Tag: featured

Meet Navy Veteran and Team Leader, Michael Simmons

Michael Simmons, a Team Leader here at Xcellent ATL, began his career here just moments before a global shutdown. The twenty-two-year-old entrepreneur joined the team in February of this year, and is wrapping up the year with just as much enthusiasm and drive as his first day. The Atlanta native always dreamt of becoming a business owner and professional boxer.

After graduating from high school, Simmons joined the US Navy, an experience to which he credits all of his success. “I am a very proud Navy veteran,” says Simmons, “it was the greatest experience of my life. I earned lifelong friends and the mental resilience that I didn’t have before. As a junior recruit, you have to prove yourself. You have to prove that you have a strong mind, an ability to adapt and be an asset to a team. Active duty taught me to wait, take a breath, take a moment, and think. I learned to do my part on a team and have integrity. I learned that everything comes to light, so do your best today.” It’s no secret that active duty can be one of the most challenging situations mentally, physically, and spiritually. How did he get through it? What is his advice to others in his shoes? “Fight your mind; it will stop you to protect you — that’s survival. Work with what you have until you get more. Don’t overthink but be ready for life’s curveballs. Your actions decide your life.”

Exactly how much of this experience did Michael Simmons bring to his career here at Xcellent ATL? You gain pieces of yourself from experiences like that, and those pieces never leave you. “All of my greatest accomplishments come from my time in the Navy,” says Simmons, “I was able to travel around the world and meet so many new people, and accordingly, those social skills have helped me tremendously in this career. I am only twenty-two, and I have traveled to seven different countries; I’m proud of that.”

The natural extrovert pulls inspiration from all around him: his fellow veterans, colleagues, and mentors. Most of all, Michael Simmons is inspired by his family. “I am inspired by people who came from nothing and made their way in the world,” says Simmons, “I learned that from my parents; they are my greatest inspiration.

They taught me that success is the ability to give. I want to have everything I need, so I can be in the position to give to others.”

Michael Simmons brings so much to the Xcellent ATL team, from his drive to others’ encouragement; every part of him is an asset. “I am an extrememly hard worker and never settle for less,” says Simmons, “I strive to be the best at whatever I do. I have a strong desire to learn and grow. I am also very competitive. I think that comes from my time as a boxer before the Navy. Boxing gives you a strong desire and hunger to win.”

Where will Michael Simmons be in five years? The short answer is, anywhere. “I want to become my own boss; that is my passion,” says Simmons, “I want to be able to give, give, give. I hope to continue boxing, even on a non-competitive level. In five years, I hope to own my own clothing brand, which is something not everyone knows about me! I want to invest in homeless shelters and support small businesses and teams nationwide.” If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that Michael’s going to make a difference.

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Creating a Team During a Crisis: Chatting with HR Recruiter, Alexius High

June 2020 brought a new HR Recruiter to the Xcellent ATL team. Enter twenty-two-year-old business leader, Alexius High. Born and raised in Georgia, High played collegiate basketball on a full-ride scholarship to Lander University. A competitive edge, determination, and a student mentality came together to create this stellar entrepreneur in only twenty-two short years.

How does one turn a childhood dream of being an anesthesiologist into a budding career in business and recruiting? “I had no idea I would end up in this career field,” says High, “but, I love talking to people and helping individuals, so on that front, this career seems like a no brainer.” Tough decisions faced Alexius during her college years, but diamonds are created under pressure. “After my sophomore year of college, I had to transfer to Georgia State University, where I currently attend,” says High, “that experience changed me a lot. It was the first time I had to make a big decision for myself. I had to work twice as hard for everything I wanted in life, and this is no different.”

Alexius High’s goal is simple; to become the top recruiter in the state of Georgia. “I want to take the company to the top,” says High, “my career has grown since becoming a recruiter. I get the chance to interact with so many different people while also bringing in new talent to the company. I won’t lie; it can be challenging. It can be difficult to find consistency in a career where every day is different, but I manage and will excel.”

As a deeply spiritual person, Alexius High knows precisely what force is behind her success. “I am passionate about putting God first because without him nothing would be possible,” says High, “I am also passionate about knowing more about the human mind, so I do a lot of reading on human psychology and the way humans think.”

COVID-19 has brought on specific struggles for recruiters, as recent graduates and aspiring businesspeople search for their place in the industry. “The circumstances of 2020 have taken a toll on the hiring process at Xcellent ATL,” says High, “Many of the applicants reject work due to COVID-19. I am looking forward to the remainder of 2020 because I know as the years continue, the business will grow, and I am excited to keep scouting new personalities and abilities to our team.”

More than any other career, business professionals need their network to succeed. No one achieves anything alone, and early in her career, Alexius High understands the importance of leaning on the people around her. “My favorite thing thus far is the support that I have from my team at Xcellent ATL,” says High, “They motivate me and push me hard so that I can be the best I can be. This is by far the best company that I have ever worked for. I am also motivated by my mother. I watched her struggle as a single mother for so many years, and she taught me that nothing in life is free. If you want something, work for it.”

In the next five years, Alexius High hopes to own her own lash business and manifest her passion for enhancing female beauty and confidence. As her mounting success grows, High reflects on her humble beginnings and encourages future leaders to maintain faith in themselves and determination. “My greatest accomplishment to date is a little different than everyone else’s, but it has been finding myself,” says High, “I reached a point in life where I was lost. I didn’t know what I wanted for myself or my future, and I never knew what tomorrow would bring. I did not want to ask for advice because I didn’t want to show people how I felt. I didn’t want to let my family down, and I was afraid of being a disappointment. I made many decisions with myself and with God. I am much happier now, and I have a set plan for my future.”

Want to keep up with Alexius? Watch out for the future autobiography of her life, self-titled, The Change. “I would never picture the way my life is now. I changed for the better.”

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Meet Georgia Native: Donald Crawford

Xcellent ATL has an exciting introduction! In March of this year, our team grew by one. Georgia native, Donald Crawford, joined our team as an Account Manager. In his younger years, the natural funny-man dreamt of being a comedian. “My entire family would describe me as a funny guy,” says Crawford, “I was always laughing during my childhood. I remember going to work with my grandfather at the electrical company he owned and making the whole office laugh.”

After graduating from high school, Crawford went on to attend Savannah State University where he studied Criminal Justice. Alongside his studies, the Account Manager served as an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, where he networked with future leaders and served his community through philanthropy. After earning his undergraduate degree, Crawford went on to seek a master’s degree and did just that. Before joining our team, the Account Manager earned his MBA and became an entrepreneur in training.

Only a few months later, Crawford encountered the opportunity of a lifetime here at Xcellent ATL. His position as an Account Manager has allowed Crawford to grow in the industry, network with other entrepreneurs, and create a track record of success that speaks for itself. “I was totally attracted to the environment of Xcellent ATL,” says the Georgia native, “the people here were warm and inviting, while also cunning in business and goal-oriented.”

As for the future, Donald Crawford has a plan mapped out. “I hope to be managing a conglomerate of businesses,” says the Account Manager, “I want to move around. I would like to live in every capital city of the country for at least a season.”

From all of us here at Xcellent ATL, we thank you for your hard work, dedication, and adventurous spirit, Donald! Keep crushing it.

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Meet Darrea Dawson: Team Lead

This month our Xcellent ATL team had the pleasure of sitting down with Darrea Dawson, a show-stopping team lead in our office. Dawson calls Wichita, Kansas home, and has been with the company since October of 2018.

Did you grow up in Wichita, or did you move around?
“I was raised in Wichita until the age of eleven, I then moved to Georgia and have been here ever since.”

What were you like as a kid?
“My parents would have described me as hardworking and quiet, but outgoing at times. They’ve called me talented, exceptional, athletic and studious.”

Were you involved in any sports as a kid?
“I played basketball in the position of second and third guard, but I was able to play all positions if needed. I used to skateboard as well. That was the first thing I ever wanted to be professional at.”

You were quite the athlete! How would you say that competitive environment shaped you?
“Being in sports showed me how to be competitive. I’ve always been competitive in nature. I always want to perform at my best and be able to say I can do anything I put my mind to.”

Did you know that you would end up in this career?
“I had no idea that would be in this field, but by the way my life was going, I knew I was going to do anything I needed to do to reach my end goal. This is a part of that journey so I decided to take it head on.”

What did you study in school?
“I went to college at SAE Institute of Technology for Audio Engineering.”
What is one life experience you feel has shaped you?
“I would just narrow it down to one experience because there are so many, and each play a specific role. I would narrow it down to having my two children because it helped me realize that my life isn’t just about me and my needs, but it’s about creating a better future for not only my kids but everyone who comes after.”

What is something we might not know about you just by looking at you?
“I’m going to change the world in some shape, form or fashion.”

When did you start with the company, and what were your initial thoughts?“I joined the team on Wednesday, October 14th. My first thought when starting the company was that no matter how hard it got, I had to stick in there. Something unique that I noticed is that everyone wants to be surrounded by positivity. I believe that if every job had this atmosphere, they would be a little better.”

How would you describe the culture at the company?
“I would describe it as a group of people who just want to be successful and are not satisfied with being average.”

What is something you’ve learned through your work that you didn’t know before?

“I learned that there was an opportunity to go from being entry level to owner in less than 18-24 months.”

What are your goals with the company?
“I want to eventually become an owner and use this as a vehicle to open other doors for more opportunities.”

 

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Meet Emmie Beery: Leader In and Out of the Office

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Xcellent ATL team! This month, we are giving ourselves the gift of appreciation, specifically for our impeccable and hardworking team. This month, we’ve decided to sit down with Emmie Beery, an AT&T Sales Representative Leader, here on our team about life and success.

Emerald Alexandria Suzylyn Beery, Emmie for short, was born in Griffin, Georgia. She remembers moving around until the fourth grade, when she moved to Senoia, Georgia. Beery spent the rest of her childhood years in Senoia, until graduating from East Coweta High School. Beery was a social and studious kid, who kept up strong grades and did the makeup for her high school theater program. “In that environment, I spent so much time with actors and actresses,” says Beery, “it was a competitive environment, where everyone always wanted to get the best roles.”

After graduating high school, Beery attended the University of West Georgia and Kennesaw State University to study nursing. “I had no idea I would end up in this field,” says Beery, “I’ve always been a people person and enjoyed helping people, so it ended up being a perfect match.”

For Beery, her home life is what gives her strength. “My grandmother raised me alone and always did her best,” says Beery, “she was a role model for me and showed me that I should always try my best. I also have 4 cats, 3 are rescues, and 1 I rescued in the field.”

On October 30th, 2018, Emmie Beery joined the Xcellent ATL team. “I immediately noticed that everyone was really nice, positive, supportive, and dressed super nice,” laughs Beery, “the team was welcoming and fun like a family, but everyone is there to hold you accountable for actions.”

“Through this career, I have learned that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it,” says Beery, “you have to work as hard as you can to reach your goals. I have developed a more positive mindset and outlook on life, and I thrive when helping people and being that solution provider for them.”

As for her goals, Emmie Beery shows no signs of slowing down. “I want to learn as much as I can about the company and myself to get myself where I need to be to run an office,” says Beery, “I know all of my leaders are there for me if I need help with absolutely anything.”

 

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Best Business Books For The Busy Millennial

We’ve heard it all before. You “don’t have time to read,” you “read too much in college,” you “read enough at work.” Well, we aren’t buying it. Here at Xcellent ATL, people constantly ask us, “how can I succeed in business?”, “how can I kickstart my career?,” “what am I doing wrong?” We have the solution. Success in business is about continuing education and constant refreshment. You simply cannot undermine the value of reading and absorbing educational content. However, we know it can be hard to find a place to start. In an effort to help, we have laid out the best business books for the busy millennial- that’s you. Start reading.

 

“Brotopia”

Boss-Ladies? This one is for you. Emily Chang, the host of Bloomberg Technology, dives into the world of Silicon Valley in her book. Notoriously run solely by men, Chang embarks on interviews and intensive research on the inner workings of this “boys clubs” and the future of women in technology. Without giving away the magic of this read, any women trying to make it in the professional world should give this one a try.

“Off the Clock”

For those of you who say you have no time to read, Xcellent ATL has found the perfect business book for you. Laura Vanderkam’s “Off the Clock” focuses on the struggle of time management between work and play. The cover says it all, “feel less busy while getting more done.” This is the perfect book for self-education, as well as self-bettering. Let’s be honest, we could all use help with time management.

“In Praise of Wasting Time”

This book contradicts everything we are taught to believe as millennials, in the best way possible. Alan Lightman’s book preaches the power of doing nothing. He contends that there is nothing more beneficial to the busy millennial than leaving sometime in the week or the day free. By filling every minute of every day with work, social plans, family time, or workouts, we have deprived ourselves of the power to freely think-to wonder.

“My Morning Routine”

With the rise of YouTube and “Morning Routine” videos, busy millennials have become obsessed with the idea of the perfect morning routine. The one that is the most time efficient, the most productive, while also being the most relaxing and enjoyable. This book, written by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander, explores various morning routines shared by different people- and which are most effective. Who knows, maybe this could be the book to perfect your morning routine.

 

Whether it is with one of these fun reads or another, we encourage you to take a moment from your day to read. Not only does it provide you with a mental break from the physical activity of your day, but we truly believe you should never stop learning. From all of us here at Xcellent ATL, we wish you the best of luck.

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Meet Xcellent’s Account Manager, Shakira Logan!

“I call it a happy place. Everyone goes through things in life, but once you get here it’s a free world and everyone is happy.”

Shakira Logan has been an account manager with Xcellent ATL since July of 2018 and has made great strides in success since that day. We decided to sit down with her in a one-on-one interview because we are inspired by her work ethic each and every day, and value her as an irreplaceable member of the team.

Logan was born in Toledo, Ohio, and raised in Collins, Mississippi, where she would live until heading off to college. As a kid, Logan was a natural introvert, bookworm, and highly intelligent student. Logan even skipped the eighth grade entirely, moving from seventh grade to high school.  Alongside her dedication to her studies, Logan played basketball throughout high school and into college. “Basketball gave me the competitive mindset I have today, as far as always wanting to win,” says Logan, “I always knew what I wanted to accomplish, and there’s always someone better than you- it pushes you to continuously strive for your best.”

Logan graduated high school in May of 2014 and headed to Alabama A&M, where she would study Sports Management. Logan was a busy college student, as she struggled to balance her workload with her time on the basketball team. Ultimately, Logan closed out her basketball career in her junior year, which she cites as “the hardest, but the best decision I ever made.” “I ended up having three surgeries in less than a year,” says Logan, “I would get out of practice at 7 and sit in my car until 10, because I couldn’t physically move. I was forced to make the decision because I didn’t want to be in a wheelchair at 30, but it was the hardest decision of my life- this was everything I had been working towards all my life. However, when I quit basketball I got the opportunity to become more involved on campus. I joined a professional business fraternity and a sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho.” Logan went on to become the President of Sigma Gamma Rho in her time as a college student. The account manager credits this involvement and professional training with much of her success today. “Basketball made me competitive,” says Logan, “but letting it go allowed me to grow into a young professional.”

Immediately after college, Logan took a 9-5 position in finance, but in an out of the blue moment, was let go. “I think I got comfortable there,” says Logan, “but God didn’t have that plan for me.” Shortly after that, Logan touched up her resume and put it out into the professional world- prompting Xcellent ATL to reach out.  “Within a few days of losing the job, I was contacted by Xcellent ATL,” says Logan, “it was meant to be.”

Logan started with the company on July 4th, 2018. “I didn’t know exactly what I would be doing, so I came in with an open mindset,” says Logan, “when I learned about the opportunity in front of me, I turned on that student mentality and got excited to learn.” What Logan quickly saw was the strength of culture we have created here at Xcellent ATL. “I call it a happy place,” says Logan, “everyone goes through things in life, but once you get here it’s a free world and everyone is happy.”

Through her work, Logan has seen both personal and professional growth, and her gratitude goes out to the company and her team. “I learned that I have a whole lot of patience,” laughs Logan, “I’ve learned that I am really great at talking to people- I make other people feel good about themselves.”

As for her goals, Shakira Logan sees only green lights ahead. “I want to open up my own office,” says Logan, “I want to grow a strong team and help others understand the opportunity we have here, and help them achieve their goals.”

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Meet Margarita: Our Xcellent Account Manager

In late September our team had the pleasure of sitting down with Margarita Crespo, a talented account manager here at Xcellent ATL. Xcellent ATL is a marketing and sales firm headquartered in Atlanta, with a focus on exactly that- excellence. Margarita Crespo has been with the company since July of 2018 and has made huge strides in success in the months following her first day.

Margarita Crespo was born and raised in Chicago, until moving out of the city at the age of 25. As a child, Crespo walked the line between outgoing and social, and shy and reserved. It wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school that the account manager fully found the outgoing personality we all see today. “Before high school, I was very shy,” says Crespo, “but after getting involved in so many sports teams I became much more outgoing.” The young athlete could be found on a basketball court, a softball field, or a swimming pool at any moment of the day. “Swimming was definitely my favorite sport,” says Crespo, “I love the water, I’m a fish.” The successful businesswoman credits much of her professional confidence to those days on high school sports teams. “Being on a team at that age teaches you that you can’t do anything alone,” says Crespo, “Even as a swimmer, I would swim in that lane alone, but I couldn’t do it without my team.” Crespo also credits her professional coaching ability to those days as a young athlete.

After high school graduation, Crespo headed to Northeastern Illinois University where she would study pre-law. “After I graduated college I completely changed what I wanted with my future,” says Crespo, “I spent time working with criminal lawyers at the Chicago Bar Association, and what I saw was not what I wanted to do with my life. So I decided to get an MBA from DeVry with a focus in information systems technology.” Crespo’s next stop in her career was the classroom. The account manager spent multiple years teaching high school students and still remembers those days fondly. “I fell in love with teaching,” says Crespo, “but I wanted to get into technology, so I moved onto IT management.” Crespo has packed her years in the professional world with ample experience in multiple sectors, the businesswoman would even go on to manage a small home health company before joining the Xcellent ATL team.

Crespo started with Xcellent on July 3rd, 2018. “The team mentality of the company is what pushed me to start,” says Crespo, “there was just a true opportunity to grow. Other jobs it was more of choosing your position and where you start is where you’ll be 20 years from now, I didn’t want that. I wanted a future and I wanted growth- I knew I could find that here.” For Crespo, the cherry on top was the strong team mentality she found at Xcellent ATL. “When you have a great team there’s no reason why you won’t be successful,” says Crespo.

As for the culture at Xcellent ATL, Crespo fit in immediately. “The company revolves around the team,” says Crespo, “being part of this team makes you grow and develop as an individual, so much of what we learn in the office can be applied to our lives.” Crespo has no shortage of positive words for her team and the development culture of Xcellent ATL.

Despite Crespo’s dense and diverse professional history, her experience with the Xcellent team has not lacked lessons. “I’ve learned how to address different customer needs and different types of individuals,” says Crespo, “with everything you do you come across people, and before this job, I don’t think I knew how to have effective conversations with others. My focus now is teaching people to work at the best of their ability and learning to satisfy everyone.” As for her daily responsibilities, Crespo has harnessed her teaching ability in the office and in the field. “On a daily basis I am teaching,” says Crespo, “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been here, it matters how fast you learn, so I am constantly teaching others in the office. I am responsible for team building and helping others grow, that is my favorite thing.”

The past three months have been a whirlwind for Crespo, but she shows no signs of slowing down. “My goals are to continue helping others grow,” says Crespo, “I hope to be promoted to assistant management and beyond- if I can teach people to be better than me, I love that.” With a work ethic and determination like Margarita Crespo’s, there is no limit to success.

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