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Meaghan Banks — Premium Experience Manager
Pacers Sports & Entertainment
Meaghan is the front-line contact to ensure that clients and their guests, often out of town business associates who are coming to Bankers Life Fieldhouse are made to feel special and extraordinarily welcome. And that she does. Starting as an intern, she worked her way up and into a full-time pivotal position to wow visitors. You'll often find her delivering a piece of birthday cake to ticket holders who are celebrating their special day at the venue or delivering unique team amenities to fans. Recently a client reached out to Meaghan to make special arrangements for an elderly lifetime team fan. Instead of just finding a seat for this lady who would be attending her first-ever game, Meaghan went above and beyond to arrange a visit from the team mascot to deliver the tickets to the nursing home the day before. It didn't stop there. Meaghan ensured this superfan had some on-camera time during the game and had the cheerleaders visit her seats. Our 93-year-old fan was beyond excited. She was one of the first people to be seated in order to take it all in, and once the game got started, she didn't take her eyes off the court. But that's what our Meaghan does, she makes happy moments for the thousands of visitors that she interacts with annually. It's quite evident that Meaghan was bred to be in a service-oriented industry where she can continuously give. We learned that she spent her last birthday recruiting friends to celebrate with her by putting together "Blessing Bags" full of daily necessities like soap, gloves, tissues, toothbrushes, and more. She had an assembly line of friends helping her stuff 27 items into these bags and then went on to distribute them in the downtown area to women and children in need. That's how she spent her birthday. And the year before, she celebrated her birthday by gathering coats and donating them to Wheeler Mission. Meaghan is a true hospitality professional who puts the needs of any guest – as well as those needs of her teammates – ahead of her own. Meaghan has served two years as the Premium Experience Manager for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. She's also a recent graduate from the Tourism, Conventions, and Event Management program at IUPUI, where she learned all about service on a silver platter.
Glendoris Anderson — Guest Service Agent
Indianapolis Marriott East
Glendoris has been praised on Trip Advisor 647 times in two years. In other words, not a week has gone by in the past two years that she has not received 6 or more voluntary reviews from visitors. When asked who has been her inspiration, she said God first, her parents, and her two daughters who have grown up to be positive role models. Glendoris is a daily reminder to move through this world with joy, grace, and the warmest of smiles. It has been said that this she has never met a stranger, not even the couple who flew from Australia to stay at the Indianapolis Marriott East just to meet the woman who had graced the pages of Trip Advisor 647 times. Isn't that incredible? It's often said that it's the people who make Indy such a special destination – and it's true! If you have one woman who can entice a couple to travel over 9,000 miles to come to Indy to meet her, you know she's a winner. Her nominator says that New York has the Statue of Liberty welcoming visitors to America, St. Louis has the Arch welcoming travelers to the Western United States, and Indy has Glendoris Anderson welcoming guests into the #1 convention city in America. Glendoris as served as a Guest Service Agent at the Marriott East Indianapolis for two years. She delivers service on a silver platter.
Wendy Wilkerson — Senior Coordinator of School and Group Services
Wendy is celebrating 50 years at her current employer! First as a volunteer and now a full-time employee charged with welcoming and coordinating the more than 20,000 students and adults from across the state and region who arrive to the museum for scheduled tours. 50 years! As an ever-smiling guide and docent, Wendy was literally one of the first faces any visitors saw when the museum opened their doors in a new location in 1970. And if there's anyone you want serving as your first impression, it's her. More recently, you can find her on the museum's front drive armed with a warm smile and her famous green clipboard ready to enlighten the minds of our youth. Her cheerful disposition never waivers, even on days when she's greeting multiple buses from more than one school all arriving simultaneously. She goes into autopilot efficiently directing students to coatrooms, lunch storage, distributing admission wristbands, making sure everyone is divided into groups of ten, and then sending them off with eager docents who are anxious to stay on schedule – all while remaining calm, patient, smiling, and truly enjoying the experience. Her colleagues admit that they're not quite sure how she does it. For fifty years, she has made this her life's work, and we are all the richer for it. She cares about the whole and the part, the community and the individual, the art museum and the artwork. Her graceful dedication to art and our state's youth is remarkable. Not only we do have a ROSE Award winner, but we have a winner who spends her days nurturing our youth at the museum AND her free time continuing to educate our youth through her lobstering passion. You see, Wendy grew up in Maine where lobstering was in her blood. She then was excited to move to Indiana and share her lobstering skills with the Midwest, therefore she deemed herself the "Lobster Lady." She's created a crustacean curriculum that has her lugging buoys, lobster traps, and yes, a fresh, live lobster to preschools around the city. So when a kid steps off the bus at the museum and you see a look of confusion, you know the next words out of their mouth are going to be, "Oh my goodness, it's the lobster lady!" Wendy Wilkerson serves as the Senior Coordinator of School and Group Services at Newfields, and has been a part of the Newfields family for the past 50 years.
Rose Anderson — Professional Coach Operator
Rose ranks in the 90 percent club nearly every month, meaning that based on GPS information, her IndyGo routes are on-time 90 percent or more. The national "on-time" average in the United States is 72 percent. So not only does she exceed the national average but she ranks as one of the highest among Indy operators with a nearly perfect on-time record. She also serves on the Strategic Plan Steering Committee to help determine the future of transit in the city. She represents the 400-plus operators' perspective when discussing the mission, vision, and values of the company. Rose is passionate about people and loves greeting every rider with a smile and a kind, "Hello." She says that she has a front row seat to watch the world unfold! She watches the seasons change, the people change, and watches the city grow from the driver's seat. Whenever she drives a new route, she slowly watches people begin to get comfortable with her and they get to know each other as they see each other weekly, if not daily. She admits engaging with the younger generation can sometimes be difficult, but she's up for the challenge and always ready with a warm smile and hearty hello as they board the bus. On her most recent route, she already has a young woman now taking out her earbuds to return the "good morning" and a young man now walks to the front of the bus to say, "Have a good night." And at the end of the night, Rose goes through the bus to pick up any loose or lost change on the ground to give to dog rescue groups. In fact, last year she collected more than $100 in loose change for Pennies for Puppies. She has lived a life of service. She's worked as a physical therapist, athletic trainer, charter bus driver, semi-truck driver, and community service director. After developing one of the first fitness programs in the state for her former employer, Rose went back to school and fell in love with physical therapy. She never gives up on people. There are several stories of patients with brain injuries who were told they would never walk again, but with Rose's persistence, they were able to play golf and walk down the aisle at church. And now you see her putting these skills to work as she aides riders who are in wheelchairs, offering tips and tricks on how to get around and be more comfortable. Perhaps her dedication and confidence in people she interacts with stems from the person who has inspired her most in life, her lacrosse coach in high school. Prior to graduating, she was told by her school counselor that she wasn't smart enough to go to college. Her coach stepped in and told her she believed in her and the rest is history – Rose has three college degrees and many success stories in life. Rose has served as a Professional Coach Operator for IndyGo for five years and has worked in the service industry for over 40 years.
Kimberly Black — Guest Service Agent
Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Northwest
Kimberly has been with her employer for about three years and has already been promoted four times. She started with this hotel as a room attendant, quickly mastered her position, and was promoted to the F&B department where she operated first as a cook, then a server, and then a bartender. It's evident she has a gift for gab, pride in her work, enthusiasm in her step, and grace in every guest interaction because she, once again, got promoted to her current role as the Guest Service Agent. She quickly worked her way up to the frontline and oftentimes is the first impression of the hotel. There was one specific story on Kimberly's nomination form that really showcased the type of person she is. Last winter, she checked in to the hotel a very outgoing and cheerful male guest. Later that evening she noticed the bar was getting busy so she took it upon herself to assist the bartenders. That same gentleman was having dinner at the bar and illuminated when she approached him. Several moments later he abruptly left his seat to take a phone call. After returning to his seat, his demeanor had drastically shifted. She pulled him aside to see if he was alright. He had just received word that his son had committed suicide but was not able to make a flight home until the morning. She embraced the man and shared her condolences. She spent the last few hours of her shift with this guest as he reminisced and reflected on times with his son. In fact, even post shift, she remained on property, in the lobby with this man through the wee hours of the morning so that he would not be alone through such a troubling time. After his departure, her kindness continued as she organized signatures from the staff, and sent a gift to show their compassion for the guest and let him know he was not alone. That's a story that defines Hoosier Hospitality. You can tell that Kimberly is a go-getter. She's a proud mom to a one-year-old baby boy, just started school full-time studying business administration, and worked two jobs during her entire pregnancy. Kimberly works at the Hilton Garden Inn Northwest as their Guest Service Agent. She's been on the team for three years.
Chris Weber — Event Management
Chris is hard working, genuine and a great representative of Indianapolis. Whether he is working as a ball shagger on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium during a punt, pass, and kick event or on the curb dispatching motorcoaches, he consistently brings positive energy and a hospitable attitude to his shifts. Not only does he work with one of Indy's event management companies, but he's also a veteran server and bartender in Indianapolis. Every ounce of his day is service. His employer knew he was a winner when his very first shift included working an event at the Indianapolis Zoo. The client wanted costumed animal mascots roaming the grounds throughout the function, and Chris drew the short straw with the heaviest and most uncomfortable mascot costume of them all – the elephant. Never mind that it was one of the hottest July days of the year, Chris delivered an outstanding experience to countless guests, posing for photos, interacting with children, and enhancing the event with his personality. Not once did he complain. Another case where Chris left a lasting impression on visitors to our city occurred when he took an early airport shift after already working a long weekend of Indy 500 programs. On little sleep, he arrived to the airport at 3 am in order to personally greet each departing guest and assist with their luggage. He followed a manifest of 120 visitors and shuffled between airline drop off points to ensure guests had the most seamless departure experience possible. His final touches were some of the most meaningful to the group of tired race fans that weekend. Chris is consistently turning visitors in our city into Indy loyalists, one event at a time. Chris has worked with Accent Indy, a DMC Network Company, for the past five years and has been in the hospitality industry for a decade.
Emiliano Ruiz Esparza — Banquet Culinary Supervisor
JW Marriott Indianapolis
Emiliano is a cook and lead supervisor for banquets in one of our largest downtown hotels, the JW Marriott Indianapoils. After hearing his story, you'll take greater appreciation in the time, attention, and utmost level of service that goes into preparing a banquet meal. His nominator paints the delicious picture of Emiliano preparing 1,500 empanadas for one particular event. The nominator goes into detail about how he treats each product with care, even affection, and makes sure that each empanada looks the same. If you were to see the 1,500th empanada, it wouldn't look any different than the first. He executes on a high level and provides exceptional service not because his boss told him to do so, but because it's simply in his nature. His employer is so thankful that he is on the clock when a client at the last minute switches from pancakes to French toast. Or perhaps the story about a meeting planner forgetting to order breakfast for the 30 meeting attendees showing up in thirty minutes. The kitchen panicked after they were told, but not Emiliano. He diffused the situation with patience, wisdom, and professionalism. He delegated tasks to his cooks, remained calm so that others could take his lead, and successfully delivered a beautiful breakfast in less than 30 minutes. None of the attendees ever knew it was an issue. His service extends beyond the kitchen. Most recently, he was on his way home from work and noticed that a guest had a flat tire in the hotel parking garage. He pulled an air compressor from his car, fixed her tire, and allowed her to seamlessly continue on her journey. When it comes to service, "No" is a word that Emiliano is not familiar with, rather "Yes" seems to be a part of his mantra. Emiliano has served as a Banquet Culinary Supervisor at the JW Marriott for seven years and has spent 15 years working in tourism.
Elyse Murrell — Banquet Server
Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
Elyse stumbled into hospitality over 20 years ago. And, boy are we glad she did. At the time she was one year away from graduating college when she got sick with asthma. She was a single mom of three kids and knew she needed to get a job. She reluctantly accepted the role of bartender at an Indianapolis hotel. She nailed it. Her first time behind the bar, she had a bit of nerves, but by the end of the shift she looked around and noticed that everyone was happy. And she was happy. Her positive attitude and go-getter spirit spread like wildfire throughout the hotel. So much so that she kept being asked to take on other tasks. She's worked in both of the hotel's restaurants, served as a buffet attendant, busser, but also in engineering and housekeeping. Today, she mainly works as a banquet server or banquet bartender. Elyse's employer wrote that she is one of their most dedicated employees. There are many days when she is the first server there and the last server to leave. When her event is complete, you'll find her jumping in to assist another team member. She takes pride in her assigned event for the day, making sure everything is perfect for the guest. She has her repeat groups that are practically family for her now. Her employer knows that when those groups are in the city, not only does she want to be assigned to their event, but they're already asking for her by name. Upon the group's arrival, there's always a series of hugs. She takes pride in taking care of guests needs both big and small and sometimes heroic. Elyse was interacting with the guests at one of her tables when she noticed that one of them started expressing that they were choking. She immediately ran to them, performed the Heimlich, dislodged the piece of food, and went on with serving her next table. To Eluse, this was such a non-event that her supervisor didn't even learn about the incident until days later when the woman called the hotel directly to fill them in on their prize employee. That makes her not only a hero, but a humble one. Elyse serves as a Banquet Server at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis hotel downtown. While this career path found her 22 years ago, she is a natural at delivering service.
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