Mary Ann Minear is unassuming — a sweetheart by nature who is pleasantly nice to everyone she meets. Those traits are exactly what make her the consummate host at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar in Great Bend. It’s a position the 32-year-old has held for more than a decade, and one that she has become so proficient at doing that for several years now, she carries the designation as “Neighborhood Expert,” assigned to training the other hosts on staff.
“We have about 10 hosts and she has trained all of them,” explained Ashley Holman, an Applebee’s manager who has worked with Minear for all of her 10 years at the restaurant. “Mary Ann knows her job 100 percent and she’s good at communicating that knowledge to others in a caring way.”
What makes Minear’s accomplishments so special is that she has been able to succeed in the workforce by overcoming her developmental disability. With the help of Employment Services Office at Rosewood Services more than a decade ago, a then 22-year-old Minear went job searching, filled out an application, interviewed and then landed her current job at Applebee’s. She’s been a mainstay in the Great Bend workforce ever since.
“Mary Ann serves as a great example of the difference people with disabilities can make for businesses, if given the chance,” said Rosewood Employment Services specialist Frankie Pelster. “I’m happy that she is being recognized for her excellent achievements and that Applebee’s is recognized for giving someone with a disability the opportunity to succeed in the workplace.”
Minear works approximately 12 hours a week at the Great Bend restaurant, usually from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, plus she picks up extra hours when available. She has advanced her skill level over the years, which culminated in Minear earning the “Employee of the Month” award last summer for her stellar service to customers and fellow employees.
“Mary Ann is one of our most reliable people at Applebee’s,” said Courtney Campbell, another Applebee’s manager who works with Minear. “She sets the example for other hosts; she’s someone you look to if you have a question; she works hard and she knows what she is doing. We love having her here.”
Besides working at Applebee’s, Minear continues to work on Wednesdays at Rosewood Furniture Gallery, or at Rosewood Ranch. She said she likes the diversity and flexibility that her Rosewood jobs allow. Her flexible work schedule also permits her to pursue her passion of participating in equine therapy each Thursday at Rosewood Horse Ranch.