Alumni Success Story: Kelly Rodrigues ‘14

Kelly Rodrigues ‘14 has her dream job in Human Resources at Bell’s Brewery where she’s the person “behind the bar,” who helps hand pick employees to ensure they are the right fit for the Bell’s culture. She says that 10 years in the restaurant industry and the decision to further her education with Davenport University helped her land this role.  Learn how Kelly combines her experience working in the restaurant industry and her HR degree from DU to lead the HR efforts at the Bell’s Eccentric Café below.

Tell us about yourself, Kelly!

I was raised in Constantine, MI. After high school I went to college, but I didn’t find my niche. I worked as a bartender for a while and returned to Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) where I earned my associate’s degree.  After a few years of promotions at the bar, I realized that I really enjoyed leading and managing others. I enrolled at Davenport University to obtain my BBA in Human Resources while working an entry-level HR position at KVCC.  It was such a perfect fit for my personality. Now, I am a Human Resource Generalist at Bell’s Brewery in downtown Kalamazoo.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

A lot! As the HR Generalist, I wear many hats. I work directly with Bell’s Eccentric Cafe managers to find the right staff members for the restaurant.  I recruit staff, review applications, interview, hire, and coach and counsel staff. We hand pick all of our employees to ensure they are the right fit, from general managers to dishwashers.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Expanding the Bell’s Eccentric Café in July of last year was a big undertaking. We had to hire approximately 100 people for basically every position in the restaurant – dishwashers, cooks, chefs, bartenders, managers, entertainment staff, and everything in between. We received hundreds of applications. Everyone worked long hours and many nights and weekends, but we loved every minute of it!

What do you both feel most passionate about in your Bell’s community?

Our culture. We have an inclusive, family environment. We all are friends and care about one another. I am fortunate because I am able to take my experience in the restaurant industry as well as my HR experience and use it to coach and counsel others to help them succeed. It is the most rewarding part of my job.

What advice do you have for DU recent grads?

The best advice I have for someone who has recently graduated is learn how to become self-aware. Learning how you communicate and how to improve those communications skills will help build relationships that can prove to be a long-term valuable asset.

What do you do when you are not working?

I am married with two kids, a 5-year-old and 7-month-old. We like to hang out around the house, relax and watch movies.

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