SODEXO: Making Diversity, Equity and Inclusion a Priority

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

What responsibilities do corporations have in the communities where they work? Host Billy Shore welcomes two guests from Sodexo, Inc.: Chief Diversity and Sustainability Officer for the Americas Gerri Mason Hall, and Director of Culinary Delivery Desmond Fannin to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion within their company and society at large as well as the impact COVID-19 has had on their work. Sodexo is a No Kid Hungry partner and Add Passion and Stir sponsor. “What organizations have to do is recognize talent, recognize those underrepresented, and create opportunities… Part of my job is to recognize that talent, often overlooked because of unconscious biases,” explains Mason Hall. “You know [the discrimination] is there, and you… have a responsibility to push through because other people will need to navigate those waters as well,” observes Fannin.

When schools were forced to close earlier this year, Sodexo ramped up their anti-hunger efforts. “In this pandemic when schools shut down, we continued to serve because we know how critical it is for children to have access to food. We had to think differently and still support the community,” says Mason Hall. “We’ll get through this pandemic, but what’s the next thing? We’re trying to partner with school districts on is how can we connect the dots to a school as a hub,” she adds.

Join us for this insightful conversation about social responsibility with two innovative leaders from a leading anti-hunger champion.

Resources and Mentions:

Gerri Mason Hall

Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Sodexo and Chair of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation. In her previous role of Corporate Vice President for Learning and Performance, she led the transformation of Sodexo’s Learning & Performance Office, ensuring the alignment of Sodexo’s learning strategy and resources with the company’s strategic business plans. Prior to this, Ms. Mason Hall served as VP of Human Resources for the Corporate Services and Government Services businesses, providing Human Resources leadership and support for a workforce of over 15,000. Ms. Mason Hall joined Sodexo to lead Diversity & Inclusion in the Corporate and Government Services business segments. Prior to Sodexo, Ms. Mason Hall designed and implemented Amtrak’s diversity and inclusion programs as its Vice President of Business Diversity and Strategic Initiatives. Ms. Mason Hall has held a number of appointments in both the federal and District of Columbia governments, including the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where she honed her interest in Inclusion. Ms. Mason Hall is a member of Sodexo Women’s International Forum for Talent (SWIfT), the Executive Leadership Council, and the Board of Directors for Sodexo Foundation. Sodexo Foundation is an independent charitable organization founded in 1999 to ensure that every child in the United States grows up with dependable access to enough nutritious food to enable them to lead a healthy, productive life. To date, the Sodexo Foundation has contributed more than $25 million in grants to end childhood hunger.
Desmond Fannin

Desmond Fannin

Director, Culinary Delivery for Culinary Solutions
Desmond Fannin is Sodexo’s Director, Culinary Delivery for Culinary Solutions, North America. He recently served as District Executive Chef of Atlanta Public Schools; after a rewarding stint at the Federal Reserve Bank, where he served as Executive Chef of all operations. He began his professional culinary career at the Weather Channel Headquarters in Marietta, Georgia. With Sodexo, he simultaneously served as Executive Chef of both United Way’s Loudermilk Conference Center and Magnolia Bistro in Atlanta. He was also the Executive Chef of Hewlett-Packard Business Center Perimeter and trained briefly at the World Trade Center Atlanta. He earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta and has been recognized by the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Culinarian.

Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation

Created in 1999 with the mission to ensure that every child in the United States grows up with dependable access to enough nutritious food to enable them to lead a healthy, productive life. Sodexo, Inc. funds all administrative costs for Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation to ensure that all money raised helps those in need. Since its inception, the Foundation has granted more than $29 million to alleviate child hunger. Stop Hunger mobilizes volunteers, including Sodexo employees, clients, customers and youth to contribute to hunger-free communities around the world. Sodexo employees support Stop Hunger year-round by donating their time, resources and expertise, holding fundraisers and encouraging others to get involved. Globally, Stop Hunger is a leading force in the fight against hunger that is present in 44 countries with the goal of being in all 80 countries where Sodexo does business.

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