Kevin Ealy
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Kevin Ealy

Student Programs Coordinator
University of Illinois Housing Dining Services
Champaign, Ill.
Age 33

Top accomplishment this year:
Being nominated by student employees to receive the department’s Wu Mentor Award for excellence in mentorship.

What’s the best career advice you’ve been given?
A piece of advice from my father: “Know that you may not always be the smartest person in the room, and that you definitely won’t always have the right answer.” Listening to peers and co-workers regarding their ideas and opinions is a critical element for success in any venture.

What would you like to accomplish in your career in the short term?
I am hoping to establish the University of Illinois Dining Services Student Programs Office as an example for colleges across the country. I am working to develop training and retention programs that will significantly reduce our student turnover rate and make Dining Services jobs some of the most desirable jobs on campus.

What keeps you up at night?
One or more of our units being understaffed. I can remember what it was like to work in one of our dining facilities with minimal staffing. I want to be sure everyone has all the help they need, and that their help has been properly prepared to handle their job. It is hard to sleep when I know we may have staff and managers that have to struggle to maintain our level of excellent customer service. That, and when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

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