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Summer job turns into career for Tampa restaurant executive

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Kelia Bazile is a perfect example of sticking to it. In 1984 she took a summer job with Taco Bell. It was only supposed to last a couple of months.

"Taco Bell was only supposed to be a summer job for me and it turned out to be so much more," Bazile said.
 
Through marriage, three children and going to school for Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's degrees, she stayed with Taco Bell.  She didn't make a run for the border for nearly 30 years.

"It turned out to be a career, I had no idea."
 
Although she knows, the one constant in life is change, in a very real sense not changing something changed the course of her life.

 "If you laid out your life, many of us would know that it turned out to be a little bit different than what we laid it out to be, " Bazile said. 

At Taco Bell, she was  promoted and promoted and promoted again until she reached a point where she became a region leader, the first African-American ever to hold that high a position for Yum Brands, the company which owns Taco Bell.

"A region leader is the same as regional vice president. I was accountable for over 500 restaurants."

Bazile took all she learned and put it to paper in a book titled 'My Secrets to Success' to help others reach their goals, no matter what difficulties they face.

"It was something that I knew that I had worked hard for and I had positioned myself to get there," Bazile said.

In the book, she outlines how difficult it was to manage a marriage, a career and a family and not make a lot of money.

"I know what it's like to stand in a long line for government assistance," she said.

"That's part of my motivation. I know what it's like to juggle a family, a career, going to school."

Bazile is now a top level manager for Bloomin Brands, the company that owns Carrabas and other restaurants. That career change brought her husband Jerriel Bazile here to Tampa less than a year ago.
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