Stephanie Hampson (‘11), Josh Boersma (’16), and Richard Fantin (’06) all started working at Noodlebox and Meat & Bread around the same time. As these co-workers began to get to know each other better, they quickly discovered they were each graduates of Trinity Western University. Though they all attended at different times, their alumni status and their mutual love for the school became a bonding point for them.
“My experience at TWU was incredibly fulfilling and stretching,” says Boersma. “From being an only child to having roommates and dormmates, engaging in discussions about integrating faith in the workplace with professors and students, as well as developing lifelong friends, attending Trinity was one of the most impactful opportunities God has blessed me with to date. The job I have today is a direct result of the people I interacted with daily at TWU.”
Hampson—whose parents and two brothers have all attended Trinity Western—says her experiences there helped her grow out of her high-school shell and develop the leadership skills she needed to thrive in her career.
“My accounting profs, especially Amanda Greenway, consistently encouraged me in my pursuit of the CA designation and prepared me well for networking, communicating, and interviewing. It helped get me where I am today,” says Hampson.
Fantin agrees with Boersma and Hampson, adding that the only word he can find to describe his experience is, “Awesome!”
Choosing Noodlebox and Meat & Bread
Hampson says she was familiar with the Noodlebox brand during its earlier days, after it had expanded from a food cart to a small storefront in Victoria, so she was thrilled to get involved with the company when she was offered a position as Director of Finance in 2016.
“I was excited to work alongside some fellow Christians and could tell it would be a supportive and fun atmosphere to join,” says Hampson. “It was close to home and provided me with autonomy, an opportunity for leadership, and the ability to build off and benefit from my own progress and development within a company, versus auditing other entities’ books, as I had been for 4+ years.”
Now the CFO for Noodlebox and Meat & Bread, Hampson says she couldn’t be happier with her role, crunching numbers in Excel and supporting the brand’s growth.
Before Boersma joined the team, he was living in Australia, where he’d been opening Freshii restaurant concepts across the country. He loved the experience, but was lured back to Canada by his friend and mentor, David Neill, a Christian businessman who’d acquired Noodlebox along with Derrick Westbrook in 2009.
“Noodlebox (and recently acquired Meat & Bread) were about to grow quickly and they were looking to expand their team,” says Boersma. “Agreeing to join the team gave me an opportunity to come back to Vancouver and work with David.”
In the beginning of 2017, Boersma joined the team as a Business Analyst, at the same time as Fantin came on as Director of People & Culture.
“I was drawn to the company and the role because it allowed me to broaden my experience from a focus on HR to operations,” says Fantin, adding that he really enjoyed the company culture and the quality of people who worked there.
These three alumni have enjoyed being a part of Noodlebox and Meat & Bread as the company has grown to count 20+ locations across Western Canada, nearly all franchised.
Advice for Alumni
When asked for career advice to give to fellow alumni, Boersma says, “Choose a boss not a job. I know it’s a cliché saying, but it’s true. Company culture is most commonly driven by the boss/bosses. Furthermore, you’ll spend more time with the people you work with than your own family, so choose wisely.”
“I whole-heartedly agree with Josh’s comment,” says Hampson. “I would also remind the community that everyone makes mistakes. I tend to go about my day thinking everyone else knows what they’re doing and that mistakes will be the end of my career. But then I find errors in bank statements or vendor invoices and remember that (a) most things can be fixed and (b) we’re all human. So move forward with confidence!”
Fantin had similar advice: “Seek out a company (or companies) that you want to work for and then reach out to them. Tell them why you want to work with them and why their best move would be to give you a chance. Then be ready to learn from the people around you.”
Hampson, Boersma, and Fantin each say with confidence that working at Noodlebook and Meat & Bread was a great decision and that they’re happy to be building up a company they care about alongside other Christians and alumni of Trinity Western. In the last few years, they’ve all grown in their professional skills and have made some incredible new friendships.
“I think my favourite part of going to work today is laughing with and being constantly entertained by my office team here,” says Hampson with a big smile.