Booth’s Unsung Heroes: Deon Sullivan, Kolver Cafe cook

Deon Sullivan

By Lauren Anderson '15

Deon Sullivan has been working in the Kovler Cafe for the past nine years. You probably know him as the only smile you see before 10am. He greets every single one of his customers with a smile and a “how are you doing?”. His attitude towards others is a textbook example of Jeff Anderson’s approach to building effective relationships. Jeff encourages us, as future leaders, to try treating everyone we interact with as our best customer. As we all impart on our careers soon, may we strive to be more like Deon in our interactions with CEOs and janitorial staff.

Chibus [CB]: Do you focus on projecting a certain air? How do you think it impacts how people respond to you?

Deon Sullivan [DS]: I wouldn’t say I focus on it, but I just always want to be nice. It definitely impacts the way people respond to me - especially in the morning. People don’t always look happy and I always give them the benefit of the doubt - maybe they had a bad commute, especially in the winter. The way you treat them can make them have a better day or a worse day.

[CB] How do you think about your customers? What’s your goal?

[DS] My goal is to make sure they are happy when they leave my station. I make sure the food is good enough that they want to come back. We provide experiences that enrich and nourish lives.

[CB] How are you able to project such an upbeat, energetic demeanor at all times?

[DS] If I have a bad day coming in, the customer isn’t the cause for the bad day. They shouldn’t have to experience that vibe. If you’re having a bad day you have to put it aside and deal with it. The work is always the easiest part (cooking), it’s making sure the customers are happy that can be more of the challenge.

[CB] Tell us about Deon outside of work.

[DS] I was born and raised in Chicago and am a huge Chicago Bears fan. I’m also a Chicago Cubs fan and proud of it! I spend my free time with my 93-year-old grandfather who has dementia. I also enjoy playing the drums and playing pool. I have a girlfriend and our one-year anniversary was last week.

[CB] What would you say to the class of 2014 as they enter the workforce again?

[DS] It pays to be nice. Lastly, I  want to give a shout out to my  coworkers and customers. Without them I wouldn’t be me.