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From Restaurant Management to Contract Management, this Chef knows that Sodexo Brings Opportunities to the Plate!

By Guest Blogger Colleen McKie, Senior Recruiter – Colleges and Universities in the Western US

This week is my favorite time of year for recruiting culinary professionals.  I’ll be headed, once again, to the ACF National Convention to share what you can #CookCraftCreate as a Sodexo Chef!

In preparation for this event last year, I wrote about Sodexo’s relationship with the American Culinary Foundation and how the ACF provides guidance to our chef mentoring program and recognizes our career advancement webinars with credits towards recertification.

"Serving others first is a natural
instinct in all great leaders" -
Cynthia Walz, CEC
This year I located a “voice” from one of our female Executive Chefs to share with you her thoughts on the career opportunities and challenges at Sodexo. Cynthia Walz is from my home state of Michigan and was just hired as a new General Manager at one of our Campus accounts in Colorado.  Here is what she had to say!

What brought you to Sodexo?

Coming from a restaurant background, I was recruited by Sodexo for an Executive Chef role in 2008.  I became interested in the opportunity to lead a culinary team, implement changes and raise the bar for the client and for Sodexo.

The account needed some fresh eyes from a person with high-end catering and restaurant experience while the food team was in need of some encouragement, inspiration and training.  I focused on food quality, setting up local purveyors and improving our food costs to start, while operating a zero waste kitchen policy. It took a lot of hard work and long hours but most anyone who truly wants to make a difference through food and people knows what it takes.  

As an entrepreneur, I was skeptical about moving to corporate food service company. But because of Sodexo’s large scope and innovative initiatives, this company has provided me so many opportunities to grow develop and contribute. Their commitment to health and wellness, work/life balance, recognition and recruitment of top talent are the reasons why Sodexo remains my employer of choice.

How has Sodexo assisted you in your professional development and/or rewarded you for your accomplishments?

Everyone is responsible for their own career growth at Sodexo, but with the encouragement and resources offered, you can achieve more than you think you can.  Sodexo supports and funds my yearly ACF membership fees and has invested in a lot of training and travel for me.

In six short years with Sodexo, I have become a Certified Executive Chef with the ACF and will finish up the required testing for Certified Culinary Administrator by end of this year. I am also trained in allergens and intolerance in a cafeteria and dining room setting and leverage the support of Sodexo’s Registered Dietitians to help our meals meet nutritional needs.

A few years back, Sodexo sent me to Catersource in Las Vegas where I entered and won two different contests; one for a grab-and-go box lunch featuring a wellness selection and an one-plate, easy-to-serve lunch item.  Sodexo recognized my win by featuring me in a catering training segment of the summer training symposium - a very proud moment for me!
What are you most passionate about?

Mentorship and helping others achieve their goals. I have mentored three cooks into executive chef roles, two while at Sodexo, and enjoy working with chefs in Sodexo’s Spirit of Mentoring program as an advisor for certification.

My second passion is sustainability. My goal to work with more sustainable and waste elimination solutions has led me to accept a new role as the General Manager at Fort Lewis College in Colorado. Fort Lewis is leading the pack with a top-notch composting program and a LEED Gold-certified student union.

What advice would you give to a chef considering a culinary career with Sodexo?

If you are considering a career change that offers more work/life balance, opportunity for creativity, sustainability or mentoring, consider Sodexo! 

This is your opportunity to go anywhere you want to go and do anything you want to do, with the support and resources that are second to none. Being a chef for Sodexo gives you the ability to positively affect not just a team of people, but the quality of life for clients, students, faculty, patients and residents.

If you will be attending the National ACF Convention in Orlando this week, please stop by the Sodexo Booth, 414.  You can meet other award-winning Sodexo chefs like Cynthia and talk with me about what opportunities we bring to the plate!


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Heading to ACF? Imagine What You Could #CookCraftCreate with THIS!

By Autumn Anderson, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Each year, Sodexo attends the ACF National Convention to connect with talented Chefs from across the country, and this year is no different.

In addition to networking, our team will also be giving away a beautiful handmade knife from our very own ACF Chef Greg Mueller.

I recently spoke with Chef Mueller to learn more about the knife he crafted for the convention.

AA: Tell me about the knife you’ve created for the Sodexo raffle at this year’s ACF National Convention.

GM: The knife blade was donated by Alabama Damascus Steel and is constructed with 416 layers of
high carbon and ball bearing steel. It is a beautiful Damascus blade finished with a maple burl handle provided by Tim Kipps from J Hue Customs in Virginia.

AA: What inspired you to begin creating knives like this one?

GM: I started making knives as a hobby about a year ago and have completed over 100 knives to date. I enjoy working with my hands, and this was another creative outlet that fit within my profession. It started out because I sharpen a lot of knives for chefs and do repair work on chipped tips and blade edges and have done that for upwards of 10 years now because I enjoy the process of hand sharpening and polishing finished edges. 

AA: In what ways has ACF helped you advance your culinary career?

GM: have been a member of the ACF since 2001 and have attended numerous conventions and always find that the networking opportunities are endless. Through certification and continued education offered through the ACF, I was able to find a career with Sodexo. I hope that many chefs can stop by the Sodexo recruiting booth and enter the raffle for this knife, but ultimately I hope they can find a career with Sodexo and enjoy the Quality of Life that I now enjoy!


Attending the ACF National Convention in Orlando? Visit our Culinary careers site to find out where we’ll be and how you can connect with our team!

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Play Like a Girl and Become a Successful Manager at Sodexo

By ChloĆ© Rada, Senior Marketing Manager - Talent Acquisition

Early this month, I celebrated the awesome girl power of the U.S. Women's soccer team when they won the World Cup in a victory over Japan.  Any sports fan can appreciate the masterfulness of a hat trick in the first fifteen minutes, which now gives new meaning to “play like a girl”.

Among the many tributes that keep trickling in, Sports Illustrated just announced that they will be honoring the women of the US national soccer team with a cover for each player.

It’s hard for me to hold back my excitement being a former Soccer player myself.  While I was no Carli Lloyd, I knew what scoring many goals in a championship game and winning the first place trophy felt like.

Playing soccer taught me about team work, communication, patience and practice; skills that I use every day.  

Any team sport requires all players to work together to achieve their goals. All eleven players had to work as a unit on the field to move the ball quickly while positioning themselves so that the opponent could not intercept a pass or score.  Knowing where your team mates were at all times in relation to you and the goal was necessary to plan your next move.

I also learned how to communicate with others to advance the ball down the field.  Having a voice on the field allowed me to signal if I had a play covered, if I was open or congratulate a team mate on a job well done.    The nonverbal gestures were just as important since certain plays were initiated just by a nod of a head.   Communication was inevitably what led to having team chemistry!

Sometimes teams may struggle to get in sync which is why patience and practice comes into play.  Learning the different qualities that each team member can contribute can take time. Certain skills also don’t come naturally to each player but with a little patience, practice (and encouragement) they can be developed. For example, footwork didn’t come easy and was one of the things that got better as I practiced.  Today, practice makes perfect when it comes to mastering the art of pivot tables, public speaking and managing a team of people.   

As I thought more about how I apply these skills in my professional career, I looked to the Sodexo Women’s Network Group (WING) to find fellow soccer players who shared my same sentiments.  This is what they said!

At Sodexo, I am proud to play like a girl and use team work, communication, patience and practice to become a better leader and team member.   

Come be a part of our team and experience this awesome girl power for yourself!

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Sodexo Chef Recognized by ACF for Leadership in the Culinary Profession

By Autumn Anderson, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Sodexo’s ongoing partnership with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) has provided Chefs the opportunity to increase their skill sets, gain certification and ultimately advance in their careers in the culinary profession. One of those Chefs, Dwight Evans, has been honored by ACF on more than one occasion

I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Evans about two of his recent ACF awards, as well as another honor he received.

AA: You recently won the ACF Presidential Cutting Edge Award. What does that signify and how does it feel after having been named Chef of the Year by ACF Chicago Chefs of Cuisine a little over a year ago?

DE: It’s such a great honor! The Presidential Cutting Edge Award signifies the recognition of leadership and service to the culinary profession, and to have it presented to me by our ACF National President Tom Macrina, CEC, AAC was really the icing on the cake.

It also really felt good to have received the ACF Chicago Chefs of The Year award and to be honored by my peers. It's something that I never thought I would achieve, so I really wear that medal with pride, respect, gratitude and always try to remain humble knowing the fact that there are so many talented Chefs that have never received such an award.
AA: You were also recently inducted into the Disciples of Escoffier. Tell me how that honor fits in with your culinary career.

DE: The Disciples of Escoffier International is the premier gastronomic society established in France
to maintain the good name and traditions of French Cuisine and to honor the memory of Escoffier. Being a member of Les Amis d'Escoffier Society, I think it was a natural progression to become a member of the much larger international Disciples, which has a worldwide membership of over 20,000. The fact that French Cuisine is the base of my culinary foundation and having lived and worked in Paris, I just feel so grateful and lucky to be inducted to such a prestigious society of wonderful individuals.

AA: What advice would you give to a Chef considering Sodexo for a career, based on your experience with the company and opportunities you’ve had to grow and network through organizations like ACF and the Disciples?

DE: I would tell them that Sodexo has the very best training programs, tools and essentials available at your fingertips to help you be successful. There are vast opportunities and career paths to choose from, including the promotion of external growth and development programs. It also provides great work/life balance, which is really unheard of in hotels, country clubs and free standing restaurants


Learn more about Chef Evans’ accomplishments and read his “day in the life” story here. Then, find out how to connect with our team at the upcoming ACF National Convention on our culinary careers site.

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Engineer Your Future with a Facilities Management Career at Sodexo

By Jen Macias, Recruiting Manager

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

In June, facilities managers around the globe celebrated World FM day – an annual celebration that gives us the opportunity to recognize the successes and contributions of facility managers around the world.

At Sodexo, facilities management careers are experiencing considerable growth while the facilities management arena continues to evolve with the environment around us. To meet the needs of our clients and offer exciting careers for our employees, Sodexo has taken a position of leadership and innovation in the FM field.

As the 18th largest employer in the world and the leader in delivering integrated facilities management operations globally, Sodexo has been an active provider of Facilities Management for several decades, leveraging on services traditionally delivered to clients from Asset Management to Engineering Services.

Throughout their careers, many Sodexo FM managers have the opportunity to work on high profile projects to bring innovative FM and energy management solutions to reality. One example of our success is the Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina. Sodexo's energy management team converted the campus from propane to natural gas while installing an energy management system that allows for tighter control, and even remote control of heating and cooling at the site's cabins – among other upgrades that already have Kanuga's customers rating their experiences at the Conference Center higher than before.

Other FM managers have been able to impact the future of education by providing comprehensive and sustainable solutions that result in award worthy projects, like the green dining hall at Howard University.

While still others have been able to leverage their creativity and skills to create a state-of-the art arboretum at Western Kentucky University where the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum announced that the project was awarded Level I Accreditation.

And still other FM managers at Sodexo who have an affinity for work in the health care industry are able to provide operations and maintenance services worldwide at the Department of Defense’s medical facilities that take care of the lives of our nation’s finest.

Your Goals Matter

Are you ready to work alongside driven, motivated and professional colleagues? Are you looking to grow with a strong, stable company that genuinely cares about you and your career aspirations?

At Sodexo, we place a high value on developing employees and helping them reach their career goals through internal and external training opportunities. Whether advanced training for managers, regular re-certification for maintenance technicians or culturally sensitive cleaning modules, we invest in our employees to allow for greater skills and advanced mobility within the company. 

If you’re ready to learn more about Facilities Management leadership and career opportunities, we’d love to connect!

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How to Address Gaps in Your Resume

By Trish Freshwater, Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition

In today’s job market, it’s not uncommon for candidates to have gaps in their resumes. Usually there are simple and valid explanations – like those who are still trying to find work after their company downsized during the recession, those who have been in school earning a degree to help them change careers and those who took time off to raise their families.

Many candidates worry about how to address these gaps on their resumes. But if you take the “glass is half full” approach, focus on your personal brand and be honest, these gaps tend be less intimidating.

Don’t Hide from the Past

First, it’s important to acknowledge any gaps in employment up front. By acknowledging the gap, it gives you the opportunity to explain your circumstances rather than let recruiter’s imagination fill that time for you. Also, this allows you to be proactive about how you describe your time while unemployed – giving you the opportunity to show that you continued to gain experience even without a job.

Speaking of gaining experience – are you or have you considered applying for a job that is junior to your previous work history? If so, that’s okay! In today’s market, there isn’t the stigma that there may have been at one time about people accepting a job they might have considered to be beneath their level. While in this role, you can seize opportunities to learn new skills through special projects, mentoring programs, taking classes or even teaching classes. Smart companies and smart bosses will be quick to recognize and harness your higher level of experience and skills –which, really, are what will impact your resume far more than a job title.

Your Resume: Filling in the Gap

When a recruiter reviews your resume, he or she is interested in your skills and abilities, results that you are capable of achieving and an understanding of what you did during your time away from work – how you stayed current in your field or gained new skills. Here are some tips for how to address this on your resume:

  1. Avoid a chronological resume and build a functional or hybrid version instead. A functional resume focuses on your skills and accomplishments, rather than listing each job you’ve held in chronological order with brief descriptions. In a hybrid version, you can begin by listing your skills and quantifiable accomplishments first, and then provide a list of your recently held positions. This places the focus on what you can do, rather than when you did it.

    And, if you do take on a junior role, remember to include your accomplishments from this position and demonstrate what was new, what was learned or how you used your skills to perform at a higher level when creating your list of skills and accomplishments.  All of this is far more important than a job title you might add to your list of prior positions held.
  2. Address the gap. Notate after your most recent employer your reason for leaving. If you are able to explain a purposeful and intentional reason, it provides a more compelling view of your reliability as a future employee rather than an empty space that looks more like you simply didn’t want to work.

    Let the recruiter know that you were laid off, you took a sabbatical or you took time off to manage a family situation or raise your children. If you were let go for an individual reason, unfortunately there’s not much you can do except wait to explain it in an interview. Be prepared with an honest and good explanation.
  3. Add a Community Service section. This will be especially helpful if you became active with a volunteer organization during your time off from work. If you served on a board, helped organize an event, became a volunteer at your children’s school or even managed the family budget – all of these experiences helped build your organizational, communication and leadership skills, which can be applicable to the job for which you’re now applying.
  4. Don’t forget to add consulting or freelance work to your resume. Provide details of the types of work, projects and activities you performed – including examples of your accomplishments in this work.
  5. Update your Education section. While you’ve been out of work, did you maintain any certifications? Gain new ones? Take any classes or attend any seminars? Notate these on your resume to show your desire to remain current on trends in your industry.

Having a gap in your employment is not necessarily a show stopper when you’re applying for jobs. What matters is how you address this gap and if you tell your story, and if you are able to show that you are proactively managing your career.

For even more tips on resume writing, check out these tips for success, 4 steps to a better resume and advice on how to use keywords on your resume.

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Millennial Managers Making an Impact in Sodexo Food Service

by Kristen Jacobs, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

At Sodexo, we like to celebrate the successes of our employees. We have a wide variety of internal awards that recognize the commitment to our values and showcase special achievements.  From department recognition to company-wide, we like to give credit where credit is due. 

When that pat on the back comes from outside of Sodexo, we love to bring extra visibility to the achievement, as well. Twice this year, Sodexo managers have been listed on the People in Foodservice > Under 30 list by Food Service Director.  These millennials are shaking things up and making a noticeable impact.

Colleen Brewer
Sodexo Food Service Manager 3
Colleen Brewer

Colleen Brewer has made a difference at Sodexo by creating a safety video, promoting social media and developing a plan to increase revenue.

According to Christopher Mongeon, former general manager for Sodexo at Plymouth State University, Colleen has made a difference by:

  • Creating a safety video that won second place in Sodexo’s Safety Video Contest.
  • Taking initiatives in promoting the department through social media.
  • Developing a plan to increase catering revenue through a subcontracting agreement with a local venue.

Get to know Colleen!

Jeremiah Xavier
Sodexo Retail Manager 2
Jeremiah Xavier

Jeremiah has made an impact at Lowell by nearly doubling revenue while redesigning the department's menu and catering program.

According to Dudley Abbe, vice president of hospitality, Jeremiah has made an impact at Lowell by:
  • Working in several departments over 18 months in order to build his skills and knowledge.
  • Successfully operating a temporary retail facility while helping to design a new dining venue.
  • Nearly doubling revenue while redesigning the department’s menu and catering program.

Get to know Jeremiah!

Congratulations to Colleen and Jeremiah on your recognition. We look forward to seeing how you shape your career at Sodexo.

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