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Sodexo Employees Celebrate the Abilities of Others for #NDEAM – Part 2

By Autumn McReynolds, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Did you know that 90% of workers with disabilities have above average job performance? Contrary to common misconceptions that having a disability leads to lower quality work, a study by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that workers with disabilities consistently rated average or above in several aspects, including performance, quality and quantity.

As a member of the Sodexo Organization for disAbilities Resources (SOAR), it is one of my goals to help raise awareness to combat myths like this, while also providing resources for those within the organization and sharing our stories externally.

To continue our celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), here is the second post in our 4-part series, highlighting the important work Sodexo SOAR members and employees are doing to make a difference in their communities. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here!

New England Mary Lyon School Event

Sodexo SOAR members in New England volunteer at Mary Lyon School event
In early 2015, the New England SOAR Team assisted the Mary Lyon School in Boston in raising over $35,000 to go toward programming and support for the students. This school is Boston's only fully inclusive K-12 option for students with significant social, emotional and behavioral disabilities.

The Sodexo team helped plan the menu and volunteered their time and expertise to execute a dinner for over 250 guests. Sodexo Regional Vice President Mark Fagan received a special award from the Principal Deborah Rooney, who expressed her gratitude for the Sodexo team’s efforts.

SOAR members will continue to be involved with and provide support to the Mary Lyon School through additional activities throughout the year.

This is just one example of how Sodexo employees are supporting people with disabilities, and we will continue to publish more throughout the month. Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series next week, and follow our dedicated Pinterest board for additional content, facts and much more.

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Sodexo Celebrates Healthcare Food Service Workers Week

By Kristen Jacobs, Employment Branding Sourcing Manager

The health and healing of patients is the number one priority for Sodexo’s Food Service and Nutrition employees in healthcare facilities across the US.  Although much of their work happens behind the scenes, it’s their interaction with patients and healthcare staff that truly makes an impact.

This week, we are celebrating Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week as a thank you to our team of dedicated professionals for their passion and commitment to providing the best healing environment for patients.

There are times when a healing environment means providing special experiences for patients and their families. Spending birthdays, anniversaries or holidays in the hospital is never ideal, but a caring staff can make the experience memorable.

In a recent conversation with Jamie Rosales, Retail Food Service Manager at Nebraska Medical Center, he shared a story of granting the last wish of a terminal patient. 

“There was a very sick cancer patient in our unit who was having a wedding anniversary with her husband. They wanted to have a last meal together, which was a huge opportunity for our team. 

We arranged a special dining room with linen, flowers and candles and they came down to celebrate their anniversary together. Sadly, the patient passed away the very next day.  As I reflect back on her being able to have that last dinner, which was her favorite meal of steak and potatoes, it’s very humbling that I was able to do that for her."  

Thank you Jamie, and all of our Food Service managers, for truly making an impact in the quality of life of patients!

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Registered Dietitians Find Remarkable Careers as Patient Services Managers at Sodexo!

By Guest Blogger Mindi Gale, Senior Clinical Recruiter, Hospitals and Senior Living- Northeast Region

This is the 20th post in our Recruiter Series. This year we are focusing on providing you with the answers to the most common questions our Recruiters receive from candidates.  

As a Clinical Recruiter with Sodexo, I’m always excited to see new career paths evolve for Registered Dietitians! When I was a practicing almost 25 years ago, the job of a clinician was strictly to provide nutritional care to patients. The diet office was far removed from the food service department, literally and figuratively. 

Over time, that has changed and hospitals have seen the benefits of having crossover between the clinical team and the food service team. This will be a hot topic for me when I discuss growth opportunities with Sodexo at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) this weekend.

Let me tell you why!

Patient Services Managers are leaders.  

The goal of the Patient Services Manager goes beyond simply feeding patients-- they play a role in the healing process.  These managers are an integral part of food quality, customer service and the safety and sanitation of the kitchen.

The work that you’d be doing in this Food Service position includes:
  • evaluating and developing best-in-class nutrition programs  
  • working closely with the culinary team and clinical staff to develop new menus that improve healing while adhering to dietary restrictions
  • managing people and providing ongoing training to meal service attendants to improve patient satisfaction

Your RD credentials are highly valued in this position.

I spoke with Shana Sporman, MS, RD, a Food Service General Manager at Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA to learn why so many hospitals prefer hiring Registered Dietitians.

Shana's team began hiring RDs for Patient Services Manager positions six years ago, leading the trend to hire nutrition experts. 

“RDs in this role have the clinical knowledge and resources to cater a food menu to a patient with unique food allergies or diseases like ALS or Cystic Fibrosis”

In fact, Shana’s food service team held a cooking demo for patients with ALS and their families. She talked about the appropriate consistencies of food and how to puree them.

This exact clinical background also makes Patient Services Managers better equipped to answer questions regarding therapeutic diets while visiting patients on meal rounds.

“One of the things I love most about the role is how we can cater to the interests of the dietitian. One of our RDs loves giving back to the community. She has provided interactive nutrition demos at local after school programs and local community centers and taught how and why food is medicine. It’s pretty remarkable”

If you are a Registered Dietitian who is looking to take on a leadership role with a passion to improve patient care, then consider these Sodexo Patient Services Manager positions in Food Service!   

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The Floor Is Yours: Driving the Conversation with Killer Interview Questions

by Kristen Jacobs, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

I was recently invited for coffee with a friend who is considering a career change. Knowing that I’m on the Talent Acquisition team here at Sodexo, she wanted to pick my brain on what’s new in the world of hiring. Not one to turn down coffee, I was happy to oblige.

After being at her current company for almost seven years, my friend was stressed about the process of looking for a new job. I know how daunting it can be. Navigating the endless job sites, deciphering job descriptions and the sometimes tedious application process is enough to drive you crazy. Or worse, to stay in a job you’ve outgrown.

After showing her available Sodexo careers and helping her create a job agent, I armed her with insider tips on resumes and the best job sites. She was ready to roll, until I said, “With your experience, you’ll get plenty of interviews!” Her look of dread returned, along with a groan, “Ugh, I forgot about the interview.” 

The interview process is something that’s never bothered me, but I realize its nerve wracking for many people. My advice to her – and to you – is to be prepared with plenty of questions. In fact, the more questions you have for the interviewer, the more like a conversation it is. It will put you both at ease and allow you to learn more about your potential fit with the company. 

Start with some culture questions
  • What is the best part of working here?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What was the company’s biggest success in the past year?
  • What’s your favorite office tradition or event?
Dive deeper into the role
  • What are some of the challenges I would deal with in this role?
  • What types of projects would I be working on?
  • What type of person has been most successful in this role?
  • Tell me about the team I’d be working with?
  • How does the company encourage growth and development?
  • What’s a common career path in this role?
  • What metrics or goals will I be evaluated on?
Seal the deal
  • Do you have questions or concerns about my experience that I haven’t answered?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?
You don’t have to wait until the floor is yours at the end of the interview to ask questions. You can weave them in throughout the conversation to learn more about what’s important to you. Remember, the interview is also your chance to decide whether a company is a fit for your future. Go ahead, drive the conversation!

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Sodexo Employees Celebrate the Abilities of Others for #NDEAM – Part 1

By Autumn McReynolds, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Do you know what the “world’s largest minority group” is? Often unseen, disabilities are more common than most people know. For me, however, this has always been top of mind, having grown up with a grandmother who was unable to walk, a close family friend with a learning disability and a former coworker with an intellectual disability. Understanding how to best communicate with and be respectful of them was critical to building positive, lasting relationships.

Because of this, I became a member of the Sodexo Organization for disAbilities Resources (SOAR) national committee earlier this year to help myself and my colleagues become more aware of the types of disabilities that exist and how to focus on the abilities of others and what they can do in the workplace. One way we’re working toward this is by launching a one-stop shop for disability training, resources, accommodation request information and much more that Sodexo employees can access at any time.

The launch of our one-stop shop coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October and will include stories of how my fellow SOAR members and other Sodexo management employees are getting involved in their communities and making strides to become allies for people with disabilities. To kick off NDEAM, here is the first post in our 4-part series, highlighting the important work they’re doing:

The VOICE Training

The VOICE is SOAR's signature learning lab used to train employees on how to become an ally for people with disabilities
The VOICE, SOAR’s signature learning lab, provides training on how to become an ally for people with disabilities by raising awareness of what a disability might be, including seen and unseen cognitive disabilities, providing ideas on low or no cost accommodations and sharing best practices on how to assist people with disabilities. To date, over 1,000 employees have participated!

While employees have the option of participating via webinar, one of the benefits of classroom training is that it gives people the opportunity to learn with their hearts and to see the visual reactions of other participants.

“We’ve had some real ‘aha’ moments in our training when we were surprised to learn about team members with hidden disabilities,” Bill Anstee, Vice President of Human Resources for Healthcare, said. “That promotes understanding on why they might respond differently or not at all. This training has changed the way we communicate with each other; it’s a great team-building tool.”

This is just one example of how Sodexo employees are supporting people with disabilities, and we will continue to publish more throughout the month. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series next week, and follow our dedicated Pinterest board for additional content, facts and much more.

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Facilities Management Careers Aren’t Always Just for Engineers

This article first appeared in the September issue of C@reer Connections, Sodexo's monthly e-newsletter. Sign up today!

By Trish Freshwater, Senior Communications Manager

Sodexo has been an active provider of Facilities Management (FM) for several decades, leveraging on services traditionally delivered to clients – like foodservice and nutrition. Having everyday contact with these clients gave our teams unique insights into the issues and challenges they faced. Building on a heritage of delivering technical maintenance services, Sodexo today has grown into a supplier of choice for a wide palette of sophisticated Asset Management and Engineering services.

Deborah Roberts
Senior Vice President-Facilities
Sodexo Health Care
But, you don’t always have to be an engineer to enjoy this type of work or be a valuable player on Sodexo’s Facilities Management team. Deborah Roberts, Senior Vice President, Facilities, for Sodexo Health Care has a graduate degree in business but spent much of her career learning the FM business before joining Sodexo.

“I started in the health care industry and gained experience in serving hospitals as a pharmaceutical and medical/surgical distributor,” explained Roberts. “Then, while working for a company delivering building products and services, I enjoyed an extensive training program where new employees spend months in HVAC equipment training, energy retrofit programs and energy savings programs, and so much more. We spent our time working with hospital CEOs, COOs, CFOs and directors of facilities to ensure the right fit for their building and equipment optimization needs.”

Then, Roberts was recruited by a global diversified technology and industrial leader, where she gained both national and international experience managing operations and facilities amid great cultural diversity.

From Texas and Milwaukee to Singapore, working in 13 Asian countries including Shanghai, China, Roberts led facility management and original equipment product businesses. In Asia, she was responsible for more than 3,000 employees and her team in Asia implemented an innovative and highly successful customer engagement program which led to retention, strong employee engagement and growth.

“Over time, I learned that if you are able to bring services in facilities which enhance the capability of your customer, you will grow your partnership, delivering expertise and growth through the services offered,” she said.

Growing an FM Career

“Looking back, I always loved trying new areas of business,” said Roberts. “In business, much of my success and career advancement hinged on my willingness to try new approaches and develop strategies – even leading teams in areas new to my area of expertise. Meeting and getting to know colleagues, such as other women moving into nontraditional careers, I soon learned that it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. You make your own choices about how your career progresses.”

And, who are the best candidates for facilities management careers?

“Today, a four-year degree is necessary to move into a facility management role and to form partnerships with business leaders. You need to communicate effectively in both the spoken and written word, and to be an effective presenter,” explained Roberts. “You can come from virtually any background, although we like to see some technical education or on the job experience. Anyone with the inclination and eagerness to learn can move into this area. There are classes on this business and even degrees in facility management. There are many avenues to get here.”

Coming to Sodexo, Embracing Diversity

For much of Roberts’ career, she was one of very few women on leadership teams managing the technical side of various businesses.

“For many companies around the globe, the majority of employees in technical careers are men,” explained Roberts. “Sodexo was a compelling company to me. I wanted to be in an environment where diversity was real. It’s invigorating to be in work groups with groups of people with different ways of thinking about the business, our customers and our clients. Many former colleagues, true leaders with high levels of business integrity, have chosen to work here at Sodexo.”

So, when an opportunity presented itself for Roberts to join Sodexo, it was everything she wanted.

“Since joining Sodexo, I’ve been able to embrace and live diversity in the workplace. Sodexo leads in the marketplace through diversity,” she said. “When I have positions to fill, I know that the net is cast widely to ensure we reach a diverse pool of talent. When you have teams that are diverse, you increase the potential for innovative ideas and approaches. At the same time, you can be more successful with both employee and customer engagement, and growth. Facilities Management is a great career, and it is exciting to see that it is attracting a range of diverse talent, including women.”

Interested in an FM career with Sodexo? Look for more stories like Roberts and details about possible careers at

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Negative Room Pressure and Germ Fighting Robots: 2 Things I Never Knew About Environmental Services at Sodexo!

By Chloé Rada, Senior Marketing Manager - Talent Acquisition

Last week as Sodexo celebrated Environmental Services and Housekeeping week, I learned about the growing role these professional play with infection control. 

Now more than ever, the environmental services team is pivotal when it comes to providing a safe environment for clinical care.  This includes cleaning and disinfection practices as well as the disposal of hazardous medical waste, linen handling and patient transport.   

At Sodexo, we know that our ability to create a clean, healthy and comfortable environment for hospitals is key to patient healing. That is why we take serious precautions when it comes to controlling contagious airborne diseases, preventing Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) and adhering to Hazmat standards.

At Lowell General Hospital in Boston during H1N1 outbreak, the Sodexo Environmental Service team converted the auditorium to negative room pressure and provided the supplies needed for an emergency situation.  

I was fascinated to learn more about this isolation technique used to prevent cross-contamination from room-to-room. It’s a matter of science, actually!

It includes a ventilation system that generates negative pressure to allow air to flow into the isolation room but not escape from the room, as air will naturally flow from areas with higher pressure to areas with lower pressure.

In other hospitals and healthcare settings, like Ashbury Communities, Sodexo Environmental Services Managers use a germ fighting robot to reduce HAIs like MRSA.  It’s seven times more effective and 23% faster than traditional cleaning.

The Xenex machine is the only Pulsed- Xenon Ultraviolet robot that kills germs in a matter of minutes by producing flashes of ultraviolet-C (UVC) light around the room.    Asbury is the first senior living community system in the nation to use Xenex technology.

This week Environmental Services professionals from the across the country are gathered at the AHE EXCHANGE to learn industry developments, like Infection Prevention, and take a peek into the future of the profession. 

If you are attending, don’t miss these educational and networking opportunities brought to you by Sodexo!

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