Sonja Davis of Van Buren, catering coordinator with Aramark at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, was recently recognized for her hard work by being one of 200 employees across the country selected for the 2018 Aramark Ring of Stars, an honor celebrating outstanding company employees.
Davis was selected from more than 1,200 nominees from 19 countries across the world. As an honoree, Davis enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to Boca Raton, Florida to be recognized, where she received a gold ring commemorating her achievement and four days of tailored entertainment and activities. Additionally, her story and photo will be showcased permanently in the company’s Hall of Stars at its global headquarters in Pennsylvania.
Teresa Conquest, general manager of Aramark at UAFS who nominated Davis for the recognition, said her friendly demeanor and work ethic made her a perfect nominee for the program.
“She’s always coming up with employee activities and sends out birthday cards to every Aramark employee,” Conquest said. “She’s willing to work any shift, any day of the week. And she’s done all this as a single mother and the sole caregiver for her mother.”
Conquest added that Davis has filled in at the newly-opened Oath Pizza this fall after scheduling conflicts prevented a co-worker from attending training in Boston.
Citing numerous surveys completed by students, faculty and staff, Conquest pointed to Davis’s extraordinary customer service as also contributing to her nomination. Specifically, an instance where Davis, along with other Aramark employees, helped a special needs student visiting UAFS for a summer camp played a role in her nomination.
“Sonja went out of her way to help that student,” Conquest said. “That’s just who Sonja is. We can’t take credit for her, but we’re very lucky to have her. And we have many, many employees here that are of that caliber, but for this particular year, with everything that Sonja has gone through personally with her family while being one of our top employees, I felt she had earned the nomination.”
When Davis found out she had been selected for the accolade, she was “blown away.”
“I never am speechless – I am never without words. But when they told me, I was seriously speechless,” she said.
What Conquest and others at Aramark see as extraordinary qualities in Davis, Davis sees as just part of who she is.
“That’s just how I was raised,” she said. “My dad was a preacher, so you just look to help people. And that’s what I enjoy doing.”