May 8, 2017 People Business

Taco Bell’s 30 Under 30

Meet 30 of the most exceptional Taco Bell team members who are passionate about their growth, leadership and inspiring their team members to provide the best experience for our customers.

1. Akeyliah Mahmoud - Norman, OK (O&M Restaurant Group)
Akeyliah was a 2016 Live Mas Scholarship winner, looking to pursue a spot in the pediatrics program at the University of Oklahoma. In her free time, she volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club and her church weekly and works 40 hours a week at Taco Bell. She always comes in with a good attitude and the ability to turn everyone's day around.

2. Brooke Powell - Chelsea, AL (Tacala)
Brooke recently took over a restaurant in Chelsea, AL. She immediately infused energy and life into this location with operational speed in the drive thru drastically improving in about two weeks. She has an amazing attitude, engages her team and is very organized. Her franchise team knows she is going to be very successful in all she does, and everyone is looking forward to watching her soar.

3. Carla Gonzalez - Bakersfield, CA
Carla is a General Manager, and all of her shift managers regard her as fun and loving and appreciate how much she has made a difference since she started at that restaurant. Her team members agree she is more than just their supervisor, she’s their friend. She has made a profound difference in all of their lives personally and professionally in just the year she has been with Taco Bell.

4. Charlie Husk - Canton, OH
Charlie is a true leader at Taco Bell. She has participated in two separate leadership development courses, securing her spot as a household name at Taco Bell headquarters. She has an infectious optimism and is an inspiration to anyone that has the privilege of meeting her. Charlie is currently working towards becoming an Area Coach in Ohio, and she hopes to acquire her degree and pursue a career in Human Resources.

5. Christopher Harrison - El Paso, TX
Christopher is always in a positive, upbeat mood and takes exceptional care of his team. He recognizes team members whenever he can, making him an amazing manager. He also helps out with personal needs for his team, because he believes his team is a family, not just coworkers.

6. Daisy Granados - Haltom City, TX
Daisy has grown up with Taco Bell. She started with a franchise at 16 years old, and was recruited to join her current location. She has worked her way up to Shift Lead, Assistant General Manager, and has now been promoted to General Manager, but isn’t stopping there. After attending theMark, a leadership development course at Taco Bell headquarters, Daisy is inspired to volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club in her community. Her restaurant was just honored as the cleanest restaurant in Haltom City.

7. Dalton Clark - Livingston, TN (Bee Mac Corporation)
Dalton started out as a team member and advanced through to Shift Lead. He is spectacular at every aspect of the store, which is why all new hires are required to spend time with him in their first week of training. Dalton was a recipient of a Live Mas Scholarship last year, and he sets the mark high to get all of his team members involved in fundraisers to continue to raise money for the Taco Bell Foundation so other youth can have the same opportunity he had.

8. Devin Cokley - Whiteville, NC (Bell Carolina LLC)
Taco Bell was Devin’s first job, and he has been with the brand for six years - his time at the restaurant has helped mold and shape him into who he is today. He was recently a recipient of the Live Mas Scholarship, and is majoring in biology, hoping to get into biology education at the high school level. In his free time, he coaches youth tennis in this community.

9. Eric Rodriguez - Winters, CA (Quikserve II Concepts, Inc.)
Eric was a recipient of the Live Mas Scholarship, and used those funds to become certified as an EMT. Eric is always motivating people. When he’s not motivating his team members at the restaurant, he also works part time as a personal trainer.

10. Ibrahim Chalhoub - Royal Palm Beach, FL (Luihn Food)
Ibrahim believes he is the American Dream. He came to America in 2011 from Lebanon and has a great, positive attitude. He is a true team player and even helps his Area Coach and other General Managers in the area - they call him the “Captain of the Area.” He works hard to build great culture in the restaurant. And when he's not working, he's racing cars at the racetrack.

11. Imelda Andres - La Mirada, CA
Imelda loves working on personal development and helping her employees learn and grow. Everyone agrees once you walk in her restaurant, you can feel the culture she has created - she is an inspiration. Imelda started as a team member and has been with the brand for more than 10 years. She started her career in nursing but found a passion in restaurant management.

12. James Williams - Middletown, KY (Bells and Birds, Inc.)
James is highly respected at his restaurant because he empowers others. He is working to become an Area Coach, and makes it a top priority to motivate other employees and do it authentically. He started as a team member two years ago and quickly moved his way up to General Manager. Outside of work, James teaches dance to a team of youth under 10 years old.

13. Jenny Le - Buffalo, MN (Border Foods, Inc.)
Jenny loves to help people personally, mentally and emotionally. She was a recipient of the 2016 Live Mas Scholarship and wants to be an orthopedic surgeon someday. She is a great leader and has excellent customer service skills, taking time to make each customer’s experience at the restaurant a great one.

14. Joey Piotrowski - Sacramento, CA (Silver Oak Management Corp.)
Last year, Joey was balancing college full time while he graduated, being a General Manager and participating in the Army Reserves, where he was recently promoted to Sergeant. He is extremely passionate about people, continually challenges himself and his team to improve, and has a big heart.

15. Joey Smith - Clanton, AL (Tacala)
Joey Smith is the youngest General Manager at Tacala, which is one of the largest Taco Bell franchisees. He is an inspiration to work with and for, and has worked very hard to get to his level. In his free time, he is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree as well.

16. Julia Jackson - Elk Grove, CA (Engen Ventures, Inc.)
Julia has been with Taco Bell for seven years. She is passionate about the company and has attended theMARK, and leadership development course at Taco Bell headquarters. One of her passions is helping people, so Julia also runs an organization which donates to kids in Buyamba.

17. Kayla Dishuk - Farmingville, NY
Kayla is a great leader with a big heart. Her team members say she is very passionate and has a lot of pride in her work. She hopes to continue to move up in the company, and her leadership team is excited to watch her succeed.

18. Laura Bailey - Orlando, FL
Laura has been with Taco Bell since she was 16 when she started as team member. A single mom, she is a very hard worker and an inspiration to her restaurant. She’s an extremely compassionate person, and her team loves working with her.

19. Lavone Pulliam - Erie, PA (Charter Foods North, LLC)
Lavone started as a team member and worked his way up to General Manager. He has great support at home and a fifth child on the way. He embraced all of the leadership training he has received and manages the business as if it were his own. He works hard to be a great role model for his family, team members, and the community, recruiting local youth to work at his store.

20. Megan Clevenger - Granite City, IL (Bell Missouri LLC)
Megan has been with Taco Bell for seven years. She is the first in her family to go to college and has a very strong work ethic. She provides great customer service, and has been recognized as a top performer in her organization.

21. Morris Morgan - Cedar Park, TX (Tacala)
Morris is the backbone of the Austin markets. He runs a training store in northwest Austin, and has won a prestigious award in his organization for two years in a row. He is so highly regarded, he personally trains almost all of the Tacala managers in Austin. When he’s not at Taco Bell he is also a great dad to his little ones at home.

22. Neko Katsumoto - Burleson, TX
Neko was recently promoted to General Manager at his restaurant in Burleson, TX. His leadership team has been working with him since last year to rebuild his location, and he's already competing with tenured managers - his restaurant is second place out of seven on operational speed.

23. Ricarda Urso - Norman, OK (O&M Restaurant Group)
Ricarda is a true inspiration, and was even invited to speak at the Taco Bell Franchise Marketing Committee Convention in 2016. Having been born with cerebral palsy, Ricarda has overcome a lot and is working toward becoming a doctor after graduating from University of Oklahoma. She was a recipient of the Live Mas Scholarship to help fulfill her dream of helping someone when they need it most.

24. Robyn Stephan - Winters, CA (Quikserve II Concepts, Inc.)
Robyn came in from day one ready to make a huge change in her life and work hard to make the restaurant a success, so the hiring manager offered her a job on the spot. She started as a Shift Lead and is working her way up to Assistant General Manager. She is very caring and makes everyone feel like they're part of the family, which reflects directly onto the customers. Being in a small town, she greets everyone by name that walks through the door.

25. Sandra Zimmerman - Bristol, TN (Tacala)
Sandra has improved several stores and most recently displayed the Tacala “Here to Serve” culture by assisting two days per week with a new General Manager in her market. She was recently promoted to Area Coach and will soon be in charge of six stores in northeast Tennessee. She has be a recipient of the “Northstar Award,” which is given out to the top 10 percent of Tacala General Managers each year. She is driven, intelligent and a champion for her people.

26. Sheryl Hawkins - Salisbury, NC
Sheryl is a people person and has the ability of getting along with everyone. She would do anything for anyone and her team members agree she has a heart of gold. Sheryl is selfless, and when she’s not at work, she’s at home with her child.

27. Tedvodrick Muse - Dallas, TX
Tedvodrick is an amazing leader to his team. He emotionally connects with every team member, and that is what drives his store to continue succeeding. If he’s not winning, he’s competiting beat the results. He has a way of impacting his entire area, not just his restaurant, and was recently recognized with his Area Coaches personal award.

28. Tia Travis - Covington, LA (Southeast Restaurant Group)
Tia embodies Taco Bell’s “Start with us, Stay with us” principles. She was recently recruited from the company, but is still thought of as an exceptional person who loves people and watching her team grow. She worked with employees that weren’t sure if they wanted to stay with the company and made them excited to work at Taco Bell.

29. Travis Brown - Austin, TX (Tacala)
Travis just won General Manager of the year at Tacala in the Texas Markets for 2016. He was subsequently promoted to Area Coach and recently won a Northstar Award in 2016. Travis is a top performer, having run a $2 million store in Killeen, TX before he was promoted. He has been consistently developing talent and supplying other stores with top notch managers.

30. Zac Weldon - Helena, AL (Tacala)
Zac is the go-to guy for training in Birmingham. He runs a great store, which is the restaurant leadership takes all the big-wigs because they know he is going to be on point. He’s professional and has been a huge part of the success of the market in Birmingham. He continuously wins a Northstar Award every year at Tacala and has been to Golden Bell for Taco Bell.

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About taco bell® corporation

Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant (QSR) brand. From breakfast to late night, Taco Bell serves made-to-order and customizable tacos and burritos, among other craveable choices, and is the first QSR restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA)-certified menu items. Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations proudly serve over 42 million customers each week through 7,000 restaurants across the nation, as well as through its mobile, desktop and delivery ordering services. Overseas, Taco Bell has over 250 restaurants, with plans to add 2,000 more restaurants internationally within the next decade. The brand encourages its fans to “Live Mas” and connects with them through sports, gaming and new music via its Feed The Beat® music program. Taco Bell also provides education opportunities and serves the community through its nonprofit organization, the Taco Bell® Foundation™, and connects fans with their passions through programs such as the Live Mas Scholarship program. In 2016, Taco Bell was named as one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in the World.

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