Paula Mirabella

Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU) recently caught up with Paula Mirabella, who was last featured in a 2016 article for her successful job placement as a Box Office Agent at the Jupiter, Florida location of Cinepolis. She was supported in the role by Career Resource Specialist Jenni Paine. Eight years later, Paula continues to be fulfilled by her position at the upscale movie theater and looks forward to each shift. She is an outstanding example of WOU’s dedication to meaningful employment for all!

Shortly after starting at the theater, Paula was recognized by Cinepolis management as a dependable member of the team who delighted clientele with her exceptional customer service skills. To accommodate Paula’s needs and ensure her comfort as an individual with muscular dystrophy, the theater installed adaptive equipment in the restroom. Paula was able to increase her hours to full time and was promoted to Supervisor and Trainer. Then COVID-19 hit, and the theater was closed for nearly a year. “It was horrible during the pandemic,” she recalls. “At first, nobody could go out, but I especially couldn’t go anywhere. The first place I was able to go was back to work, and it was the happiest day of my life. I couldn’t wait!” Paula laughs.

Like all theaters, Cinepolis was slow to resume pre-pandemic levels of business. Paula reverted to part-time hours and worked alone at first. Even so, she was excited to see some familiar faces. “There wasn’t a lot of volume, but those that did come in were all these customers that I know, and it was nice to see them again. That’s one of the things that I really love about the job, being able to spend time with people and see them over the years.” The box office staff expanded again, and Paula happily resumed training new members and working alongside a crew. One of her favorite things is observing younger employees grow from high school students at their first job to college students and beyond. “I honestly really love working with the kids. It keeps me young.”

“There have been a lot of management changes over the years, but every time we get new management, they’re always great,” says Paula. “Our new General Manager Karalynn really pulled us up out of the pandemic. She set out to make a really great team, and I think that she has achieved that.” Paula also speaks highly of Assistant General Manager Jada, Assistant Manager Chelsea, and Kitchen Manager Alison. “This place is run by women, and young women at that. They’re doing a phenomenal job.”

Paula appreciates being part of a fun community resource. “For years there was no theater in Jupiter, and we really needed a movie theater. It’s affordable entertainment for the family.” Cinepolis offers its patrons a luxury experience, with a full restaurant and bar featuring elevated beverages and cuisine. Paula says, “We hold ourselves to a higher standard. When you come in, it’s like you’re entering a fancy hotel. We really try to cater to our clientele by making it better than your typical movie theater experience.” General Manager Karalynn values Paula as a reliable team member who embodies that higher standard. “She is an all-star. She doesn’t just limit herself to the box office; she also floats around the front lobby to make sure that guests feel welcome,” shares Karalynn. “She does as much as she can while being limited in her mobility. If someone comes in at the door, she’ll go and greet them by the door, and if they need to buy tickets, she’ll go behind the counter and assist them, which helps out the team tremendously.”

“When I go to work, I look forward to it!” Paula says. “It’s a great job. They are totally accommodating to my needs. Over the years, things have changed with my disability, and I have never had a problem adjusting my hours… I really feel that because of this job, I have been able to maintain my health. Getting up, getting dressed, going to work – for me, it’s exercise. For someone with my disability, doing stuff like this is actually a physical workout. It keeps me in shape.” Another perk of working at Cinepolis is the opportunity to see movies for free. “I have definitely seen a lot more movies than I would have if I didn’t have this job!” she says.

Paula is fully independent, but she keeps in touch with her former Career Resource Specialist. “Jenni is amazing. Especially when the pandemic happened, I was in touch with her a lot back then as I was unsure if I was going to have to find somewhere else to work. She really encouraged me along the way to just be patient, see how it goes, and here I am, years later… Career Resource Specialists like Jenni are really the unsung heroes at WOU, and I want them to be recognized for everything they do for people like me.” In addition, Paula proudly serves a member of the WOU/Independence Works board. “I enjoy it because WOU changed my life,” she states. “They found me a job at a time that I really needed to find something that would be a perfect fit for my disability. This job gives me purpose and gets me out in to the community, and I feel good supporting a company that helps people find that in their lives, like they did for me.”

We invite you to revisit Paula’s earlier Success Story here: