Brittany grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana but almost as soon as she moved to Houston, Texas, it began to feel like a second home. Like many young people, Brittany aspired to a bright future but needed to work in order to pay bills and rent while attending school. She got a job at her local Wal-Mart but quickly found that it wasn’t a good fit for her situation; soon, she was jobless and worried about how she would help her family pay their bills. Then at a job fair, Brittany found Juma.
Soon, Brittany was working in a unique new setting. “When I first started out at Juma, I didn’t know where I was going with this, but my Mom saw me working and she respected that, so I kept on going,” recalled Brittany. With shifts at NRG Arena, Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, and BBVA stadium, Brittany quickly learned how to work flexibly and efficiently in the fast-paced environment of professional sports venues.
As Brittany grew into her role, management also noticed her skills and aptitude growing. Brittany was excited to see her hard work pay off when she was offered a raise and a promotion to a higher position at Juma. “Of all the jobs I’ve had, this is the first one where I ever had a chance to move up into a higher role. It proved to me that hard work really does pay off,” said Brittany.
But in 2020, everything changed when COVID-19 unexpectedly closed down large events, shutting Brittany off from in-person shifts. The changes were hard to cope with. Brittany watched as her income shrank and even her schoolwork changed as she shifted from all in-person class time to fully online. “I was the only one in my household with a job—the only one working,” recalled Brittany. “I didn’t know how we were going to keep paying our bills.”
Fortunately, Juma quickly pivoted to online programming, offering Brittany a way to keep learning and earn some income. “We were able to pay some bills like our phone bill and pay for gas money. That helped a lot,” Brittany said.
She also enjoyed having an outlet to continue learning. “I love learning new things. Even if I’ve learned a skill already, there’s always something new to learn about it,” said Brittany “Like the last Juma workshop I attended where we learned about code switching—that’s something I’ve been doing all my life but now I know how to talk about it.”
Brittany credits Juma with teaching her how to work toward a goal patiently and credits her managers specifically with helping her to learn consistency by modeling the skill themselves. “When management is consistent, that rubs off on me,” Brittany explains. She also credits Juma with giving her new perspectives by allowing her to learn from her peers; having become used to facing challenges independently, Brittany enjoys hearing how her peers have faced similar obstacles and come at them from different points of view.
These days, Brittany sees the pandemic as just one more obstacle standing in her path, but it is one she knows she will overcome. “A pandemic won’t last forever,” cites Brittany. “And I’m going to do what I have to do regardless of it.”
As she continues to work toward her goals, Brittany looks forward to a future in which she has a degree hanging on her wall. She’s also excited to be back at work since Juma Houston has begun their phased stadium reopening. “Honestly, it feels good to be working again,” says Brittany. “I’m especially looking forward to more shifts and opportunities to represent Juma.” And Juma will be proud to be represented by Brittany, too!