From Server to Vice President, Leanna Chroman shares her career journey

As a non-traditional student with a fire inside to succeed, Leanna believes in knowing your worth, advocating for yourself, and creating opportunities.
Leanna Chroman smiling at the camera

Fifteen years ago, Leanna Chroman began her career with Huse Culinary as a server at Harry & Izzy’s. The Huse family also includes our other Hoosier favorites St. Elmo Steakhouse, 1933 Lounge, and HC Tavern & Kitchen. Moving to Indiana with the goal of becoming a detective, working in the food industry was only meant to be a short-lived chapter. However, life had other plans and this industry and company has created unbelievable opportunities and experiences for Leanna. 

Leanna is currently attending Purdue University Global and will graduate with not one, but two degrees in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Let’s just say she is about to master it and keep succeeding and paving the way for others. 

Growing up, she never stepped foot into a high school as she worked and cared for her family, but she later completed her GED. While working for Huse Culinary, she has been promoted seven – yes, seven! – times. From server to trainer to becoming the first female Vice President in the company, there are many things we can learn from her story. 

During her earlier years within the company, she knew that she loved the job and people, but also knew she wanted to enhance her skill set and head back to school. To create the best training possible, she understood that everyone learns differently, and we need to meet the needs of others to truly help them perform at their best. 

I had the chance to chat with Leanna,  and let me tell you, she is such a force!

During some of the challenging days when it’s hard to keep going, what keeps you motivated?
Leanna Chroman sitting in a stool against an orange background throwing an orange in the air
Credit: Edible Indy/Tanysha Parker

It’s so important to be aligned with the mission and values of a company. If you are looking for a job, look at the company’s values and see how they make you feel. I’m a resilient person, and it was built at a young age. My childhood has made me emotionally strong, and there is one key thing that I hold onto that has shaped my life and continues to shape my life and helps me through the hard times – that is hope! 

“Hope is not an emotion; it is literally something you can build into someone else. It is a skill. Hope is a mental skill set that can take you from victim to victorious.”

For those who might not have the ‘hope mindset’ or feel hopeless, what advice do you have?

I think one of the fastest ways to get to a place of hope when you are in despair is volunteering. Go do something nice for someone else. When you are at a low point, go to your local humane society and walk a dog if you are an animal person. Find a shelter to help your neighbor. The smallest things you can do for someone else, those acts of kindness can do something for you, as well. 

“Gratefulness is the only thing that combats grief.”

What are you most looking forward to in your future?

I’m looking forward to graduating from Purdue and being able to walk and get my degrees. That is such a special moment for me. It is an accomplishment I’ve never had the opportunity to have, and with that comes the years of education, refinement, and polishing I’ve needed in my life to make it to the next level. I can’t wait to have more answers and solutions once I graduate to continue to lead and help people. 

Leanna is a true inspiration and full of passion to help those around her, and this is just the beginning of amazing things for her.

Jalysa King is a regular contributor at Indy Maven.

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