We’ve been proud to call Amanda Stokes, Director of Operations, a ChiliHead for 18 years. She’s an amazing operator and an advocate for Chili’s Women Taking the Lead. But, Amanda is so much more than just a ChiliHead – she’s a CrossFit junkie, loving wife, and mom to three fur-babies. We’re continuing our #ChilisWTL series by asking Amanda how she balances her life in the Florida sun with the responsibilities of overseeing nine Chili’s restaurants.
Here’s a day in the life of Amanda Stokes:
4:00 A.M. The minute my alarm starts singing Empire State of Mind, our three dogs start licking my face to make sure that I’m waking up. My rescue pups, Craig, Murph, and Gringo, are NOT fans of the snooze button and ruin any chance I have of sleeping in! Getting dressed each morning is easy because I lay my gym clothes out each night before going to bed. I make a protein shake and head out the door to my 5:00 AM CrossFit class. It’s one of the best parts of my day because it’s just for me!
6:30 A.M. Once I get home from CrossFit, I take the dogs out to the yard and spend some quiet time on the back porch. I practice meditation and mindfully reflect on the things I’m grateful for. The sun rises and shines through the trees in the most beautiful way – it’s so peaceful! I enjoy a delicious breakfast that my husband cooks for me every day (I know – I’m a lucky girl!) before taking a bath and getting ready for the day while listening to the Amy Winehouse Pandora station.
8:00 A.M. I head into my home office and look at Chili’s restaurant results from the previous day. I plan my day around my calendar and work off a three-tier to-do list that’s constantly evolving: Must Do, Should Do, and Would Like To Do. I use my morning time to make calls to my restaurants and touch base with my team. I print any reports I’ll need for my daily restaurant visits and pack my work bag. It sounds organized, and it is! I’m not a natural planner, so I work hard to be organized.
10:00 A.M. It’s time to pack my lunch box for the day! I always like to have healthy food options with me so I make good choices throughout the day. I do meal prep every Sunday, so packing it up is super easy! Once I’m done in the kitchen, I head out for the day to visit one of my restaurants.
11:00 A.M. I spend the day with one of my restaurant teams and work a shift with them. I love meeting Guests, spending time with my teams, and having the opportunity to coach Managers and Team Members to help them be the best they can be – it truly feeds my soul. It’s important for me to be all-in during my visits, so I try not to use my phone. Sometimes it can’t be avoided as there are important things that come up that I need to attend to. This job is different every day and no two days are ever alike. It keeps me on my toes!
4:00 P.M. I’m such an extrovert that by 4:00 PM, I’m talked out and need to buy a vowel! After wrapping things up at the restaurant, I use my drive time home to return any phone calls I missed during the day. Once I’m home, I head back into my office to catch up on emails that came in during the day and look ahead on my calendar to prepare for the next day.
6:30 P.M. Being a ChiliHead for over 18 years has taught me the value of work-life balance, and I’ve learned the importance of it. My husband and I really love to sit down at the table and have dinner together each evening. It keeps us connected as we are both very busy during the day. This is our time! We try not to talk about work and just focus on being together.
8:00 P.M. We have a chaise lounge on the end of our sofa that I like to plant myself in each evening. Our three pups will pile on top of my legs, and my husband and I will watch an hour or so of TV. We don’t always agree on shows, but it’s nice to unwind and chill out together.
9:30 P.M. It’s a race to see who goes to bed first! Since my husband and I are both early risers, we’re practically falling asleep by 10:00 PM. We don’t have a TV in the bedroom, so when it’s time to go to sleep, it’s time to go to sleep. And I love to sleep! It’s so important. A good night’s rest gives me the energy I need to take on tomorrow.
Questions for Amanda:
What inspires you? I volunteer and am on the Board of Directors at Safe Animal Shelter in Middleburg, Florida. I’m so inspired by everyone who volunteers and works with us!
How do you recharge? Spending time with like-minded people. I get my juice from others!
What do you do for fun? My husband and I live on a golf course, and we have lots of friends in the community! We love spending time with our neighbors and you can often find us at the community bar hanging out with friends.