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These Five Chefs Left Sodexo - THIS is What Made Them Return

By Autumn Anderson, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Whether by choice or not, sometimes our paths change. And while people may stay at the same company for 10, 20 or even 30 years, that’s not always the case. However, even if talented employees leave Sodexo, we love welcoming them back via our alumni program Reconnexions.

You’ll see on our Culinary careers site, that we promote work/life balance, training and development, the ability to positively impact others and our culture, which is anything but mundane. In fact, Sodexo Chefs enjoy working in a variety of settings from Walt Disney World to United States Marine Corps mess halls and everything in between, all the while having the ability to get creative and build community around the meals they create. But instead of taking our word for it, we’ll let our Chefs tell you themselves what brought them back after some time away. Bonus: they also offer their advice to culinarians who may be considering a career move.


Sodexo Executive Chef Christopher Harwell
“I decided to return to Sodexo because of the reputation of the company and the diversity of resources found within. Also, being a single dad of a wonderful three year old little girl, working in the Business and Industry segment gives me the quality of life I require to be a great father! I’ve always said to work hard and play hard, but doing both and being able to reap professional and personal rewards are unique to this profession.

If you’re considering Sodexo for a career, the culinary support is amazing. Through systems like SMG (Sodexo Menu Graphics) and the other resources at our fingertips, we as Chefs can spend our time in the kitchen, developing our staff and taking care of the clients' and customers’ needs. If we need anything professionally, there are numerous avenues to ask for help. The support from the district and regional level is key, and your management team is only an email away.”

-- Christopher Harwell, Executive Chef – Sodexo Corporate Services at Lexis Nexis


Sodexo Executive Chef Christie Butler“When coming back to Sodexo, my decision was simple. I worked for the competition and saw how
the operation ran. I knew coming back to Sodexo would be a sound decision, as far as benefits and the ability to advance within the company were concerned.

For others considering Sodexo, just remember to hold true to yourself and never compromise. Be flexible, open-minded and have patience.”

-- Christie Butler, Executive Chef – Sodexo Campus Services at Kennesaw State University


Sodexo Executive Chef Ryan Hamel
“I came back to Sodexo to make a difference in the lives of those who matter most to me. I missed having daily guest interaction in the healthcare environment with our patients and other healthcare employees. I also missed the work/life balance I was able to have while previously working for Sodexo. 

I'd recommend Sodexo to anyone looking to grow as a manager.  Sodexo has tremendous tools for networking, training and career development. Also, motivated employees are rewarded generously through benefit and vacation packages. Sodexo allows me to do what I love most (cook great meals), while having plenty of time to enjoy with my family.”

-- Ryan M. Hamel, Executive Chef – Sodexo Healthcare at University Hospitals


Sodexo Executive Chef Charles Stallings“I returned to Sodexo because it is a company that allows me to grow in my career, as well as educate
others in a diverse setting.

I have worked for a couple of leading food service companies, but none of them have offered me a great employment experience in regards to my quality of family life the way Sodexo has.”

-- Charles Stallings, Executive Chef – Sodexo Healthcare at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center 


Sodexo Executive Chef Gene Pickardt
“I returned to Sodexo because I felt secure in my position and with the company. Sodexo has offered me great opportunities that I would not have found with many other organizations in the field.

Other Chefs should consider Sodexo for a career for the same reasons I returned/stayed. There are many opportunities for anyone who's culinary inclined and wishes to explore a new world through the eyes of the students, which allows us to stay current in the ever changing world of Culinary Arts. 

Sodexo also gives you the freedom to be as artistic as you want with the many products available to you. I have learned different ways to put a ‘spin’ on some of the most popular, yet simple dishes.

They also offer a lot of incentives, including healthcare benefits, 401k and many more! The ability to relocate within Sodexo is a great way to get out there and keep it fresh. I have used this opportunity to travel and see different cultures, and I have met many people with whom I stay in contact and am proud to call my ‘friends.’ Sodexo - for me - is a home away from home.”

-- Gene P. Pickardt, Executive Chef – Sodexo Campus Services at Alcorn University


Ready to rejoin the Sodexo team? Update your profile in our alumni community to get started today! Then, be sure to connect with our Culinaryrecruitment team on LinkedIn and Twitter to get answers to any questions you might have about the process.

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How to write resumes that lead to successful interviews

By Karen Graham, Senior Recruiter - Senior Living

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

They say that some things never change. But when it comes to your resume, a change might be just what you need! Your resume and related professional profiles are what make you attractive to prospective employers and it’s likely that you’ve gained new skills or experiences since the last time you updated your resume.

Take the proper time to build your resume by showcasing your skills, abilities, level of responsibility and level of experience. Creating a competency based resume – one that shows what you know and what you have accomplished – will better prepare you for interview questions that go beyond the technical skills required for the position.

During an interview, a recruiter or hiring manager will want to learn more about ways that you made an impact in previous roles through tangible results, for example how you saved money or time with process improvements or how you achieved a measurable goal or other success. When writing your resume, therefore, consider some of these common interview question themes and see how you might be able to incorporate answers right on your resume.

1.  What is your career background? Does your resume highlight your skills and experiences  and your career progression?

Does your resume highlight your skills and experiences and your career progression?

2.  What were your major achievements in most recent positions? 

For example, can you cite something you achieved? Think in terms of measurable outcomes, such as: “improved customer satisfaction 22% to the highest level since 2001” or “increased our annual revenue for the account from $10 million to $15 million in the first year.”

3.  How does your career progression show growth? 

Do you cite progressive job titles or detail added responsibilities for each position held?

4.  What was the process you used to work through challenges? 

Did you create a new procedure, seek a new vendor or make other workflow changes? Example: Revamped the standard operating procedures at the account reducing downtime on critical equipment from 40 hours to 3 hours per month.

5.  Can you list examples of your problem solving ability, thinking and planning skills? 

For example, can you describe why you selected a new process? What steps or desired outcomes led you to make your decision?
While you might not be able to answer all of these questions on your resume, an updated resume will have you ready to apply for new career opportunities and prepared for these questions during an interview. And remember, before you apply to any position, check to be sure that the skills outlined on your resume and the skills required for the job posting are a match – you may need multiple versions of your resume. 

We invite our readers to connect with us, share your career experiences and join the conversation on our Sodexo Careers Facebook page – see you in social!

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Sodexo employees help save the plant and help Farmers with disabilities this Earth Day!

By ChloƩ Rada, Senior Marketing Manager - Talent Acquisition

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, a global celebration to increase awareness and appreciation for the environment.  On the first Earth Day in 1970, 22 million Americans celebrated clean air, land, and water. Today more than 1 billion people worldwide participate in environmental protection movements to preserve, protect and defend our environment for future generations.

At Sodexo, we work to make everyday Earth Day through our Better Tomorrow Plan 
Since 2007, Sodexo’s Rural Recycling efforts have had an impressive impact on the environment. Over this period, more than 94 tons of e-waste has been removed from the solid waste stream and over 35 tons of CPUs, LCDs, phones and other electronic equipment have been reused or recycled.

An adaptive tractor seat, made possible through a Sodexo/Easter Seals Grant
An adaptive tractor seat, made possible 
through a Sodexo/Easter Seals Grant
A unique aspect of the program is its charitable benefit to the farming community. In partnership with Easter Seals, Sodexo funds grant requests from farmers who need to make accommodations for their disability. Sodexo donates the monetary value it receives from its technology recyclers to Easter Seals, and Easter Seals in turn issues grants to farmers. 

Farmers use the grants to purchase swivel tractor seats and grab bars for farm equipment, and to make other modifications to equipment and the land. Grants from this past year assisted with projects like drilling an irrigation well for blueberry crops, the purchase of bees, hives and replacement chicks (See Dudley’s picture below). Since its inception, this program has helped 70 farmers in 14 states address mobility challenges and ultimately improve their quality of life and their agricultural business. 

Dudley is using the grant funds to purchase bees and hives; replacement chicks and equipment
2014 Grant winner Dudley is the owner and operator of an agriculture business with bee hives and honey, range free chicken and eggs. Dudley is using the grant funds to purchase bees and hives; replacement chicks and equipment. This equipment will allow Dudley to continue beekeeping and teaching the younger generation organic farming.

Matt is using his fund to make accomodations for his disability so that he can continue to farm and serve the community with organic beef
Meet 2014 Grant winner Matt, a farmer who raises non GMO corn and soybeans and grass fed beef.  With his grant funds, Matt hopes to trade his current skid loader for a more accessible unit, such as the JCB 527. This equipment will allow Matt to continue to farm and serve the community with organic beef while being safer and preventing secondary injuries.

The Recycling program is "fueled" and sustained by the personal commitments of Sodexo volunteers who go above and beyond what is required from their 9-5 jobs.  The “e-Recycling” team, is a diverse collective of Food Service Operators, Human Resource professionals and others throughout the organization who keep the environment “top of mind”, making an impact on our planet and for the farming community we serve far beyond #EarthDay2015!

What are you doing to help save the planet or help others in need?

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Month of the Military Child: Experiences Guide their Future Careers

By Trish Freshwater, Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition

According to the Department of Defense, more than 1.88 million children in the United States are currently growing up in some form of a military family – whether as children of active duty or reserve component military members. 

Although young, these brave sons and daughters stand in steadfast support of their military parents through moves and deployments. To honor their unique contributions and sacrifices on behalf of our country, each April is designated the Month of the Military Child.

Military families often endure separations and multiple moves over the course of a parent’s military career. The challenges and opportunities this provides to military families can therefore shape a child’s future career.

Sodexo Steve Fogle USMC
Steve Fogle, Private 1st Class, 
USMC boot camp graduate, 1986
Steve Fogle, a General Manager III for Sodexo’s Food Services at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, NM, grew up in a military family.

His dad was a captain in the US Army, his step-father and uncle were in the US Navy, while another uncle was a US Marine. Growing up with these military influences, it’s no wonder that he and two of his cousins entered the Marine Corps after high school, all within two months of each other.  He graduated from boot camp in 1986 from Parris Island, SC, and was stationed at Twenty Nine Palms, CA and Camp Pendleton, CA working in communications.

“Growing up in a military family helped me develop a lot of respect for my family members for serving, it also made me want to do the same thing,” explained Fogle. “Surrounded by military values instilled those same values in myself and taught me to respect people and my country more.”

Sodexo Steve Fogle
Steve Fogle, at USMC boot camp final inspection, 1986
Fogle served in the Marines for three and a half years before the first Gulf War began. It was a peaceful time, before many of today’s conflicts began. So, at the end of his enlistment, he went on to college at the University of Akron and earned a BA in mass media communication with a minor in English and journalism. While he channeled these interests into an early career with VH1, his experience in food service throughout high school and college was a stronger catalyst for launching his career.

After leaving VH1, Fogle expanded his food service skills as a training general manager with Applebee’s before coming to Sodexo as a retail manager. Since joining Sodexo in 2009, Fogle has continued to advance his career as a general manager – first in healthcare and now in government services.

With his career currently settled in government services, it seems as though life has come full circle – taking him back to the roots of his childhood, serving alongside military counterparts.

“I love working on a military base and enjoy sharing experiences with everyone here,” said Fogle. “I take great pride and honor in things that go on around here and the work that is being done. My family background and my own military experiences help me appreciate the dedication and sacrifices made throughout our country’s military community.”

As for today’s military children, Fogle acknowledges that times have changed since his own childhood.

“Today’s children are busy being strong and cherishing time with their parents,” he said. “But as they grow, I encourage them to experience life in the military. It’s important for high school kids to have the military experience before launching their civilian careers.”

Want to learn more about how Sodexo supports and builds careers for military veterans? Read these blog posts and visit to learn more about current opportunities. 

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Six Dimensions of Quality of Life in the Workplace

by Kristen Jacobs, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Does it surprise you that the average U.S. employee spends more than half of their waking hours on the job1? With the amount of time we spend at work, it’s inevitably going to make an impact on our quality of life.

Knowing that being satisfied with your job leads to increased performance, engagement and commitment, Sodexo creates strategies around supporting and encouraging the well-being of employees. Even the smallest things can make a big impact. Did you know the optimal temperature in an office environment reduces errors by 44%2? Good to know!

In the recently released 2015 Workplace Trends Report, we've identified six dimensions of Quality of Life where we can make a real and measurable impact in the lives of our employees. 

Sodexo's 6 Dimension of Quality of Life: Social Interaction, Personal Growth, Ease & Efficiency, Recognition, Physical Environment, Health & Well-Being
Six Dimensions of Quality of Life
I've personally been impacted by all six of these dimensions during my career at Sodexo, including training and networking opportunities, special recognition from co-workers, and a virtual work space. Even in a remote environment, my department’s commitment to each of these is evident. We incorporate time to stretch into our weekly team meetings, recognize special events and successes, and have the tools to operate efficiently. 

The point is, not only has Sodexo identified these dimensions of quality of life, they have created a culture of success that is driven by these factors.

Are you ready for a refreshing change in your quality of life? Search our career opportunities!
according to 2004 Cornell study “Linking Environmental Conditions to Productivity”

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Service, Innovation, Leadership: My Takeaways from the Sodexo Leadership Academy

By Guest Blogger Renny Xu, University of Massachusetts Amherst Student and Sodexo Summer Intern

When I was first invited to attend the annual UMass Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) Leadership Day with Sodexo for Dr. Oh’s Hospitality Leadership class, I was elated to oblige.

As a dedicated Hospitality student and member of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) chapter at UMass Amherst, I was excited for the opportunity to learn about the leadership roles from senior executives and UMass HTM alumni working for Sodexo.

Just prior to this experience, I had the privilege of attending the 26th NSMH National Conference. During that time, I was exposed to some of the biggest Hospitality companies and their industry partners at the career fair. I met Michelle Robinson, Director of College & External Relations at Sodexo, and scheduled an interview for the Future Leaders Internship program. Meeting such an important member of the Sodexo brand was an honor but also filled me with excitement, as it was my first one-on-one interview.

Two weeks later, I was offered a Food Service Management internship for Sodexo at the Boston Children’s Hospital. It was thrilling to know that getting out of my comfort zone and taking on a challenge allowed me to accomplish something huge.

Fast forward a month to the Sodexo Leadership Academy, where over 20 Hospitality students were given insight about the duties that junior and senior executives hold as part of a multinational corporation. To kick it off, Michelle Robinson posed a question to the audience, asking, "What is the first word that comes to mind when you hear 'Sodexo'?" The answers that followed were hesitant and slow: "Food." "Sustainability." "…People?" 

Throughout the workshop, we were invited to learn and discuss Sodexo's Quality of Life Services, aided with a visual of Sodexo’s accomplishments from the past year. The job opportunities at Sodexo are not limited to school cafeterias and food courts. In fact, Sodexo is the 18th largest employer in the world and offers positions in catering, facilities management, talent acquisition and much more.

Along with their expertise, the senior executives exposed us to the basics of what Sodexo does and some of the duties they handle on a daily basis working for a company that designs, manages and delivers services dedicated to improving others’ quality of life. Learning from UMass alumni like Arie Ball and Mike Grey was an inspiring experience. It was amazing to hear where they started, how they got to their current positions and the advice they had to offer us as future leaders.

Arie Ball, VP of Talent Acquisition, began her college career in fashion merchandising and dietetics. Her advice about always having a Plan B was especially motivating, as many attendees were rising or graduating seniors.

Having a backup plan means you have to think ahead and consider different outcomes. If Plan A doesn’t go accordingly, Plan B will have your back.

Then, Mike Grey, VP of Regional Operations, posed a case study to the audience involving a scenario with a food service manager and a school board contemplating the termination of Sodexo’s contract. He invited us to come up with a solution where we had to step into a leadership role. After some well thought out suggestions, Mike told us the solution: In order to keep the contract, it was essential to satisfy not only the client but also the manager involved.

Being put on the spot to come up with a plan, explaining how it would be executed and what the results would be was a compelling experience, and when I start my internship with Sodexo, I know I will have wonderful opportunities to learn even more from these leaders.

At the end of the workshop, Michelle asked again, “So, what is the first word that comes to mind when you hear 'Sodexo'?" Students eagerly answered, "Service." "Innovation." "Leadership.” 

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Culinary Students Prepare for Amazing Careers through Sodexo and ProStart Partnership

By Trish Freshwater, Senior Communications Manager  

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

Leadership. Communication. Commitment to excellence. Passion. These are the qualities of tomorrow’s culinary leaders; they are some of the elements Sodexo hopes to engage, encourage and grow in today’s high school students interested in possible careers at Sodexo.

As a partner in the National Restaurant Association’s program called ProStart since 1998, Sodexo aims to provide students with the opportunity to learn leadership skills early on to help students advance their careers with great job opportunities after high school and formal culinary training.

ProStart offers high school students the opportunity to learn about culinary arts and foodservice management by training with professional chefs and foodservice managers through in-unit and classroom instruction. Whether students are interested in culinary, marketing, accounting, general management, information technology … they have tremendous career opportunities in our industry and as leaders in hospitality, we want to help guide students as they navigate these early days in their careers.

Want to learn more about how Sodexo works with students interested in culinary careers? Watch this video

Already a culinarian? Check out Sodexo’s career opportunties at

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