Tell SHFM members a little about yourself:
Lifeworks Restaurant Group
I am a District Manager for Aramark in Columbus, Ohio. My job is to ensure that my team has the right tools and support to meet service and organizational objectives. I have a great team and we crush our goals! We do it through innovation, stellar customer service and with a tremendous amount of fun in the process! As a manager my emphasis is on people. I believe that if my people are happy, feel supported and know that they are part of a team who cares about their development, high performance in all other areas will follow.
What inspires you?
My family. My father and my mother taught me that if I am the only person who looks like me in a room, I still belong, and I should hold my head high. They studied and worked hard and achieved great success and my father was often the only or the first Black man in many of his roles and endeavors. He showed me that you don’t have to negate your identity and heritage to be successful in environments where you are a minority. He is proud of his Afro-Caribbean roots wherever he goes. I approach my life and career the same way. If I can’t be myself at work, this is not the organization for me. I also make sure that all members of my team feel comfortable being their authentic selves because only then can they give me their best selves.
How do you try to make an impact?
I aim to be a voice for the people who don’t feel comfortable speaking out or don’t have a seat at the table yet. As I deepened my involvement with the numerous ERGs at Aramark, I want to create more and more content to train the employees in the organization on diversity and inclusion best practices. Additionally, I would like to provide more support to minority leaders and employees and help them flourish in the company. I earned a Master’s in Leadership from Michigan State but wanted to grow my knowledge on the D&I front, so I recently enrolled in the Diversity and Inclusion Training Certificate program from Cornell University. Over the years I realized that my presence in certain spaces could be an inspiration to others; and so as a Black woman I made the conscious decision to wear my natural coily hair because I wanted to prove that you could look professional while staying true to you.
What ways can SHFM members support the Black community?
SHFM members can support the Black community by elevating the voices of Black people in hospitality; shopping and promoting Black-Owned businesses and educating themselves on the challenges faced by the community in this space. However, awareness should lead to action. There is an array of organizations
that support Black equity in hospitality and in the food industry that we can all get involved with. We should look for them, partner with them and relay their message whenever we can. Finally, SHFM members should thrive to add value for Black people on this platform to give them even stronger incentive to become members themselves and benefit from the network and support provided by the organization. The work of inclusion spearheaded by the Diversity Council is a great step in that direction!