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Employee Spotlight: Elijah Wallace

Many around the Club will recognize Elijah Wallace and his positive energy and efforts, which members often note reach far above and beyond their expectations. As a dining room server, bartender and beverage driver for the ladies’ league and other events, Elijah enjoys being able to build relationships with members at the Club. Keep reading to get to know Elijah better!

Please share a bit about yourself!
I was adopted from Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2003 at one-and-a-half-years-old and grew up in a small farm town in Central Indiana. I am the second oldest of my family and have three other brothers—all four of us being adopted. My brother Noah (25) and I are both Haitian, however we are not biologically related. Gabe (20) and Josiah (14) are my two younger brothers. Growing up, I played multiple sports, including basketball, track and cross country. I moved to Michigan in 2017, halfway through my freshman year and went to Northpointe Christian High School. In 2019, I transferred to my third high school, The Potter's House High school, which is where I ended up graduating from.

I have worked in the restaurant/service industry for six years. My first restaurant job was as a cook and server at Gus’s Original Pizza, where I worked until the restaurant shut their doors in 2019. After Gus’s, I worked as a server at Chick-fil-A. Towards the end of 2019, I transitioned to Kitchen 67 where I was a server, chef and bartender for about a year and a half. In June 2021, I took the remainder of the summer off from work and started working at Egypt Valley in April 2022.

As I mentioned before, I attended three different high schools and am now a full-time student-athlete at Cornerstone University. I am a double major in Marketing and Strategic Communication, with a plan to further my education by getting my MBA in Marketing Management. I am the president of our Student Athlete Leadership Team at Cornerstone.

Please share a bit about your Egypt Valley journey and how you ended up as an employee at the Club!
Since I had previous experience as a server, I knew that I wanted to be a server in a restaurant. The idea of working at a private country club intrigued me because it would allow me to grow a relationship with customers in a way that I can't in a public restaurant environment. Knowing that I would have the same few hundred customers rather than going to work each day and, in a way, starting over and meeting new people every day was something I knew I would excel at and would suit me better. Even though I love meeting new people, working in a public serving environment wasn’t helping me grow meaningful relationships with guests I was serving because I was meeting each table/family/customer for the first time, and more often than not, it was usually the last time. Working at Egypt Valley allows me to do what I love, which is regularly meeting new people, while also growing deeper meaningful relationships with the guests/members I am serving.

I reached out to my neighbor, who is on the Food & Beverage Committee at Egypt Valley and asked if he’d be able to help me get a job as a dining room server. I applied, had an interview with Mike Pangle, and had my first day a few weeks later.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is when members see me, smile and tell me “hello,” and ask about my personal life. It may not seem like much, but it makes me feel wanted and welcomed to the table. I love it when I hear that people request to have me serve them. Most importantly, I love getting to know the kids/teenagers at the Club. There have been many times where kids will come up and hug me from behind and tell me “hello.” One young lady drew a picture while I was serving her and her family. Two young boys at the Club asked their mom and dad if “Elijah from Egypt Valley could be their full-time nanny in the summer.” Egypt Valley is a very family-oriented/friendly club so, not only do I love knowing and growing a relationship with the adults at the club, but getting to know the entire family and extended family is the best part of my job.

When you’re not at the Club working, what could you most likely be found doing?
As I mentioned earlier, I am a full-time athlete along with being a student, so I spend a lot of time running and weight training. I am very close to my family, especially my mom and dad, and I have a pretty tight-knit group of friends, so usually I can be found doing something with them. My friends, girlfriend, and I come to Egypt Valley for pickleball. My dad and I like to golf, and we all love to play euchre and cornhole, so if you’re ever looking for a partner for either cornhole or euchre, you know where to find me.

I also am a very avid country music listener. I love going to concerts with my friends and I usually listen to country anytime I'm not working. Lastly, my girlfriend and I are always looking for new restaurants and bars to eat at, so if you ever have a recommendation, please share!

Anything additional you’d like to add?
I have been told multiple times by members and my employers at the Club that I am great at my job and how I consistently go above and beyond. It’s important for me to emphasize that the ONLY way I am able to do my job well is because I have great teammates, managers and bosses. I don't consider my job to be work. I really look forward to coming to work because I know that I work with a team of people that have each other's backs, encourage each other and get along. There is a deep level of trust and comfortability that us servers and managers have with each other. Not only do we do our best to go above and beyond for each member we serve, but we go above and beyond to serve each other. Egypt Valley has done a fantastic job of putting together a team that are not only hard workers and great servers, but a team that does their best to put others first.

Simply put, not only are we serving you as members, but we are also serving each other—whether it's something small like cleaning up after a table that we didn’t serve at, or larger things like staying later, coming in early or even covering shifts. I have worked in restaurants where servers are selfish and have no desire of being a team that builds each other up and covers each other's losses.

From day one at Egypt Valley, I have been very fortunate to work with a team that wants to serve each other and our guests. I believe this starts at the top with Chris Kleinman and Mike Pangle. Chris and Mike are always ready to go with a plan each day for us servers that helps us serve better and more efficiently. The managers—Ryanna, Andrea and Jordan—are fantastic. I can name multiple examples of how each of them has sacrificed their time to help us servers. They are great encouragers, and they are exceptional leaders in their own unique way. We have seen all three of them step up and help in areas of the club that aren’t necessarily their responsibility. Ryanna has hopped back and helped me at the bar on a busy Friday night. Andrea often helps in the kitchen with expediting food from the back of the house to the servers in the front of the house. Jordan has come in early before outings, sometimes at 6 a.m. in 40-degree weather, to help me and others set up for a golf outing. These three managers control the flow of the dining room in a way no one else can and they are often not seen, mentioned or noticed. I could go on and on about different servers who have stepped up to help me specifically when I am slipping.

I love being recognized and complimented for my hard work, but what people often don’t see is the supporting cast I have the opportunity to work with. The other servers, managers and directors are the sole reason I have the opportunity to serve as well as I do.