Our story

Learn more about us and how Essayer was born

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Picture of Renee Guilbault

Hey there, friend!

Picture of Renee Guilbault

My name is Renee Guilbault (pronounced GILL-BO).

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Picture of Renee Guilbault

Yup, that's me. 😃

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I’m so excited to see you here! Let me introduce myself.

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👇👇
Picture of Renee Guilbault

I'm a veteran food-industry consultant with expertise in large-scale, global, multi-unit food and beverage operations.

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You may be asking yourself, "WTF does that even mean...?"

Picture of Renee Guilbault
Picture of Renee Guilbault

Before launching my consulting firm in 2016, I led food and operations teams for some of the biggest names in the food world: Pret A Manger, Bon Appétit Management Company at Google, Compass Group, and Le Pain Quotidien.

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Along the way to achieving those leadership roles, I worked as an ingredient broker selling eggs and veggie powders to US food manufacturers...

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…created a side gig helping small biz owners set up their books and computer systems…

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…was fired as a server…

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... cooked for the Royal Automobile Club in London…

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...had a side gig cooking at the American Embassy Residence of the OECD ambassador in Paris...

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…ran a catering business...

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...was a private chef and an executive chef...

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… led global food and operations teams all over the world…

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...was Head of Food for a Silicon Valley food-tech start-up...

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…lived in Paris (2X!), London, Switzerland, NYC (2X!), Los Angeles (3X!), Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Mountain View, and now Boston, and yes, I officially hate moving…

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…BUT every time I have moved, it’s been an incredible work and life experience... so I’ll probably move again. 😂

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“Saying yes to opportunities” has shaped my life so I’m a big believer in just going for it.

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These days, my mission is to help others grow in the food world.

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Whew... that was a lot

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Picture of Renee Guilbault

So enough about me.

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Let me introduce one of my partners in crime, Dr. Philippa Hardman, also known as Phil who is a treasured Advisor to Essayer and Mise Mode

Phil enters the chat

Gosh, isn't Renee’s background so cool?

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Hi, I'm Phil!

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That's me 👇

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Picture of Philippa HardmanPicture of Philippa Hardman

I’m a hybrid beast: part academic, part entrepreneur & part disruptor

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So… what does that all mean?  I obtained my Masters and PhD in Digital Humanities back when technology was starting to emerge as a main vehicle for human learning.
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*my grandad’s my daily inspiration - he achieved unbelievable things for thousands of people, thanks to a disruptive spirit.
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Here’s tiny me, merrily hijacking his big day!

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After a decade+ of studying & researching with some of the sharpest & most inspiring minds in the world, I left academia (AKA higher education).

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Picture of Philippa Hardman

Well, sort of...

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I’m still an affiliated scholar at Cambridge... once a researcher, always a researcher.

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Picture of Philippa Hardman

My mission these days: to make the career & life-changing learning experiences that I’ve been lucky enough to have at places like Cambridge and Harvard available to everyone. Like you!

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After a ton of research as a scholar and tons of hands-on experimentation as VP Learning & Chief Learning Officer at some of the best ed techs in the world, I cracked the formula and created DOMS™️

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DOMS™️ is my framework to optimize every learning experience for learner motivation mastery & achievement.  
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I’ve tested it a lot and it’s proven to 10X levels of learner attraction, motivation, retention & joy.

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Yep, I said 10X. 10X!

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Picture of Philippa Hardman

I’m super pumped to work with Renee and the team @MiseMode to disrupt the food industry by using DOMS™️ to design & deliver game-changing career experiences.

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So now that you know way too much about me, let me pass the baton to another partner in crime, Matt Delaney.

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Matt is Mise Mode’s Head Operations Coach and everyone’s BFF.

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Matt enters the chat
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Thanks, Phil!

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Hi, I'm Matt! The laughing guy below.

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👇👇
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Not going lie – I am one of those dinosaurs that didn’t know you could get a PhD in digital learning science and “designing” learning experiences. Amazing!

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Picture of Matt Delaney

Yup... 👆 That's me, minus the front flip.

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But I don’t really know anything about that world.

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My whole life has been spent in restaurants, production facilities, bakeries, and commissaries.

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47 years in fact.

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I know I'm biased, but I look pretty good for an old guy!

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Picture of Matt Delaney

I got my first food job at 16 – I was a busboy and dishwasher at Dr. Generosity on the corner of the street I grew up on. 

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I know... The name was insane!

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In my senior year of high school, I got a part time job at Roy Rogers restaurants as a grill and fry cook and I loved it!

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I was a GM by age 20.

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By 29, I moved into a Regional Director role at Ground Round running 7 units in North Jersey. It was such a great job.

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Also, I just loved saying I worked at “Ground Round”. 😂

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Picture of Matt Delaney

My next years were spent climbing the Operations ladder and fine tuning my skills at Red Robin, TGI Friday’s, and Cosi Sandwich Bar.

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By the time I left Cosi, I was the Director of Food & Beverage with 93 units.

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The next 15 years I spent in Senior Leadership roles at Chop’t Creative Salad Co., Le Pain Quotidien, Juice Press, and Gregory’s Coffee.

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I went from roles Directing F&B to overseeing Operations and becoming the COO of both Chop’t and LPQ while ultimately overseeing 90 restaurants and $200M in business.

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These days, I’m a consultant and own 3 restaurants of my own in NJ. 

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My kids help me run the restaurants, and they live on the same street – 4 kids and 11 grandkids!

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Yeah, I'm busy.

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Picture of Matt Delaney

I’m looking forward to working with you and teaching you everything I know.  And I’ll give you a spoiler….

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Everything in this business is “people first”. Always.

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I’m self-taught, earned my way into leadership roles, and excited to help you do the same.

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That’s probably the thing about my career that I am most proud of. 

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Picture of Matt Delaney

Supporting all the amazing folks I have had the opportunity to train and mentor over all my years…

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…who now run F&B and Operations programs all over the globe themselves.

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Yep, Renee used to work for me too!

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Speaking of Renee... passing it back over to you!

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Thanks, Matt!

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You're one of the greatest mentors of my professional life and I am so happy to build out these tactical modules with you so that everyone can learn from a true Ops master.

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Picture of Renee Guilbault

👆 = you

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Anyhoo…

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…I’m sure you can see that we are a bunch of folks who love what we do, and in the midst of delivering some seriously fun and impactful programs.

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Designed for learning.

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Designed for YOU.

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So, when we talk about design, we have to introduce another incredible Advisor to MM – Colton Schweitzer, the AMAZING co-founder of Kickass UX and true partner in crime here at Mise Mode.

Colton enters the chat

Hi, I'm Colton!

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Yup. The guy above 🙄👆

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I'm a UX (user experience) designer.

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I got into UX by accident by creating my own board game called "Son of a Blank!"

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Picture of Son of a Blank!Image of Colton Schweitzer

This was my first taste of business ownership and designing a full product from scratch, including all of the branding, experience, and marketing materials.

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Soon after, I landed a job at an enterprise SaaS company.

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That experience helped me understand how to take wildly complex problems and break them down into a simple solution.

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Image of Colton Schweitzer

In 2019, my business-partner-in-crime, Ludovic, and I decided to go out on our own and dramatically improve the education for aspiring UX designers.

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That's when we created our company Kickass UX.

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All of these experiences have helped me understand how people truly learn and absorb information.

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AND how to create kickass experiences.

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Image of Colton Schweitzer

I'm so stoked to be part of the Mise Mode team!

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Firstly, because I LOVE food and cooking.

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And secondly, so I can tackle all things design and ensure a kickass digital experience.

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Thanks, Colton!

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Colton will never tell you this so I will…

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He is so dang talented - he built this website and dreamed up all of our fun online experiences because he GETS what we are doing over here.

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Experience is everything when you talk about driving outcomes – so you better have a badass designer supporting the biz. And boy do we ever!

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Hope I didn’t embarrass you too much!

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Well that’s a lot “About Us” but hopefully you have a better sense of the amazing talent behind Mise ModeTM that’s at the table, and especially what we all care about.

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So… are you up for a little unsolicited career advice?

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Cool, here we go…

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The most valuable lesson I have learned over all these years is that you have to be willing to reach for the things you want for yourself.

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To simply “try” has probably become the most significant aspirational goal of my life, because when you do, wherever that attempt ultimately leads…

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…you'll win valuable learnings…

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…but you can also take comfort in knowing that you were courageous enough to give it a whirl and see.

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Picture of Renee Guilbault

That’s why I named my company Essayer (pronounced ESS-AA-YAY). 

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It means "try" in French.

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Nothing ventured - nothing gained. So just GO FOR IT!

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Picture of Renee Guilbault

And remember - where you start is never where you end up. Truly.

Picture of Renee GuilbaultA picture of Renee Guilbault cooking when she was 3 years old.
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👆 That's me when I was 3.

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Wishing you a wild and wonderful journey ahead and hope we can be a part of it!

Are you ready to grow your business with us?

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