leadership development program
A NOT-FOR-PROFIT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT INCUBATOR
Our community deserves to have businesses that lead with purpose. We plan to create an incubator that promotes purpose driven entrepreneurship with the back-office skills to run successful businesses that make an impact.
1. THE MISSION
2. THE PROGRAM
3. THE TEAM
4. THE FINANCIALS
5. THE IMPACT
OUR MISSION AT VIRTUE IS IN OUR NAME. THE DEFINITION MEANS OF HIGH MORAL STANDARD.
OUR GOAL EACH DAY IS TO DEVELOP THE SKILLS OF EACH INDIVIDUAL ON OUR TEAM. WE DESIRE TO BUILD INTO THEM, GIVING THEM THE ABILITY TO ADVOCATE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMMUNITY, USING THEIR VALUE SYSTEM AS A GUIDE.
VALUE BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The benefit of the Leadership Development Program is to impart a desire for lifelong learning, inspiring people to want to grow and better themselves perpetually. This not only helps the organization but enriches the individual and the community to which that person belongs.
In approaching the growth and betterment of an individual, Virtue espouses a philosophy of development versus training. Training refers to a process where an individual becomes competent in a skill or skills required by a particular role, position, or station, primarily through repetition. Training a person in this manner brings little value to that individual or the organization. In contrast, development refers to an informative process of promoting objective analysis, critical thinking, and organizational capabilities to understand overall processes and conditions to perfect the ability to perform in any given set of circumstances.
The typical result of simple training leads to two common issues:
1. Within an organization, an individual becomes a ‘cog’, able to fit into only one place
2. When moving between organizations (usually as a result of little to no investment in the individual as opposed to their position), an individual needs costly and time-consuming re-training as every organization has a specific way of performing a task, though the positions may be identical with similar responsibilities, By contrast, in the developmental model employed by Virtue Restaurant, while an individual will be instructed on specific tasks relevant to a particular position, our approach gives attention to supplying constructive and aspirational feedback to bolster confidence, analyzing errors to facilitate critical thinking, motivating individuals to set and meet goals, and learning to resolve interpersonal conflicts that reduce team efficiency, as well as conflict resolution as a critical skill set.
Virtue also espouses an alternative mentality of the concept of the team, replacing the notion of a hierarchy of ascending superiors with a collective of coequal individuals. No individual works for another individual along a ladder from the floor to the ceiling, everyone works together for the common purpose of the needs of the space.
The Leadership Development Program at Virtue Restaurant serves as a vehicle to equip our team of local young adults of color to lead, manage change, problem solve, identify opportunities, and execute strategically. By applying the stated skills, our team creates an advantage for our shared business, industry, community, and most important their own lives in real time. Within this purpose, Virtue places a particular emphasis on the development and sustainability which has proven to create value in the community abroad.
These differences in the approach and mentality of Virtue’s Leadership Development Program addresses three problems in modern leadership development:
a gap between motivations, i.e. organizations investing for their own long-term benefit versus individuals participating only to enhance their skills and advance their careers. The inclusive nature of the Virtue team and its organizing principles inspires lasting camaraderie. In times of adversity, as evidenced in the recent pandemic, former team members will donate time and energy to strengthen and support the current team to preserve the organization which directly inspires and impacts the community.
a gap between skills that training programs build and those that organizations require, particularly the people skills essential to increasingly collaborative organizations. Developmental programs tend to lose sight promoting interpersonal connection in favor of easy-to-assimilate conditioning whereas Virtue incorporates educating individuals in how to communicate and work together effectively to address the needs of an organization’s mission.
a gap in the transfer of skills, i.e. taking the lessons learned and applying them to the tasks at-hand. Again, the developmental model employed by Virtue allows an individual to apply their abilities in a more universal way independently of a particular application.
Integral to this approach is Virtue Restaurant’s dedication to serving and improving the Southside community of which it has become a cornerstone, particularly those minority individuals systemically underserved and disadvantaged by our society.
As a minority-owned business, Virtue Restaurant takes absolute pride in assuming responsibility for ensuring that members of our team who identify as people of color gain the knowledge, resources, and opportunities to overcome the gross disparities and change the social dynamics that can challenge and hinder them in this industry, our community, and society-at-large.
In summary, Virtue’s commitment to the broad development of the individual in a team-oriented environment, with an emphasis on building for the future of minorities in Chicago dining scene, forms the core of its leadership development program.
INVESTMENT IN LEADERSHIP
When an individual joins the Virtue Leadership Development Program, we place them under a management level trainer. The trainer will provide immersive style learning environments with real time coaching and opportunities for dialog to encourage not only the development of skills but also the understanding of the values that drive Virtue to stand apart. The programs funds provide not only outfitting the individual, but also trainer compensation, and additional hands-on opportunities to learn and grow.
The program will be largely funded by investors within the hospitality and Virtue investor community. However, we will also be seeking to supplement the private investment with a community grant In order to encourage future investments in the investor pool at Virtue and the community at large.
Individuals in the program will graduate after 1 year to the Jr level and help train, after year 2 they will be promoted to trainers, their new position will then help guide the next cohort of trainees.
We plan to bring on new trainees on a semi annual to annual basis.
FUNDRAISING GOALS & USAGE
OUR GOAL IS TO RAISE 1.2 MILLION THE FIRST YEAR, 600K YEARLY THERE AFTER.
THIS MODEL RELIEVES INVESTOR PRESSURE & ALLOWS FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
The Program will host 8 trainees during the first cycle which lasts a full year. The trainee will then be offered a trainer position, which is a commitment of 2 years. 3 years into the program, and the trainer has the opportunity to join the leadership development team as a manager.
Virtue will supply tools, uniforms, and daily meals to trainees, and seek transportation partners to assist with stipends for public transportation. After the initial 6-month marker, we will look to the restaurant community to do a monthly dinner for our trainees so that they have exposure and application outside of the Virtue space, and ultimately do a yearly trip to the American South to bring the program full-circle and have our trainees better connect with the world they live in through Southern cuisine.
$275,000/YR | TRAINEES GRANT
Trainees will serve in 1-year residencies in which they will participate in a rigorous development process (developed by the Leadership Development Team, see below) that teaches structure, cooking skill & technique, cleanliness, and confidence which is the baseline of the tools needed to lead in the kitchen and their communities. The Program will provide a training wage of $18 per hour for BOH and for $16 per hour for FOH.
$200,000/YR | TRAINERS GRANT
8 Trained front-of-house and culinary professionals who understand our value system and many of Virtue's standard operating procedures will serve as Trainers to create and execute a peer-on-peer instruction format. Virtue will cover the minimum wage of $15.40 per hour and the Program will grant a supplemental amount of $4.60 per hour for a living wage of $20 per hour, earmarking $33 per hour for an average overtime of 10 hours per week.
$125,000/YR DEVELOPERS GRANT
The Program will grant a $300 per week compensation to the Leadership Development Team headed by Erick Williams and his management team who have all been following the precedents of this program for more than 10 years and boast nearly 60 years of combined culinary, hospitality, and development experience.
NOT ANOTHER POPUP KITCHEN
THE #1 QUESTION
asked during the uprising throughout our city was why are people doing this.
The answer in and of itself is very complicated. The short answer is there is that there is a lack of investment in poor communities throughout our nation ,and local businesses are no longer connected to the communities that they service in a way that feels personal.
THE #2 QUESTION
was why are they doing this in their own communities.
NO SOFT SKILLS
Soft skills in not our mission. Part of what we are seeing is an issue with workforce development. People are being taught only soft skills to enable them to perform a job. We are seeing the training and developing our youth in the inner-city center around starting their own food trucks and pop-ups. These do not provide the means or structure to effectively operate brick-and-mortar spaces. Nor does it teach them or give them access to the necessary financial literacy, team construct and or network of potential investors. It is the classic case of taking very talented creatives and under resourcing them to yield individuals that don’t fully grasp business principles, philanthropy, and community engagement at its highest levels.
We want to build a savvier community of inner-city leadership both in their homes and in their workspaces. We want to develop an individual’s critical thinking and set them up for sustainable success. This is value driven entrepreneurship.