Employee Spotlight – Timmi Smith, Expanding Her Community to Serve in Africa

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El Gaucho Bellevue’s Timmi Smith

E.E. Cummings wrote, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  This quote has become El Gaucho Bellevue’s Timmi Smith’s mantra. A single mom to an 11-year-old, Timmi has never ventured outside of North America, and has decided to challenge herself and participate in a 2-week mission trip to Uganda, East Africa.

The focus of this mission is geared toward hospitality, which Timmi certainly knows a lot about, since she’s been in the hospitality industry for 16 years (she joined the El Gaucho team as Bookkeeper/Office Manager in November 2008).   Her team will be serving the students and staff at African Hospitality Institute (AHI).

AHI works with at-risk youth in Uganda to equip them with employable skills.  Through a two-year vocational hospitality training program, students learn professional housekeeping, cooking, and serving skills to help them gain employment in a competitive workforce.  The curriculum also emphasizes customer service, leadership skills, character development, and English language fluency.  The end goal is for graduates to be self-sufficient and productive members of society.

During the two-week trip, Timmi will be able to teach others how to serve, by serving them herself.

“Sometimes we never go for our dreams, goals, or desires because they seem impossible. Even with this in mind, I get the opportunity to exercise my trust and faith, to step out into what I have feared is impossible.  By taking a risk and being a part of this team, it is one step closer for me in break these strongholds,” Timmi said.

How you can support Timmi and African Hospitality Institute:

Even though the trip isn’t until spring, Timmi needs to raise $2,300 by December 15th.  This will cover her airfare, food, housing, transportation, and project costs.  If you are interested in helping, you can send a tax-deductible donation to:

El Gaucho
C/o T. Smith
10 Harrison Ave Ste. 311
Seattle, WA 98109

Checks can be made out to Eastside Foursquare Church.  Any amount helps Timmi reach her goal – $5 donations can add up fast!

El Gaucho is honored to have people like Timmi on our team.  Thank you, Timmi, for your example of servant leadership, and teaching others about hospitality.

One of the pillars our company was built upon is “Building a Strong Community.”  We strongly feel that each of us has a certain obligation to help make our world a better place, and each of our restaurant employees are given the opportunity to donate time, energy, and resources to various local organizations needing assistance.  Many of our employees also volunteer for other organizations to which they have a personal connection.  We love highlighting some of our incredible employees and the organizations with which they are working.

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