Ronni Belfort first heard of WeWork in 2015, after her girlfriend at the time had gotten a job with the company. Belfort says that when she was helping her fill out some paperwork, she couldn’t help but think, “Wow, this is a kick-ass job!”
Belfort decided to apply for a position herself. Later that year she was hired at New York’s WeWork 175 Varick St as a community services associate—making her responsible for the cleanliness of the building, maintaining the private offices and the common areas.
From the beginning, Belfort says it was clear to her that WeWork “takes down all the barriers” that often keep a company’s cleaning staff from feeling like part of the team.
“We are totally a part of the company,” she says. “That sense of togetherness is definitely new to a lot of people who have done cleaning jobs for the last 25 years. That is something they’ve never experienced.”
Belfort knew when she started that WeWork urges people to “make a life, not just a living.” She took this to heart, deciding that she wanted to take on a greater leadership role in the company.
“I wanted to be the one that supported our team in terms of training, logistics, and just creating a more positive employee experience for everyone,” she says.
Last year she was promoted to community services lead, training new members of the 400-person cleaning staff in the tristate area. Every other Monday begins with onboarding for two or three dozen new employees, followed by several days of hands-on training.
“We spend the rest of the week working with them side-by-side so that they can practice,” says Belfort. “Then they are off to their home locations fully prepared and well-equipped.”
On alternate weeks, she keeps up to date with new hires, joining them on their shifts no matter what time of day. “It’s a little bit of day, it’s a little bit of night, a little bit of back and forth, but it’s super fun,” she says.
Ashley Miller, who hired Belfort for her new position, says she quickly became an indispensable part of the team.
“Ronni truly embodies WeWork and our core values,” says Miller. “Our team supported her vision for the role, and Ronni did the work carving out the first community services trainer role.”
Katherine Teodosic, director of community services, says Belfort had a clear vision for what the team could accomplish.
“Ronni has single-handedly grown the training sector of the community services department, developing a robust program and regimen unlike any other throughout WeWork,” she says. “Her work ethic, enthusiasm, and passion are unsurpassed, and her knowledge within the department is incredible.”
In January, WeWork co-founders Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann presented Belfort with a Founders Award, given each year to employees who’ve “made a significant impact on our mission and company goals.” At first, she felt slightly intimidated to be in the spotlight. “It’s always about everyone else, and that’s my job and I love it,” she says. “So I was a little nervous.”
But her nerves were quickly eased when she walked on stage at WeWork’s Global Summit, a gathering of thousands of the company’s employees that took place in Los Angeles.
“Being among this group of amazing people, I felt really special and honored to represent a group of people that I want to be seen more,” she says. “I’m looking forward to that big bright future that we keep talking about. I want us to all be a part of it no matter what our position is as long as we’re all working toward the same thing.”