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Why is it so hard to find staff?

I hired my first-ever staff four years ago. Two girls contacted me after I posted flyers around town and online. They were younger than me by two years or so. We gave them grey hoodies with our old DJ Gator Corp logo, and I told them to copy each other, making simple dance moves that everyone could follow.

Pictured are the 2nd and 3d dancers at Gator Entertainment. From left to right: Sophia, Noah, Sloan

Today, I know I was hardly the first to have this idea, and almost all DJ companies have dancers who engage with the crowd and do dances. But I was still at the age where my exposure to real parties was much less than today. Slowly, the need for dancers increased. A few months later, we had the first-ever Gator Crew. Looking back today, I relish the

thought of a simpler time back then it

was just birthday parties on late summer nights, and though I did not know it yet, it was this time when I found my passion for Emceeing over DJing. This change, in my view, made me make the most significant move ever as a business owner. Upon discovering my love for emceeing, I would start a relationship that would propel Gator Entertainment to a height I never could have imagined at 12. Around the same time I started in the north shore, R&B City DJ (now Non-Stop Entertainers) was already doing the larger small shows around the north shore. I forget who reached out to whom, but I remember our first interaction was over Instagram DMs. They told me they had a show that weekend and asked if I wanted to come and pick up any pointers. I arrived at the show and was greeted by two of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Ryan Kleczynski and Brandon Belian. I will spare you the show's details, but it began with me sitting on the sidewalk and ended with Brandon and myself rocking the dance floor and Ryan DJing in the back. It is still one of my fondest shows to look back on and smile. My relationship with R&B City DJ became so close that, at one point, I would have described us as one company. Im sure they looked at it a different way, however.

Taken in 2023 before there last graduation party for Sunset Ridge High school. Left to Right: Noah, Brandon, Ryan

For them, it was a mentorship. To me, it was a whole new world. I became hooked after I met Ryan and Brandon and saw what they built! We would work together for the next two years to make what I would refer to today as the original Gator Crew. We began to face what we had avoided for so long two years after we met. The fact that they were about to leave for college. This started our search for more staff who could be my help while they went away. In the fall of 2023, Ryan left Chicago for LA, where he was accepted into UCLA. Brandon went the other direction and moved to Miami, having been admitted to the University of Miami. And I was left once again alone for the first time in two years, and I had total freedom again. I decided to take a chance and see how much further I could go than what my predecessors, Ryan and Brandon, built as teenagers. The team only grew from there. At our peak, we had over 20 dancers, 2 DJs, 3 Emcees, and 4 Technicians. In the spring of 2024, we promoted a former emcee, Gabe Cadet, to Vice President of Gator Entertainment. Gabe and I are different in many ways. The most obvious is our communication. I was always thinking up new ideas.

This Image shows Noah and Gabe (VP) about to preform a 40th birthday in Glencoe IL. (2024)

and worked very fast and hard for short periods. Gabe took a different approach. He broke one of the fundamental business rules, "Don't hire your friends." Gabe, when he was assigned to find us, some dancers asked four girls he was friends with if they would do it. Just like that, our dancing team dynamic switched. Where I am someone who could never work with friends, Gabe managed to balance out the two perfectly. Today I look back at the hiring of Gabe and think that without that hire Gator Entertainment would not be open today. And I mean that with all of my soul. I think being a teenager who is asking (telling) other teenagers what to do is just a ticking time bomb, and it is only a matter of time before there is a falling out or conflict. How do you spend all of Saturday night on the dance floor pouring all your energy into a show and then, on Monday, walk past them in the halls and have them ignore you? At first, I would be angry, but after some time, I began to accept it and even understand why they do it, Im a character, and I think people today are afraid to be seen with a character like me. I hope that I can build the team I've always wanted by the time I leave here, performing on stage in Chicago. Don't get me wrong, and I don't say this enough, but I would still be where I was two years ago without everyone I have ever hired. From my first dancers to meeting Ryan and Brandon until I hired Gabe, I will take an education with me for the rest of my life. And for that, I am grateful.

2020 The first ever Gator show with Dancers.
The Original R&B City + Gator Entertainment Crew. In the middle is Ari our team mentor (2023)


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