Hometown:
Wellsville, Missouri.

Years lived in Columbia:
16.

Tell us about your job:
Where to start? I hold a dual role with Fresh Ideas and bleu Events, so I wear many hats and spend a majority of my time answering questions.
 
Who is a mentor in your life?
I don’t have one mentor that I use to guide my life, but I have met some amazing people in my journey. I remember my sixth grade teacher, Rhonda Blaue, being a person I have always reflected on, and I still gain inspiration from the passion and grace with which she educated students.

What are some misconceptions about your job?
I don’t actually cook — the majority of my time is spent with concept changes, client relations, and team building.


What is the single best thing about your job?

It is always changing. I always have a new project or thought that I am working on.

What was the last professional goal you accomplished? 
I try to not set goals and focus on constant growth. I find that if I set a specific goal, I get tunnel vision and miss all the lessons I could have learned along the way.

What motivates you?
Nothing will light a fire under me more than when people tell me something can’t be done. I am crafty and I will find a way.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing? 
I want to be the guy who rents beach chairs.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of? 
Being a part of bleu’s growth from a small market to bleu Events.

What’s your favorite community project? 
Being on the board of Missouri Contemporary Ballet.

What is the single biggest lesson you’ve learned in business? 
If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it for long.

What is your favorite business book you’ve ever read and what impact did it have on you? 
“The Heart and the Fist” by Eric Greitens. His discusses leadership skills, resilience, and knowing that you can learn from everyone around you.

If you had unlimited funds, what is the one specific thing you would do to improve Columbia? 
I would start a community culinary training program offering training to high-risk and drop-out students, giving them the opportunity to express themselves through culinary adventures.

What is one goal you have for 2017 and how do you plan to achieve it?
Start the process for writing a book — “So There I Was: The Life and Times of a Catering Company.”

What trait do you most want in a co-worker or employee?
I am all over the place and always have random ideas shooting through my head. Dealing with me is much like herding a cat. Luckily, Kristyn, the assistant director, keeps me wrangled and organized.

If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
Hmmmmmm, do I dare mess with perfection? Honestly, I’m terrible at relaxing. I would work on being OK with doing nothing. 

What do you do for fun? 
I love being outdoors. A majority of my time not at work is spent outdoors with my loveable sidekick and man’s best friend, Frank, my lab/pit mix.

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