GREENFIELD — For Kellie Crenshaw-Sawyer, going to work is like going to her second home.
Crenshaw-Sawyer’s journey started back in 1989 when she was just 25 years old. She was working downtown but was tired of the commute and wanted to be back in her own community. That’s when her mother told her that a new Super 8 hotel in town was being built.
When she first started, she was a night auditor for two nights out of the week, but after working there for two years she was promoted to manager and has been in that role ever since.
When Crenshaw-Sawyer was asked what duties and responsibilities she has, she laughed and said “everything.” Crenshaw-Sawyer is in charge of hiring and orientations, orders, maintenance and much more. However, she made sure to mention she doesn’t do all this alone.
“I think a lot of what got me to GM of the year is not just what I do, it’s because of the staff I have had for many, many years,” Crenshaw-Sawyer said.
Because of her hard work, effort and commitment to her staff and the hotel, Crenshaw-Sawyer won General Manager of the Year for all the Super 8 hotels across the country.
Crenshaw-Sawyer said that the hotel placed third out of 1,546 in the country and their cleanliness score was a 9.4 out of 10 while overall satisfaction score was 9.24 out of 10.
Without her knowing, Crenshaw-Sawyer was nominated for the award by the Mike Mueller, president of the Super 8 hotels, where she had met him five years ago when he stayed overnight in Greenfield.
Crenshaw-Sawyer said she received the honor Sept. 14 at the Wyndham Global Conference in Anaheim, California. Despite her nerves of flying, her initial reaction was total shock when they announced her name.
“I just felt like all these years of hard work really paid off,” Crenshaw-Sawyer said.
On her flight home from the conference, Crenshaw-Sawyer said she talked to a man in his mid-20s from Colorado, and at one point he said “I had forgotten how Hoosier hospitality is.”
Working for as long as she has at the hotel, Crenshaw-Sawyer said she feels like it’s working in a large 80-roomed home, and that’s how she runs it.
You can’t just look at it as revenue. You have to look at it as if each person means something to us because that could be repeat business. And if you treat them good, they’re coming back,” Crenshaw-Sawyer said.
Crenshaw-Sawyer said that one thing she looks forward to is seeing the guests in the morning and hearing about their stay, very rarely ever getting a complaint.
Crenshaw-Sawyer said it shows how hard the staff works every day and finds it very rewarding to be there every day.
Since her start, Crenshaw-Sawyer said one of the major changes she has noticed is the motivation and work ethic throughout generations. Crenshaw-Sawyer said she doesn’t like a “revolving door” of workers because training costs money and she is more willing to put time and effort into someone and help them in any area they are struggling.
Because of this, Crenshaw-Sawyer has had many employees work at the hotel long-term, such as the head housekeeper, who is 88 years-old and has been working for 31 years, and desk clerks who have served more than 10 years.
Crenshaw-Sawyer also sees this as an opportunity with the younger staff to help mentor and educate on not only what it means to have a good work ethic, but also life advice such as being financially responsible.
In February, Crenshaw-Sawyer will celebrate her 35th anniversary as manager at the Super 8 Hotel. With tears forming in her eyes, Crenshaw-Sawyer said that being on call 24/7 can be hard sometimes, but also being able to go into work everyday and see her staff gives her motivation.
“We have a great relationship with each other and that means a lot,” Crenshaw-Sawyer said.