Sodexo Executive Receives National Restaurant Association Honor
April 15, 2009
Award honors diverse achievers who excel on the restaurant industry path to the American dream
GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 15, 2009 — Husein Kitabwalla, senior vice president of Sodexo’s Retail Brand Group (RBG) has been named a national finalist for the National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2009 American Dream Award, which honors individuals from a diverse background who, through hard work and determination, have realized the American dream. The story of Kitabwalla’s rise through the restaurant and hospitality industry – from visiting international student to a leadership position at Sodexo, one of the largest integrated food and facilities management services companies – inspired the NRA award judges and continues to inspire the people Kitabwalla works with daily.
“The restaurant industry is one of the most diverse industries in America, and prides itself on providing opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds and cultures,” said National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. “Individuals such as Husein Kitabwalla, who have found rewarding careers and fulfilling lives in this deeply rewarding restaurant industry, exemplify the spirit of the American dream and we are proud to honor him as one of our national finalists. His story is an inspiration to us all.”
Kitabwalla – a native of Kenya, naturalized U.S. citizen, and 10-year Sodexo employee – oversees the development of fast casual restaurants for Sodexo, like the award-winning Jazzman’s Café and Pandini’s, at non-traditional locations like college campuses, hospitals and corporate offices. The group opened the first company-owned street location of Pandini’s in 2009 and supports the operations of over 600 retail foodservice outlets nationwide.
The award is one of two Faces of Diversity Awards, created by the NRA and PepsiCo Foodservice to recognize the restaurant industry’s commitment to diversity and to celebrate individuals in the restaurant industry who are achieving the American dream.
“Husein walks through life with a passion for what he does, confidently striving for success for the teams he leads and paving a way for those who will come after,” said Lorna Donatone, president of Sodexo School Services and National Restaurant Association board member. “His life and achievements can inspire all aspiring restaurant professionals as a living example of the American dream.”
Kitabwalla recently joined the board of the Fast Casual Executive Alliance (FCA) where he chairs the Education Committee; he also represents Sodexo on The Conference Board’s Council on Brand Management. To assist rising professionals in his industry and to give back to those who helped him establish his career, he serves on the board of directors at Ashland University’s School of Hospitality.
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com) is a leading integrated facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government, and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.sodexofoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $11 million in grants to fight hunger in America.