Walking into Britt Kincheloe's office, you'll most likely see a fresh bouquet of flowers on her desk: an assortment crafted by a coworker, season-ticket holder or former employee. Her office door is rarely closed, and when she isn't rushing from meeting to meeting, her guest chair is always occupied. Trinkets line the office, ranging from memorabilia dating back to Bridgestone Arena's opening to art hand-crafted by her brother.
Kincheloe's office is a visual definition of the impact she has made during her 20 years in Smashville. As Vice President of Service and Retention for Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Predators, Kincheloe talks about her humble beginnings inside the building. Working for a temp agency - the perfect job for Kincheloe at the time to sample what she liked - she was placed at 501 Broadway to answer phones a few weeks before the building even officially opened its doors.
"I started on Dec. 6, 1996, and the first event was the weekend of Dec. 17-18," Kincheloe said. "I was hired on full time after that."
She has been here ever since.
Working her way through the organization, Kincheloe held a job in the box office learning about daily sales reports, then jumped to the marketing department and onto group sales, all before the Nashville Predators arrived two years later.
"I get bored easily, so it was fun doing something different every day and I liked seeing how all of the departments fit together," Kincheloe said. "All of those jobs served as building blocks to where I am now."
In 1998 she moved into suite service and has remained in the Service Department since the transition. Coming from an entire family of healthcare workers, Kincheloe was raised with the core values to serve and take care of everyone. Although healthcare wasn't her desired path, those same values have shaped the Preds Service Department since her arrival.
"The work ethic my parents instilled in us is very important, in treating everyone the same," Kincheloe said. "Taking care of clients is the most important. The service team we have now is probably the strongest we have ever had. They care and put the time into it."
Kincheloe grew up with a tight-knit family and credits her mother and grandmother for helping shape her into the woman she is today. Her grandmother was very involved in politics and served as a Presidential Appointee to former President Clinton. Kincheloe recounts the many times they would bake cookies for the Secret Service and how it was a blessing her graduation was the weekend before a convention in Washington D.C. - the latter would take top priority for her grandmother, who always went above and beyond.
"Everything my mother and grandmother did was never just within the realm of what was expected," Kincheloe said. "It was always making sure that people were taken care of and I think that's translated to the success and satisfaction of my job currently."
The women who helped shape her made it a point to give back to their community and voice their input, traits that have in turn shaped Britt's department.
"I wholeheartedly believe if you go out to get to know your clients, they'll be more willing to keep on with you," Kincheloe said. "When our staff gets invited to surprise birthday parties and a baby's first birthday, it's not work. It's a relationship."
Kincheloe is a vital reason why the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena have a thriving Service Department. Under the direction of Nashville Predators current President and CEO Sean Henry and former CEO Jeff Cogen, the Premium, Corporate Partnership and Ticket Sales Departments merged to become one cohesive unit in 2010.
Kincheloe credits, in part, her 20-year success within the organization to the Predators Executive Team, who recognize longevity and loyalty and value her experience within these walls.
"Being able to balance the different aspects of day-to-day operations and put it all together while remembering the history of what happened 10 years ago, including how it can help us now, is important," Kincheloe said. "They believe in me, I believe in the team and this building. I like being part of people's memories."
Whether it's watching a family take their child to see Taylor Swift for the first time, setting up a meet and greet with someone's favorite artist or helping Gnash visit a hospital, Kincheloe has helped facilitate lasting memories both inside and outside of Bridgestone Arena.
"Every day is different and exciting. I can walk out to the bowl for Foo Fighters or James Taylor and Carole King and feel the energy of the show. To know you're a part of that, it's something friends that went into banking and work a normal 9-to-5 job can't imagine."
Fans, employees and coworkers can all attest to Kincheloe's value within the organization as well as her guidance and comfort toward everyone she sees.
As we close Women's History Month, Kincheloe leaves me with a sound piece of advice, "Don't be discouraged and try to find your voice. Treat people equally and with respect, and be true to yourself."
That's something everyone Kincheloe comes across can attest to experiencing first-hand from the Day One employee.