JAG Students in Newark, NJ Experienced McDonald’s 1st Brand Reputation

The New York Metro Region conducted its first Brand Reputation campaign event on Tuesday, February 14th with great success speaking to over 60 students in the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program in the Newark, NJ area. HR Coordinator, Ashley McMurrian, kicked off the event with the McDonald’s Archways for Opportunity program presentation. Ashley gave an outstanding overview of each component of the Archways with a special emphasis on college tuition assistance. Sr. Marketing Director, Elizabeth Campbell, brought excitement with the role marketing plays in McDonald’s. Elizabeth shared her vast experience working in the corporate office and the field, along with providing JAG students with information on the type of degree and experience a person needs in marketing.

Four department function presenters did an amazing job keeping the JAG students engaged with their personal I-story, experiences with McDonald’s, and the various role/position functions within the company. Area Real Estate Manager, Yolanda Holmes, excited the students when she asked, “Who has been to the new McDonald’s off Springhill Avenue?” The majority of the students raised their hands. Yolanda then shared her role in development with building the new McDonald’s in their local community. The students were amazed! They laughed and listened tentatively to each presenter.

As each presenter proclaimed their role and function to be the best, one student asked ,“So which department is the best?,” the room erupted with laughter.

“He must be important!” “That’s the man right there I bet!” Those were comments made by students as NYM Regional QSC-VP, Mat Ajayi, walked to the front of the room to share his captivating story regarding his 20 years of McDonald’s experience, starting from a crew person in Fresno, California, to a regional vice president. Mat hit a home run connecting the reputation campaign slogan of McDonald’s “Committed to Being America’s Best First Job” as he shared the knowledge, leadership skills, and opportunities McDonald’s has provided him with the students. He emphasized that McDonald’s can lead to a long lasting and rewarding career. He left the students with this message: “Keep your eyes on the prize as you pursue your career goals.”

Lastly, the students had the opportunity to meet two local owner operators in their community, Celestina Quintana and Ana Madan. Both operators created a heartwarming atmosphere as they explained their love and care for the community, and offered their support to the school and the students. Celestina connected with the student by sharing her personal story of growing up in Newark, NJ. She expressed her understanding of their struggle and provided powerful words of encouragement. Ana did an amazing job answering the question asked by a student: “What is McDonald’s looking for in an applicant?” She also shared how McDonald’s is a company that prides itself on identifying, developing, and retaining talent. To conclude the event, we had a questions/answers panel, a “mix and mingle” session, and students had the opportunity to apply for jobs at their local restaurants. Below are two of the comments students shared expressing their feelings about the event:

“I did not know McDonald’s had so many opportunities” ~ Ihmir, JAG Student

“Thank you guys for coming to speak with us today. I’m going to apply for a job at McDonalds”~ Laquan, JAG Student

Special thanks to the following individuals who made this event successful: Celestina Quintana, Ana Madan, Mat Ajayi, Brian Cheung, Yolanda Homes, Elizabeth Campbell, Ashley McMurrian, Nedia Encarnacao, Amanda Pisano, Renita Graves, Tatiana Rich, Katrina Rainey, and Barbara Long.

View the story on jag.org.