McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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March 17, 2014

McDonald’s manager earns national recognition

McALESTER — A McAlester woman is set be named among the top McDonald’s managers in the nation next week.

Diana Sue Jernigan said she is set to fly to Chicago today to attend an awards gala Tuesday to receive the Ray Kroc Award, along with 142 managers from across the nation who were also chosen.

She will receive a ring, a cash prize, a trophy and a pen, along with the trip to Chicago.

“I’m very excited and honored,” Jernigan said.

This is Jernigan’s second Ray Kroc award. She said she received her first in 1999.

Along the way, she said she’s also received other awards, including 19 Outstanding Manager Awards and a People First Award.

She said her store has received honors too, including the Large Business of the Year from the McAlester Chamber of Commerce and “Best Fast Food” from the News-Capital.

She said she started working at McDonald’s in 1976 while here husband was in the Marine Corps in California.

“My first job was making shakes; you know the kind you have to spindle,” Jernigan said.

Then in 1979, when she and her family moved to her hometown of McAlester, she went to work as a swing manager for McDonald’s. She said she was quickly promoted to a salaried position and then to general manager the following year.

“I work for McDonald’s because I enjoy my job,” Jernigan said Friday.

She said while working for McDonald’s, she and her husband raised three children.

“I know how difficult it can be to manage work and family,” she said.

And although it was challenging at times, she said she really enjoys her job.

“I love the fast pace and I love the people I get to work with, both the customers and the crew,” Jernigan said.

She said besides working sometimes up to 40 hours a week she’s also involved in the community, volunteering for local schools and fundraising events.

She said she has attended several McDonald’s World Wide Conventions where she got work in the kitchen and she’s participated in several McDonald’s management teams at the corporate level.

She said store owners DeWayne and Sherry Sampson have been very supportive, which she said has helped her become so successful in her position.

“I really appreciate the Sampsons; they both have given me lots of encouragement,” Jernigan said.

She said over the 35 years she’s been with the McAlester McDonald’s, she’s had the opportunity to work with hundreds of people.

“It’s been a very rewarding job,” Jernigan said.

“I’ve been able to watch 16-year-olds start their first job, go to college and start other careers and then come back and tell me how much they appreciated the things they learned while working here.”

She said she’s been able to help single mothers by working around their schedules so they can be with their children.

“I’ve also trained numerous crew members who are now store managers or in other careers with McDonald’s,” she said.

She said she gives the credit for her award to her crew members.

“Awards are won by the effort and hard work of my entire staff,” Jernigan said.

“I feel very blessed and appreciate the employees who work for me. Together, everyone achieves more.”

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.


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