Team Member Spotlight: Azelina

Meet Azelina, a Restaurant General Manager (RGM) for Summerwood, who says a great employee is passionate and caring, and knows how to work hard and play hard simultaneously. At 25, she certainly exemplifies all of these things. 

Azelina’s journey with Taco Bell began when she accepted her first job at 16. Today, she leads the Columbia location in Maryland where she often serves as a tour guide to new employees, showing them around what ultimately becomes their “second home” and introducing them to other staff. She says she relates well to the younger set and finds making connections at work to be very satisfying.

“This is where I belong,” she says. 

It’s obvious that Azelina is very driven — proving she can meet sales goals, she was quickly promoted early in her career. As a result, she has groomed a team that enjoys the friendly competition cultivated among Summerwood restaurants as much as she does. 

“I’m pretty sure we are always the top in our company — in my books,” she says. 

What makes a successful Taco Bell? According to Azelina, “paying attention to the needs of your employees and the needs of yourself” is at the top of the list. She goes on to say priorities can range from scheduling the right people to making sure those team members on the schedule are taken care of. 

“I promote teamwork by being there,” she says. “I’m like the captain of my ship, but I’m also the crew of my ship, too.”  

In 2018, Summerwood purchased Azelina’s Taco Bell location. Of the ownership transition she says, “This company has been amazing. I have never seen a more personalized company in my life. My bosses are always there for me.” 

Azelina believes that part of what has helped her to succeed at Summerwood is the support she’s received from the company. And also the feeling that she’s special, important. 

“I feel like no matter the workplace, recognition is very important,” she says. “At Summerwood… we celebrate the little things and we also celebrate the big things.”  

Team members celebrate birthdays together, which she says can sometimes seem like fun “movie moments.” Another way employees are recognized and supported is through the Summerwood “Second Chance” Scholarship, as well as Taco Bell’s Live Más Scholarship. Azelina is proud to see members of her team benefit from programs like this. 

“It’s a life-changing benefit,” she says. “I keep telling my employees… you need to apply. It’s like free money!” 

So what’s next for Azelina? Truthfully, she says her main focus is on leaving each location she touches with a lasting impression. Pretty impactful goal!