I know the GM of the Year Hal Bell very well. He is the general manager of the greatest strip club in the world, Tootsies Cabaret in Miami Florida. Since Hal has taken over the GM position, our numbers have never been better. Our staff is cohesive, professional and our focus is on exceptional customer experience. Hal is our leader and is no pushover however, he leads with a “positivity first” mentality. Hal is a problem/solution guy. He will be the first person to tell you he is not perfect but has a passion for this building that inspires the masses, especially me. I have been at Tootsies for over two decades. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly over that time. Hal is the best GM period. His focus is on making this club better then it was yesterday. I mean, this guy is at the club pretty much every day. When he is not at the club, he is out promoting the club. If employees are sick or injured he is the first to check on them and offer any assistance possible. He pays attention to every little detail and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. It’s hard to dog it when your leader is working his butt off. I’ve seen him handle customer situations with a smile and total professionalism where, if it were me, I would be serving a sentence somewhere not nice.
Now don’t get me wrong it’s not always paradise. Hal will hold you accountable and the two of us have had moments where we have fought like family. I say that because even when our personalities collide, even when we disagree, those moments reflect the passion we both have for this building, for this company, for this industry. It always ends the way family feuds end, with communication and respect. Hal has made me mental at times and I love him for it. He changed our music format and I thought it was a mistake at first. That is, until I saw how much of a difference, in a positive way it made on our room and reflected on our numbers. I was wrong. He was right and he has single handedly reignited my passion for this business. I love when he tells me to pick it up on a Friday night or to change my music. Just because I’ve been here forever, I’m not perfect either. Sometimes I need my ass kicked. It’s made me a better DJ and a better leader of our staff. Hal has challenged me to live up to my title numerous times. Whenever we have an event, Hal gives me unbelievable support but pushes me to go further that I think is possible. He pushes my creativity and always makes time for my ideas, even the bad ones. My favorite thing about Hal are the way he conducts our manager meetings. They always start out the same way your family sits down for Thanksgiving dinner. We all laugh and enjoy each other in the most positive “family” way. Then we get the meeting started and go around the table. It’s all business but what I love the most is that every department head has a voice. We brainstorm in some cases and keep ourselves very organized and tighten up our departments by communicating every detail with each other. I have a huge appreciation for all of our departments knowing what they go through and It honestly makes me feel closer to all of our managers. This is the major impact Hal has on all of us.
The Planet Platypus Podcast and website would not have happened without Hal. Let me explain. After EXPO last year, Hal was pushing me to bring back the Planet. He expressed how it could help our club with social media and how it’s good for the industry. Anyone who knows me knows that those sentences are fuel to my ego. Hal wasn’t being my GM that night, he was being a big brother. He wanted me to succeed. He wanted me to have fun and if it helped our club, all the better. Since we got started, Hal has been a fan of our show. He listens at the gym during his workouts. He has also shown support to Bobby Mac and Josh even though they don’t work at Tootsies Cabaret. He offers suggestions for guests and the bottom line is, on a personal level, he genuinely cares about us. That, in itself, means the world to me.
EXPO is in 4 days and Hal will no longer be GM of the Year. The rules state you cannot win 2 years in a row. I don’t like that rule but I respect it.
Last year, Tootsies broke revenue records and began a journey towards a Super Bowl week in Miami in 2020.
Since Hal won his well deserved GM of the Year award, he has brought our team/family to another level. This level is new to me and I feel like I’ve seen it all. Our events are top level events. Our parties are more fun and entertaining than ever. Our level of team work is on another planet. Whoever wins the 2019 GM of the Year award has ridiculously big shoes to fill because Hal Bell has set the bar higher than tourists on the Vegas Strip.
Thank You Hal Bell. Thank You for your leadership by example. Thank You for your commitment to our Tootsies Family. Thank You for always keeping me positive. Thank you for your continued support and friendship. But most of all, Thank You for kicking my ass. The Planet is Back because of those big shoes. See you all in Vegas at EXPO. Good Luck to all of the nominees. Just remember with recognition comes more expectations and responsibility. If you need an example he lives at Tootsies Cabaret.