Meet the Accelerators: LaTricia McKeIvy, Conference Coordinator
Telling stories is one of the most powerful means of connection and communication between people and ideas. Stories are a way to convey the values that unite and celebrate the differences we respect. In 2021 FLIK's Entrepreneurial Council, launched a career-focused program to invest in the growth and development of Black associates called the EC Accelerator. The EC Accelerator Program identifies Black associates with an interest in advancing to positions of leadership and supports them on their career pathway with coaching and mentorship, training and resources, an EC partner-advocate, and a community of peer support with other Accelerator participants. During annual talent review meetings, senior executives highlighted seven individuals' achievements and nominated them to participate in our inaugural Accelerator cohort. These are their stories in their own words.
I started my career with FLIK on December 1, 2016 as a Conference Center Planner and a temporary employee. Conference solutions was just added as part of the FLIK [portfolio] in Lake Forest and I was responsible for gathering and providing all of the conference and meeting space information such as capacities and room specs to be entered into the new reservation system that was Resource Scheduler. My role would be to manage the rooms, assist with meetings, and event prep by making sure they covered all of their bases and train the personnel on the new system. After about a month, we had a staff complete with an AV Manager and 3 AV Techs to provide in room support to the site; I was hired permanently by FLIK in May 2017, but the honeymoon would soon be over.
By the end of September 2017, our AV Manager had taken a new position outside of the company and our site would also be left without a Service Delivery Manager (SDM) to handle video conferencing (the portion that projects outside of the room). I became the new AV Manager for all intents and purposes and we would promote one of the techs to supervisor. Since we did not have an SDM, our team began rotating the video conferencing functions and responsibilities for the site as well. This new responsibility was a bit of a leap for me since I did not have any AV training, with the exception of what I had picked up over the time.
Over the course of the next couple of months, we learned that our team would also be responsible for the logistics at the site for any meetings or events beginning January 2018 -- that meant we would need to set and reset the rooms between meetings in addition to supporting the meetings themselves. This was previously handled by another team but that contract had subsequently ended. As if that wasn't enough of a change, in 2019 our AV Supervisor role was eliminated and I became responsible for all things AV.
My role went from managing zero employees, just rooms and reservations systems, to managing a team of AV techs, and being responsible for making sure each of the rooms were operating correctly, set up properly, communicating with the client and ensuring all of the special events went off without a hitch.
That was a quantum leap.
By this time FLIK and our client team were like family to me, so it was nothing to take on the new responsibilities and having been the one tenured employee for Conference Solutions at the site, it only made sense for me to step up.
Then the time came that FLIK would show me that they really were like my very own family.
I lost a son to cancer in January 2020 and my mom to natural causes five months later. My upper management and team really came together to show their support for me in my time of need. I was given the time and space to take care of my home responsibilities and come back to work like I'd never left.
Once the pandemic and social injustices rocked our worlds, we had to make a lot of adjustments at the site.
I have always been given the freedom and trust to manage the Lake Forest site in the way I saw would work best for the team and the client within corporate guidelines of course. They have allowed me to manage my team and continue to make FLIK proud by our achievements and Platinum Service even when up against many adversities. Although I have a lot of prior management experience, it's one thing to manage people and it's an entirely different thing to really be the face of a site. FLIK has given me the opportunity to rise up from being a faceless manager behind the phone, to being a people motivator with a team that has excelled from day one. I don't know where my career will go from here but I expect that being a part of the Entrepreneurial Council Accelerator Program will play a huge part in getting to that destination.
At FLIK Hospitality Group we believe in great food, great service, and great people. Our wellness first approach ensures our food supports healthy and delicious choices, specially curated by our team of culinary experts and registered dietitians. At FLIK, we believe in seasonality in sourcing our ingredients and providing a customized approach to the culinary and hospitality needs of each client. Our dedication to providing quality hospitality service is unparalleled in the industry.
FLIK's Entrepreneurial Council’s mission is to assist FLIK in investing in the career cycle of Black and Brown employees – from hire to retirement. By embracing racial equity as a business imperative and pillar of our culture, we close the opportunity gap by intentionally valuing, attracting, retaining and developing Black and Brown workers and leaders.
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