It started off like a typical staff meeting.
Then, Hayden Bartlett Hall heard applause. It was faint at first, but as it grew closer, it began to sound like what you hear at Texas Roadhouse when you’re celebrating a birthday.
When she spotted her mom and grandma coming around the corner, leading a group of smiling faces that she recognized as coworkers, present and past– it all made sense.
The Chairman’s Club is a prestigious, peer-nominated program that honors 100 of Delta’s 90,000 employees each year…and this year, Hayden Bartlett Hall was one of them.
Being nominated for the Chairman’s Club is a lengthy process. Once a person is nominated, Delta will then interview their coworkers to make sure the nominee upholds personal values that represent Delta’s “Rules of the Road,” or how they expect employees to treat customers and each other.
“I was shocked when I found out,” she said. “My jaw hit the floor I was overcome with so many emotions.”
Growing up close to Hartsfield International Airport, where her mom and grandpa worked for Delta, Hayden knew she would follow their footsteps.
“I knew my path would lead there one day,” she said. “I just didn’t know when or how.”
In school, Hayden enjoyed most subjects but gravitated toward working on the Yearbook.
Because of that interest, when Hayden transferred to Emmanuel as a sophomore, she was quick to choose Digital Media Production as her major, minoring in graphic design.
At Emmanuel, she learned one major lesson from Mr. (Clint) Ross that she’s taken with her into the field.
You can only gain so much from a textbook.
“He took us to off-campus sets where we got to see what we were learning in the classroom adapted into real life. Those experiences were so valuable.”
Knowing that she wanted to one day work for Delta, Hayden applied for a job in their creative department after graduation in 2015. And the rest, they say, is history.
“I started out in Corporate Communications,” Hayden remembers. “I answered the phone when the media called and was the office coordinator for the team. From there, I went into video services and was the video coordinator for our team.”
Since then, Hayden’s role has evolved and now, serving as a Senior Manager – Video Production, she manages four direct reports and has a team of video coordinators under her responsible for internal and external content.
“We communicate with all 90,000 of Delta’s employees as well as the external audience (media and customers),” she said. “I support every department within Delta as we look to tell the stories of our customers, our employees, and the products we’re launching.”
When asked about the favorite story she’s told during her career at Delta, Hayden didn’t hesitate to respond.
“In 2020, right before COVID hit we had Employee Appreciation Day,” she said. “We decided to come up with a big activation to appreciate and thank our employees for what they do, and I was a part of the team that brainstormed the concept.”
Hayden pitched an idea that ended up taking flight.
“I thought it would be cool to take every employees name and mash it together in some sort of montage and put it on the side of an aircraft,” she said. “I didn’t know what it would say at the time, but it was a bold idea that got off the ground and running. Now there is an aircraft in the sky that says ‘Thank You’ spelled out with the names of all 90,000 employees that worked at Delta at the time. It was great hearing the stories of people who make up the airline that I feel so proud to be a part of. It was one of my favorite projects to work on.”
Hayden isn’t the only member of her family honored to be a part of the Chairman’s Club.
“My mom and I actually are the first ever mother/daughter pair who have been honored for this recognition program,” she said. “As a part of it, you get to take a trip to Toulouse, France to the airbus facility with the other honorees in your class. You get to tour the facility and the town, then bring back a brand-new A-330 Aircraft, which has the new plan smell, etc. I got to go with my mom’s class in 2019 as a producer for the project. I was honored to be part of the trip with my mom and walk alongside her on that journey. It’s a memory we’ll always cherish!”
Who has made the biggest impact on her life?
“I’m an only child so I grew up incredibly close to my parents and all four of my grandparents,” she said. “I see myself as a canvas that has been painted by so many people, but the six of them were the brightest colors on that canvas who made me who I am.”
If Hayden could give a piece of advice to a creative looking to break into the field, she’d keep it simple.
“Be you,” she said. “You bring different perspectives to the table that others might not, so bring that to the table. Don’t put on a mask and try to be something you aren’t. To me, when I interview someone, I look to see if that person is truly, authentically themselves.”
On the creative side, Hayden advises to get out and get as much real-world experience as possible.
“Build a portfolio of amazing work,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what that portfolio is full of, as long as it embodies who and what you want to represent, you’ll find the best place for your talents and skillset.”
As Hayden’s career with Delta soars to new heights, she has enjoyed getting to work with peers who bring new and different perspectives to the table.
“I wear a bracelet that says, ‘Come as you are’,” she said. “It’s a mantra to me. You bring who you are, and I am going to embrace all that you are and find out how I can best adapt myself to the people I interact with every day.”