Ronnie Reeves first joined Portillo’s in 2018. She’s quickly worked her way up from Crew Chief in Training to the General Manager of the newest Portillo’s restaurant, located in Springfield, IL. Ronnie’s story is one of learning and dedication to Portillo’s values of Family, Greatness, Energy and Fun.
How long have you been with Portillo’s, and what made you come work for us?
I became part of the Portillo’s Family in May of 2018. After ponding over my future for two weeks, I needed to realign some things ... to really see what I really wanted out of life, part of which was building a career, not just a job. One day, I was on Indeed and saw an opening for Management with Portillo’s. I remembered eating at Portillo’s as a teenager and how I loved the tamales and fries, so I took a risk and applied.
What brought you from application to employment?
Since there were no Management openings at the time, David Pesenko (General Manager of our Fishers, IN, location) and I talked for about 45 mins. The passion he had for Portillo’s – the love, family, and energy – made me want to be a part of that daily. He offered me a CCIT (Crew Chief in Training) position, and I took it. Best decision of my life. More importantly, my career.
What do you love about Portillo’s?
What don’t I love about Portillo’s? I love the values of Family, Greatness, Energy and Fun that we display as an organization daily. Every day, I get up motivated to see what new adventures we will have to continue to drive results. I have mentors in this organization that I can turn to at any waking moment: Mike Roman, Marc Miller, Marc Mathias, Rhiana Zebel, Patti Alumbaugh, Liz Alford, the entire NRO team, the list goes on and on. Truly, Portillo’s continues to amaze me with our talent and growth.
What was your first position here, and what position did you get promoted to?
I really have enjoyed every position that I have had along the way. CCIT provided me with the knowledge of product quality and an understanding of the importance of zoning, while really helping and supporting our managers. Being a CCIT provided me with a drive and vision to want to achieve more. When I trained at Chicago – Clark & Ontario as a CCIT, I knew I wanted to become a GM. I set a goal for myself: Every time I got promoted, I needed to understand every element of my position, ask questions, get to know my team members, be present when I arrive to work, and most importantly work to be better than I was the day before.
What do you love about your position?
First, I am honored that I was selected to be the General Manager of Springfield. This is my fourth new restaurant, and each day I not only get to hire new team members, but I must build a new Management team as well. Training and developing is what I love the most about my position. The foundation that I was given from my mentors has driven me to want to do the same for our team. This is my family, and as a mother, I want to protect my little cubs! I want them to be the best of the best.
We all have greatness in us, and as a leader it is my job to help and support them in any way that I possibly can.
What advice would you give to someone at Portillo’s looking to move up?
Own your strengths but work on your opportunities. I have a vision of what I want to achieve out of my career, and I ask questions often to help me to stay focused. I often read quotes that not only help me when I need comfort, but some that help me want to be a better leader. I often go home and reflect on the day's events. I ponder on how I can make things better for my next shift and reflect on what a great day we achieved as a team!
Where do see yourself growing in this company?
My goal is to become a Market Manager, but I also love working with the NRO Team. The sky’s the limit; I want to fly like an eagle but lead like a goose. Portillo’s have given me so many options to look at and achieve. Thank you to my Portillo’s family for all the love and support you have given me. Our organization is truly built on Family, Greatness, Energy and Fun. I am proud to be a leader with amazing mentors.