Kristi Davis and Nereida Gourley are the 2021 Core Four Award winners for Bottleneck Management. The Core Four Award is given to the employee that demonstrates the best representations of understanding, support, empowerment, and enjoyment in their daily operations. Overall, Kristi and Nereida are genuine people offering genuine hospitality – exemplifying Bottleneck’s values.
Kristi Davis has been the General Manager of City Works Disney Springs since its opening in February 2020 and has displayed the core values of Bottleneck every step of the way.
“It made me cry when they announced me as a Core Four Award winner. I don’t look at it as myself. I look at it as my team. It should say Team Disney from dishwashers to host,” said Kristi.
Kristi worked in the hospitality industry for over ten years before joining Bottleneck, but she maxed out with no opportunities for growth.
“I wasn’t ready to stop, though. I’m not dead yet. I have goals and aspirations,” Kristi said.
She was familiar with the City Works brand and noticed a location would be opening in Disney Springs.
“I stalked HR, scheduled an interview, and started almost immediately,” said Kristi.
“Because of the size of my previous company, I had begun to feel like a number instead of a person. It’s like having a huge tree and worrying about the ROI on the fruit it will bear. If you neglect the fruit, then the tree dies.”
“Bottleneck walks the walk. They care about their people and invest in them. The guests are going to be taken care of because the staff is happy. We continue to expand, and ownership still has Zoom calls with hourly employees to thank them. They shake hands and thank you for working with them, not for them. It’s a fun, crazy, high-paced adrenaline rush,” Kristi said.
One of Kristi’s most fond memories at Bottleneck is the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening.
“It was closure on all the hard work everyone did. From hiring a great team to building an amazing place on Disney’s West side. I was then able to relive that feeling once we opened back up after the pandemic. Some of our team was furloughed and when they came back it felt like Rocky Balboa. I thought, we can do this! We are going to get through this,” Kristi said.
Kristi said her team’s resilience and positivity throughout the pandemic inspires her.
“I’m fortunate to be in a situation where my team is amazing. Everyone’s different attributes are what has made us successful.”
“We began the hiring process, we opened a new restaurant property, we were then hit with Covid closures, and then were able to open again with restrictions. It was a lot and I’m very impressed with the team and how they handled it. Everyone had each other’s back and wanted to be a part of something great.”
“When people enter our four walls we want them to enjoy a beer, bangin’ food, and unplug. We don’t know what people are going through in life and want our restaurant to be a place to not think about the bad times for a few hours and celebrate the good times,” Kristi said.
Kristi says she is thankful to be at Bottleneck.
“They have great goals, visions, and policies. The interaction we provide makes guests want to be long-time guests like in Cheers. This has given me a new lease on my career,” said Kristi.
Nereida Gourley, Senior Human Resources Manager, has progressed rapidly in her three years with Bottleneck and continues to display the core values in her daily work.
“I’m inspired by challenging situations, things that strengthen my skills, and knowing what I have already accomplished,” Nereida said.
Nereida began as the Total Rewards Manager and was quickly promoted to Senior Human Resources Manager, all while going back to school and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in May 2020.
When presented as one of the Core Four Award winners Nereida said it was a wonderful surprise.
“I am always focused on the next task and just knowing I was considered based on what I’ve done made me feel special. It was a very touching moment. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given and the journeys I’ve embarked on here. It’s been very fulfilling for me,” Nereida said.
Nereida loves taking on new challenges because they help her grow. One of her fondest moments of growth was creating and implementing a new video training program.
“I created videos for the payroll team. I took ownership of the tutorials and sent them to the general managers as a part of their training. The GMs are very busy, so I had to think outside the box on ways to train them on various programs. The feedback was very positive.
The videos were something I was self-conscious about at first because of my accent. I had a moment of doubt, and I’m ok expressing that because everyone has them sometimes, and it’s something I overcame,” Nereida said.
Nereida loves the team-oriented environment at Bottleneck.
“Each department is open to working with each other, which helps me understand how changes affect each department and how we can strategize together.”
“We try to make it fun, and even with social distancing, coming up with ways to get to know each other. We get older in age but we never get older in our hearts. We still want to hang out with our teammates. That relationship is important.”
“This is an organization that is filled with many learning opportunities. You are empowered to bring your knowledge to the table to make the organization better. It’s about having fun and coexisting together. We really are like a family,” said Nereida.