Intro: As Real Estate, Legal and Compliance Manager at Earls Kitchen + Bar, Kelly Gannon oversees leasing, acquisitions, and expansion for the popular restaurant chain across Canada. In this Membership Spotlight, Kelly provides insight into her career and tips and advice she has learnt along the way.
Q: Kelly, thank you for being our Member Spotlight! What originally drew you to join CREW? Can you share with us a few things you have gained since joining?
Sharilyn Mason, Chief Development Officer at Earls, is a champion of growth and development for Earls’ Store Development team and highly recommended that I join CREW to meet other women in the real estate industry. I joined shortly before COVID restrictions were implemented so I was only able to attend one network event but I’m looking forward to the day when I can attend CREW networking events in person.
Q: As Real Estate, Legal and Compliance Manager at Earls Kitchen & Bar, you work in a very dynamic, evolving, and fast-paced industry, what originally attracted you to your current roll, and how did you get your start in the industry?
I had worked at a law firm for over 17 years in both administrative and marketing/events roles and found myself looking for a change and new challenge. Growing up in Kamloops, I frequently went to Earls in my teen years, so I felt extra excited to work for this company that I always had respect for and considered cool. I was also intrigued to learn about the restaurant industry. Once I started working at Earls Head Office, it didn’t take very long until I felt completely at home and felt like I was working with family. The things I value the most about Earls are the people and the endless opportunities for self development.
Q: Due to the ongoing COVID crisis, the restaurant & real estate industries have seen a big shift… what changes/ trends are you seeing emerging as a result of this? How is Earls Kitchen & Bar adapting to the new environment?
Our company has pulled together to adapt and adjust like never before in these times. I’ve seen cross-functional teams work together seamlessly to innovate and quickly rollout programs and be prepared to quickly and safely reopen our restaurants once we get the green light. Also, we were able to install a small number of temporary patios last year once liquor boards and municipality programs were rolled out which ended up being quite late to fully leverage patio season. This year, we’re on track to install over double the amount of temporary patios as soon as the weather will allow us in order to fully maximize ROI and recoup some of the sales we’ve lost due to COVID restrictions.
Q: What is the best piece of career and/or life advice you have received that stuck with you?
You have to advocate for yourself and ask for what you need in order to be successful at your role and in your life.
Q: Outside of work, what are your hobbies/passions and what advice do you have for maintaining a good work/life balance to be able to enjoy them?
I live close to the beach in White Rock and can’t wait for the weather to be nice so I can spend more time there with my two-year-old white lab retriever named Luna. I love spending time outdoors and am looking forward to jogging again and going bike riding with my 13-year-old daughter Keely. Working from home has definitely helped with work/life balance and has given me extra time to spend time with my daughter and practice self-care.