Posted 3 months ago
When Marion Batey heard she had been named the Loop Employee of the Month for March, her first thought was not how the recognition might serve her, but how she could use that recognition to draw attention to her team and their work.
Batey has been the Business Relations Specialist for the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership for the past seven years. The Partnership provides workforce development services for both employers and job seekers through a variety of channels, including a hiring event called Hospitality Hires Chicago (HHC).
The fourth HHC event takes place on March 19 at the Palmer House and will match approximately 50 employers in the hospitality and retail industries with hundreds of pre-screened candidates. These employers are able to make conditional job offers on the spot or arrange for second interviews. Even those job-seekers who do not receive an offer will leave the event with resources from the Partnership to continue working toward employment.
For Batey, this work is her passion.
“When I am on the street, and a person comes up to me and tells me they got employed, that is my favorite part about this work,” Batey said. “Not only does it change their life, but it changes the trajectory of their household. That’s what we’re all committed to, is that snowball effect.”
Batey has seen first-hand what a difference employment can make in someone’s life. It’s this human connection that keeps her going—answering hundreds of emails a day and coordinating with a team of 25 to make sure HHC runs smoothly.
“Our team is a democracy, and I am tasked simply with putting the puzzle pieces together,” Batey said. “I would say my favorite part of the HHC event is getting it together. The event only lasts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it’s good to see the product, but my favorite part is the planning because it really enforces that this team is not to be taken for granted. The team is what makes it awesome.”
Batey works in the Cook County building at 69 W. Washington St., and she said her favorite part about working in the Loop is the diversity of the population and the connections that can be made simply by walking outside her building’s front door.
“The best marketing I’ve ever seen is, I tell two people, then they tell two people, then they tell two people,” she said. “So the density of the population in the Loop gives us that marketing power. When I go to lunch, when I go to pay a bill, I can always talk about Hospitality Hires. If we want to do some business engagement, all we have to do is go downstairs and look around.”
Batey’s colleague at the Partnership Dunni Cosey-Gay, Director of Communications, said Batey’s presence is so impactful that without her, the day-to-day experience of working for the Partnership would be completely different.
“Marion is just a natural humanitarian,” Cosey-Gay said. “She’s honest, she’s caring, she’s concerned, and I’ve never seen her function from a place of narcissism. She is always giving, and it is the most beautiful thing. I don’t think we could have this experience that we have now with any other person. I don’t think she’ll ever acknowledge that because she’s so humble, but the way she leads, there’s something to it. She makes you feel like you’re a part of something much bigger than you.”
Hospitality Hires Chicago is an initiative by the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership in collaboration with Chicago Loop Alliance, Choose Chicago, the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, the Illinois Restaurant Association, The Magnificent Mile Association, and the Near South Planning Board.
We are the city that works. And the Loop is at the center of Chicago’s powerful workforce. Chicago Loop Alliance would like to recognize the over 300,000 Loop workers contributing their heart, talent, and tenacity to their job each day. Each month from March 2019 to February 2020, a Loop Employee of the Month will be recognized for being great at what they do, contributing to their community, and inspiring those around them. For more information on award selection, rules and conditions, and a full list of prizes, please visit loopchicago.com/nominate.
Photos by Hummingbird Studios
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