ALC’s aDifference in Action – Kitachew (KIKI) Abebe

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Our aDifference Advisory Team has been doing an incredible job on behalf of the entire ALC organization. Their initiatives have helped us recognize the work of deserving individuals and encourage us to celebrate the differences in our team members. Today they announced the first “aDifference in Action” employee chosen for the month of November, Kitachew “Kiki” Abebe.

Nominated by Jessica Aquino

Making aDifference is ALC

I am always taken aback by how uplifting Kiki is. Student transportation can test our ability to keep our cool and our heads in the game. Kiki is always composed, always positive, no matter the challenges. He speaks to people with kindness and leads with his heart. From Kiki I have learned that to make aDifference you have to start by being genuine.

I have worked and have known Kiki for a little over 5 years. Those who have worked with him, without hesitation, defined him as a selfless leader, and a leader who leads by example. Since joining the aDifference team, I feel like I have learned another layer to the Kiki Greatness— his community work is so inspirational. It’s an honor to work with a company that has leaders like Kiki!

“I do my best to lead by example at all times. I believe true leadership is being the first to serve based on whatever the need is, regardless of the task.”

Kitachew “Kiki” Abebe

1. How long have you been with ALC? What were some of your favorite moments with the company?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be with ALC for over 13 years – 3 years as a part-time Account Coordinator and 10 years as a full-time employee. My most favorite moment was getting feedback from a parent in Cherry Creek School for a student with fragile X-syndrome who usually doesn’t want to go to school. One day I assigned myself as his driver and I picked him up in a black Lincoln Town car. That day he was smiling all the way to his school, his first-ever successful school transportation. He loved it so much he asked his parents where his ride was on Saturday morning.

Always be outperforming…

Working with the Denver team and we went from 80 trips a day to 400 trips a day within a short time and having to work with leaders like Leon, Yahya, Carlos, Alfredo, Ricardo, Johan Hayes, and so many others was fun. After managing most of the Northern Colorado School Districts, I was moved to manage the Aurora Public School account and at the time we had 20 trips per day and our competitors had the majority of the business. In a very short time by working with my team we were able to outperform the competitors and we were awarded 100% of the business from the district. Learning to hear that one of our drivers who drove our student for five years becoming the first lady of Ethiopia.

Kiki and his team.
From left to right: Kiki Abebe, Brad Reitmair, Michael Blanco, Raushan Rowser, Nenu Alemayhu, and Xavier Flores

2. What advice would you give people who want to get involved in their community?

The advice I give to anyone who wants to get involved in their community is to simply start by “doing”. Get active and help others in any capacity, when it comes to service it’s all about availability. We all have the opportunity to learn about giving back, and the most valuable thing one can give is time, so I give my time any way I can to help others. This builds your desire to help others, and once that is attained, looking for the opportunities to make the maximum impact on your community will come selflessly. The byproduct of that is the impact on your community beyond yourself.

3. What is one trait/attribute that makes you valuable to ALC?

Trying to do my best to lead by example at all times. I believe true leadership is being the first to serve based on whatever the need is, regardless of the task. I want to create a culture that no one employee is too big to do any task. I’m willing to help anyone on the team with those tasks and let them know my door is always open. In doing so, you are able to influence the behaviors, attitudes, and thoughts of other team members.

Effectively translate your intentions

I try to effectively translate my intention of this into reality by actions that can teach so that I can help develop my team to become their own leaders. That in turn gives me fulfillment. Furthermore, that extends to parents, school districts, and service providers. We service parents that have children with significant limitations, so they at times have other things to worry about, our job is to make sure we do everything possible so that their children’s transportation is one less worry. That is done by working diligently with School Districts and Service Providers to make sure everything runs smoothly at all times, and when issues do arise, handling them in a timely fashion. Through that approach, I feel I have made a significant impact not only in my work with ALC but in serving my community also.

To reach our aDifference team, please contact them at adifference@alcschools.com.

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