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Every member — including your littlest ones — deserves top-notch customer service. And no employee exemplifies this standard better than Joy Darreff, the CornerKids director at Cornerstone Clubs.
According to Jim Bishop, the president and CEO of Cornerstone Clubs, Darreff is a Front-Line All Star who has radiated an infectious positive energy of lasting impression with every child and parent for the past 20 years.
“Joy is truly a gift to our organization and deserves every bit of recognition,” continued Bishop. “Knowing every child’s name, their parent’s names and something about them has always been a given for Miss Joy. She treats every child as if they were her own and is the epitome of what Cornerstone represents for our community.”
Here, Darreff shares how she keeps such a positive attitude.
Title: CornerKids Director
Club: Cornerstone Clubs
Years of service: 20
CS: What do you love most about your job, and what’s kept you at Cornerstone Clubs all this time?
JD: What I love most is making children laugh, and making parents happy with our care. What’s kept me here is the sense of family that is full of truly caring people.
CS: How does Cornerstone Clubs make you feel valued as an employee?
JD: Giving me the platform to exhibit my passion. The members, parents and my staff make me feel so very valued.
CS: Where do you get your work ethic?
JD: I look back at all my jobs and think I had a pretty good work ethic in all of them. I’m thinking it is from watching my father work six days a week and my mom work hard raising four children. But I think starting to work at a young age and working in the restaurant business helped. The harder you worked, the more money you made!
CS: How do you keep a positive attitude?
JD: I think you are born and nurtured into being either a positive or a negative person. Being named Joy helps! But I think I’ve became more positive after my son died. My whole being changed. When I look back at that time and how much I gained — even though my loss was so devastating — I’m blessed, and if you see the blessings you stay positive.
CS: What practice or techniques do you use to make strong connections with members?
JD: A big smile and a complement.
CS: Do you have any tricks you use for remembering names or significant aspects of their lives?
JD: For remembering names, singing a song. As far as significant aspects of their lives, I think if you really listen and care about a person, you don’t forget.
CS: What is the most challenging aspect of your job, and how do you strive to overcome that challenge?
JD: Keeping people positive. I strive by telling positive stories about people, and helping them to look at both sides of a situation.
CS: What best practice tips can you share that would be beneficial to professionals in a similar role at other clubs?
JD: Work harder and happier than everyone you work with and never complain.
CS: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made, and what did you learn from it?
JD: When I first took my position as director I treated everyone the same and expected them to work like me, later realizing everyone has different gifts to give. In time, I learned everyone’s differences make a great team.
CS: What’s one of the best ideas you’ve ever had that improved the level of customer experience?
JD: A few of my favorite ideas I have had include: A bubble birthday parade — taking children though the gym puts a smile on everyone’s faces; FitKid membership; Coming up with the catch phrase, “Make your heart say thank you” through exercise; And designing birthday parties.
CS: What is the funniest member story you can think of?
JD: When a 3-year-old boy came in dressed like me — Cornerstone shirt, biker pants, a whistle and a blonde wig!
CS: What is the best gift from a member you’ve ever received?
JD: A mom came to me and said her 2-year-old daughter included me in her bedtime prayers. When she started 1st grade I did not see her much, so I asked the mom how she was doing. The mom said she was great and still keeping me in her bedtime prayers. What a gift!
Know a Front-Line All Star at your gym? Nominate them to be featured here.