Theater, restaurant work help shape executives skills at Libertyville's MBX
Before Jill Bellak became president of Libertyville-based MBX Systems, she worked her way up the ranks of the company, which is common for executives.
But before that, she learned the basics of hard work, discipline and team work outside the corporate world -- at a restaurant and in community theater.
While growing up in Des Plaines, she acted in community plays, appearing in "Peter Pan" and other shows, she said.
"It teaches you how to work with other people and about teamwork," Bellak said.
Bellak, 52, joined MBX as vice president of sales and marketing in 1999 and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2006. She became president in 2012. MBX, which designs and produces custom computer servers for software companies, has about 140 employees. The company is expected to hire more workers over the next year or so as business increases, she said.
As a manager, she said she has been able to coach other people using some of her experiences as a youngster in theater.
"I keep things separate from work. At home, things ebb and flow and you deal with things in our lives," she said. "Theater helps you to separate that in life."
She also learned the value of business and teamwork while working for a bar and restaurant owned by her parents in Chicago. She did a little of everything, from the kitchen to bartending, she said.
"I loved it," she said. "We were busy all the time."
She worked her way through high school and it taught her the value of hard work, how to price your product and how to treat other employees, she said.
And all while dealing with the growth of the company, Bellak remembers what she has learned in her earlier years at the restaurant and in community theater.
"These are all qualities that are critical to our approach now and how we serve our customers," she said.
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