Cape Coral resident Nea Defina just got two great pieces of career news. The Santa Barbara McDonald's employee was recently voted "Crew Person of the Year" by McDonald's owner-operators throughout Southwest Florida.
And following that she has just found out she has been promoted to manager-in-training.
Each year, six top McDonald employees are chosen from the approximately 2,500 staff members to be named Crew Person of the Year and Shift Manager of the Year - three each.
Nea Defina, a crew trainer at the McDonalds at 8 N.E. Pine Island Road, was named Crew Person of the Year by local McDonald’s owner-operators.
A fellow former employee at the same store, Daundra Martin, who has since moved to the College Parkway McDonald's, won one of the coveted "Shift Manager of the Year" awards.
Honorees were chosen from 53 McDonald's stores throughout Lee, Charlotte, Collier and Hendry counties, as well as part of Sarasota county.
"My organization is thrilled to recognize Nea as Crew Person of the Year," said Tim Frederic, owner-operator of five McDonald's restaurants in Cape Coral in a prepared statement. "Nea's drive, energy and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated by her managers, coworkers and customers. We are fortunate to have her as part of the McDonald's family."
He has just recently announced her promotion.
"I really wanted this, it's a career to me. I enjoy my time here very much," said Defina.
She said her store managers, including Manager Alissa Grabarczyk, have been extremely supportive. "My store manager, Alissa Grabarczyk, was very encouraging. She said she sees a lot of potential in me, and she gave me a chance."
Defina said she has been working toward the promotion for about two years. She went from crew person to crew trainer then now into her management training.
"I hope to become as good a manager as my store manager and assistant manager, and want to go all the way up because it is a very good learning environment," she said.
And, she said, she really does love her job. She likes the employees as well as the management.
"I love the customers the most," she said of the Santa Barbara location.
Originally from North Jersey, Defina said she also really enjoys living in Cape Coral. On her time off, she is a doll collector, and likes to shop.
"I also enjoy antiquing, looking for treasure," she said.
She congratulated former fellow employee Martin on his award.
"I did just get a chance work with him when he started here and he was really great, Defina said.
According to corporate statistics, many hourly employees and shift managers at McDonald's advance to become restaurant managers, owner/operators, regional or division staff members and corporate employees.
In fact, more than 75 percent of McDonald's restaurant managers started as crew, and more than half of McDonald's owner-operators started behind the counter.