George Mason University (Sodexo)
Proudest career accomplishment in the past year:
In 2019, I was lucky enough to be a part of the Starship Technologies launch at GMU, which was the world’s first and largest launch of an autonomous robot delivery fleet on a college or university campus. It was also the archetype for the marketing strategy and PR campaign built out between Sodexo, GMU and Starship that has since been replicated in universities across the country. It was an honor to be a part of something that has since changed the face of our industry. Ultimately, though, my true pride came from the university’s response to the bots. They have truly become a part of the community in a way I never expected, and seeing happy students, faculty, staff and other campus visitors experience them for the first time just never gets old.
What you excel at:
My knowledge of the account. As a GMU alumni (class of 2016), I have the advantage of understanding both the student experience and perspective of a senior leader of the dining team. This duality in my understanding has allowed me to develop broad partnerships with key campus partners and establish new partnerships to continuously improve the dining program and integrate more deeply with the campus community. I also excel at public speaking, which allows me to be an ambassador for dining services on campus, sharing information and promoting key aspects of the program to the community.
An important lesson learned:
In this very moment, I am completely entrenched with COVID-19 preparation and planning. Since Sodexo is contracted to George Mason University, the entire team is working closely with the university to make modifications to the program, ensure everyone who needs to remain on campus can be fed, and that everyone in the GMU community—including our employees—are safe and healthy. I have learned so much in the past five days alone. … I’ve never truly appreciated how vital our daily operations are to so many people until this unprecedented moment.
What you’d change about the industry:
I wish the industry was more adaptable to changes in technology. I think we are sometimes more than behind the curve in this aspect. If we put as much energy into tech as we do into analyzing food trends, we’d really be able to hit the mark in terms of service and marketing potential.