As President and Founder of MFHA, an educational non-profit organization that makes the business case for developing cultural intelligence in the workplace, Gerry has been recognized for his decades of work in educating and advocating for the business benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry. An engagingly energetic Speaker who practices “straight talk”, he travels across the US and internationally, bringing authentic perspective on building Cultural Intelligence that raises the topline, improves the bottom- line and builds brands’ cultural authenticity. Gerry was honored in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2018 Power List among “the definitive list of industry leaders who are not only setting trends today, but also shaping them for tomorrow."
Sessions for Gerry A. Fernandez
Workshop: Racial & Gender Diversity at the Board Level: A 21st Century Priority
In 2014 there were six African American CEO’s of publicly held restaurant companies. Today they are zero. Companies that once had solid diversity representation at the officer level, have lost that advantage due to poor succession planning. Board rooms need more diversity and not just limited to white women. Black, Latinos, and Asians are 44% of the foodservice workforce yet only 1.7% of executives. Board diversity is even lower.
Gerry Fernandez, President of MFHA, the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance will interview Mr. John Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Denny’s and James White, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jamba Juice discuss why diversity needs to be a priority, how companies will benefit, and how to get started.
Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership: A Social Equity Approach to Wealth Creation
Moderator: Gerry Fernandez, President, Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance
Panelists: Wanda Williams, Head Global Franchising, Yum! Brands and Hugh Roth, Chief Customer Officer, PepsiCo Foodservice
Corporations, foundations, and governments are looking for ways to address inequity in Black communities, amplified by the pandemic and social unrest. In response to the need, PepsiCo announced a Racial Equality initiative that includes sponsorship of a Black franchising program in foodservice. The Pathways Initiative is focused on creating successful and sustainable Black-owned businesses through franchising. In collaboration with MFHA, 4thMVMT, a social equity organization that develops people through its proprietary training model, MFHA will recruit Black entrepreneurs and provide tailored training and mentorship. Gerry Fernandez, President of MFHA, speaks to Wanda Williams of YUM! Brands and Hugh Roth of PepsiCo about the need for and benefits of this breakthrough program.
Gerry A. Fernandez
Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance