Standing: Gerald A Fernandez, President, MFHA, Dr. Deanne Williams-Bryant, Associate Professor/Director, Hospitality Management Program, Virginia State University, Fred Thompson, Chief Administrative Officer, Thompson Hospitality, Vicki L. Bunn, CDF, President and Founder, Leap Communications, Inc., Celia Whitney, Senior Recruiter, Talent Acquisition, Sodexo
Seated: Michelle Sarr, General Manager, Hilton Garden Inn Southpark Mall, Kristen Harris, Franchise Owner and Operator, McDonald’s Corporation, Ndija Kakumba, Account Specialist in Diversity, Education, Religious, Fraternal, and Global Sales, Choice Hotels International
The Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance recently presented its Showcase of the Stars™ event at Virginia State University. Showcase of the Stars™ is an interactive career exploration event that promotes career and business opportunities that exist in the restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry. The program content is designed to educate, motivate, and inspire young people to become future leaders. Panelists engaged the students by discussing their employment needs and by answering questions about internships and scholarships.
Gerry Fernandez, president of MFHA says, “Showcase of the Stars provides an opportunity for students
to connect with industry professionals on a deeper level. By allowing students to ask their own unique questions and receive unscripted, straight-talk answers, they are able to see that these professionals are real people, with real success stories. When a student hears that the vice president of a multi-million dollar company started off in the dish room, they’re amazed. If just one student leaves that auditorium inspired to be a leader with confidence that they can do something they never imagined, then we have done our job.”
Participating industry leaders included: Fred Thompson, chief administrative officer, Thompson Hospitality; Ndija Kakumba, account specialist in Diversity, Education, Religious, Fraternal, and Global Sales, Choice Hotels International; Celia Whitney, senior recruiter, Talent Acquisition, Sodexo; Vicki L. Bunn, president and founder, Leap Communications Inc.; Kristen Harris, franchise owner and operator, McDonald’s Corporation; and Michelle Sarr, general manager, Hilton Garden Inn Hotel Southpark Mall.