By JIMMY KALEBE
TAKING a risk is better than letting your chances slip by, says a woman who is cooking up a storm in Lae.
Cheryl Dorish Mondo is a simple and hard-working woman – and fiercely determined. Her business – of D&J’s Catering and Events – started from very little but has grown to be making a name for itself in Lae, especially in the business community where it is much sought-after.
Mondo is a chef and has a Diploma in Tourism and Events management from Chisholm Institute in Melbourne, which she acquired under an AusAid scholarship in 2010.
The 33-year-old from a mixed parentage of West New Britian and Morobe started her catering and events management services in 2013 with not much money.
“Starting capital and catering space are two main challenges that I have to really overcome to get my dream business off the ground,” she said.
“Much support came from my immediate family members, church members and friends in one way or the other while all that was fine, it was me who really had to make the difference.”
As the business grows, opportunities grow with it, and that makes her glad that she listened to her gut instincts and took the risk. “Taking risks is better than letting opportunities pass you by.”
She started her business from home and in 2015 moved to an office and kitchen space. Her first big break came that same year when she was contracted to provide lunch for night shift workers at Nestle PNG’s factory in Lae. She hasn’t looked back.
In 2016, and again this year, two more companies joined the ranks and D&J’s catering for them too.
“Looking back from where I started, it was a milestone for me and the achievements that I have gained keeps me going strong no matter how many challenges I face in running my business,” said Mondo.
She said things got even better when Ela Motors signed up and also provided a free kitchen and gas for cooking.
Mondo still has some challenges – family, housework and chores – but she has been managing with better planning and time management.
D&J’s is growing in popularity with government departments now also showing interest in its catering services.
And Mondo’s plans for the future? Several, she said.
First she wants to put some money into providing further training for her staff and better opportunities for school leavers. And she wants to grow the business to a level where she has a staff of 50 working in a full commercial kitchen – and maybe a restaurant and hotel in Lae.
She challenges women to trust their instincts and not have self-doubt.
“It is painful and frustrating at times and you feel like giving up on the way but there is always a greener pasture ahead. Kick on and you will see, not only in this regard but in other aspects as well,” she said.
Mondo likes to put God first and she looks to Mathew 6:33 for motivation: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
By JIMMY KALEBE