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Cheers for My Daughter. Manager of the Year, Nashville – Large Hotels

Nomination letter from her boss: Matthew Lahiff

I would like to take this time to nominate Suzanne Smith, Human Resources Director of the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, for manager of the year for a large hotel.

Although it is difficult to single out one individual over the course of the last unprecedented year, I would like to personally recognize Suzanne for her outstanding efforts.

Over the last year like so many others, we went down to a bare minimum staffing just to keep the doors open for our guests. What was asked of her and how she responded was gracious and positive to say the least.

Suzanne had the heartbreaking duty of explaining to 110 employees the process of being laid off. She spent time with anyone that needed help or guidance traversing the unemployment system to make sure they were able to collect these crucial benefits. More importantly she was also a shoulder to lean on and a sounding board to hear our employees worries throughout this pandemic.

It certainly did not end there. For the first several months Suzanne was side by side with other managers cleaning public spaces, making beds, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry or whatever else needed to be done to get through the day operationally.

Suzanne also had to learn our property management systems on the fly. She became the pseudo front office manager making sure we had coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She was not above working any shift to help get us through.

The team work and selfless dedication displayed by Suzanne was exceptional!

Now that we have started to make it through the tough times. The work doesn’t end there. Now Suzanne has to change her cape and figure out a way to bring employees back. As everyone knows, this is easier said than done. Once we bring them back, there is all of the “new” training that needs to be administered. The new on boarding and acculturation that needs to take place. The job fairs that needed to be attended to. The explanation of benefits and so on and so on.  Suzanne has done a 180 degree turn to make sure we do not skip a beat getting back to some normalcy.

Lastly, Suzanne’s teamwork and generosity does not stop at the hotel doors. She has been an integral part of helping out charities over the years. Whether it is Give kids the World or supporting local food banks and shelters, she is always ready to give a helping hand. Most notably is her work with Hope Lodge where she has donated countless hours and goods to support this wonderful effort.

We all know that our world has a new normal and I look forward to exploring it with Suzanne. We are fortunate to have her on our team and her loyalty means everything.

 

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365 Days of Grief and Love by Vickie Guerry

Tom Guerry and Mitch Carnell at French Huguenot ChurchTom Guerry was a close friend. He was one of the three ministers who took part in marrying Carol and me. He was a vital part of the Monday Lunch Bunch until he could not be. Vickie, Tom’s wife, is a very good friend. We worked together for more than 20 years. I have known, Ben, their son since before he was born.

All this to tell you that I am not impartial. These are my friends, but that did not keep me from telling everyone that Vickie has written an honest, helpful book. This is my review on www.amazon.com. The picture is of Tom and me at the French Huguenot Church.

A Friend for the Journey

My wonderful wife has been gone almost three years now and yet I find Vickie Guerry’s book to be honest, painful and helpful. So many writers are timid about laying out the truth of a senseless journey that no one should have to travel. Guerry chronicles each of the first 365 days of the grief she experienced at losing her husband. You can feel her anguish rise from the pages, but you also feel the deep love that these two shared.  Although writing the book is her way of coping with her loss, she does it in such a way that is helpful. There are no solutions here, but with this book you have a friend who walks the journey with you.

 

A Kind Word

Back in 2006 when Mayor Keith Summey signed the first proclamation for Say Something Nice Day in North Charleston, I had no inkling that this simple idea would one day circle the globe. We were not the first to proclaim the virtues and benefits of just saying a kind word. The Hebrew prophet prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” Centuries later the Apostle Paul said, “Be ye kind one to another.”

As rage is on the uptick in our society, it would be good to remind ourselves to just be kind. Say a kind word to the next person you meet and the next and the next.

It is a simple idea. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult. The easiest and most appreciated words are “Please“” and “Thank you.”

As I was walking to Baggage Claim in the Charleston Airport after a flight from Nashville, a stranger only a few years younger than I took notice of my resting for a moment and offered assistance. A man and his wife from Ridgeville rescued my bag from the carousel. When I thanked them, the man said, “This is Charleston.” What a wonderful reputation for a city to have. Simple acts of kindness leave a lasting impression.

My son and daughter-in-law met me and we drove to Chick-fil-a to pick up a sandwich on the way home. Although it was late, we were met by a cheerful, smiling server.

To my surprise and joy, I have read web post from around the world about Say Something Nice Day These make me hopeful. A recent Gallop Poll found that 47% of Americans believe that our morals are in decline.

I think we can change that for the better. When you are wondering how to respond in a particular situation, just say something nice, encouraging, uplifting, and helpful. You may not see the results, but your kindness will be remembered.

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Simple Rules for Better Communication – www.day1.org

 Tuesday June 01, 2021

As we begin to gather again and assemble in larger groups, “Say Something Nice Sunday” comes in time to remind us of some simple rules of engagement. We will be so happy to see each other again. The fifth-tenth annual event takes place on June 6th.

Stop talking. Give others a chance. This is difficult because there is so much we want to share. We have been separated for so long. Smile thus breaking the ice. Smiling is a universal language. Speak to people. You may need to introduce yourself. In many cases we will still be wearing our masks. Don’t assume the other person knows who you are. I learned this valuable lesson from the president of the board of the agency I headed. He always introduced himself. He did not assume that others would recognize him or remember his name.

Listen attentively. Because we are not talking does not mean that we are listening. Active listening demands personal discipline. Don’t spend your time thinking about what you will say next. Larry King, the television personality, was such a good interviewer because he listened to what his guest said and then responded to what had been said. Jesus said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 11:15 (NIV)

Don’t interrupt. Interrupting is an act of aggression. It says that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say.

Delay judgment. Jumping to conclusions always poses the danger of arriving at the wrong conclusion. Crow never taste good.

Sincerely compliment others. Find something nice to say. Stay away from talking about physical attributes.

Consider the opinions of others. They might have something new or unique to contribute.

Be sensitive to the feelings of others. They may not take what you say the way that you intended. Remember Murphy’s Law. If it is possible for someone to misunderstand, she or he will.

Be approachable. Be aware of your body language. Uncross everything. Face the other person. Maintain eye contact.

Speak the truth, but speak the truth with love. It is not necessary to share everything you know. Don’t gossip. Dr. Arthur Caliandro, the late pastor of Marble Collegiate Church, said, “Be kinder than you think it necessary to be. The other person needs it more than you know.”

Stop talking. We return to the first key because it is so important. I learned a new acronym that applies to this key point from Rev. Susan Sparks – WAIT. Why am I talking? We never learn anything while we are talking.

There is so much in Scripture that helps us in our communication with others. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” St. Paul added, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 (NIV) In other words don’t stir up controversy.

We as Christians have a great message to share. Effective communication depends on our attitude toward others. If we show respect for others even though we may have great differences our efforts will most often be rewarded with good results. We want others to be happy to see us and not to moan when they see us coming. Our reputation so often precedes us. We want that reputation to be one that generates positive expectations.

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Mitch Carnell is a member of First Baptist Church of Charleston, SC. He is the author of, Our Father: Discovering Family. He blogs at www.mitchcarnell.com.

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