To celebrate Diversity Month in April, we asked our DEI Council members to share what makes them passionate about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and why they think DEI is important to our organization and beyond. Here are just a few of their insights, which we featured on our LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

Fostering an inclusive workplace

Co-workers overlooking at a tablet while smiling

“I am passionate about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion because we create a more welcoming environment. When we sustain a diverse group, we open the door to new ideas. It is important to me to have a team that represents the people we serve.” –Michael Maione, Director of Manufacturing, Prepared Meals Company (PMC)


"I want to help others realize their full potential and help build a culture that allows and encourages growth, self-awareness and engagement. Personal identity and personal journeys contribute to alternative perspectives from which everyone can learn, including myself.” –Kristen Wagner, Director of Procurement Compliance, Strategy and Support, Elior North America


"I am passionate about DEI because it is the key to peace. When we work towards DEI, we are really working towards “acceptance” of others. And we can’t live together in peace without acceptance. We don’t need to agree, we just need to accept each other’s differences."  –Kevin Dean, District Manager, Cura Hospitality

Leveraging personal experiences to help others thrive

Diverse group of individuals working around a tablet

“Having had to pave my own path in the business world as a Latino mother of three has given me a platform to represent many under-represented people in our community. My own upbringing and the story of my family gives me the background to understand the plight of an immigrant, the importance of education and mentorship and the opportunity awarded to individuals who work hard. This is why I am so passionate about this initiative and so thrilled to be part of this council.” –Adelee Cabrera, Vice President, Operations, Dining and Events


“I am extremely passionate about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion because I am a minority woman, and I would like to be a part fostering growth and opportunities for other minorities from all walks of life.” –Lisa Jackson, Regional Manager, West Coat, TRIO Community Meals


“As a woman of color, it’s important to me to see people who look like me reflected in the faces and experiences of those who sit in positions of leadership and influence. Our world has historically not held a platform for diverse voices, and it is critical that we grasp this moment in history to carve out seats at the table at all levels of industry, government and entertainment that is representative of our globalized world.” –Jocelyn Negron-Rios, Executive Administrator, Elior North America


“Being a woman and a person of color, I have experienced challenges within my everyday life… DEI is important because the world has been unfair to those who do not meet the criteria of what is ‘perceived’ as the norm.” –Trenna Grice, Senior Director, Business Development, Elior North America

Strengthening teamwork through diversity

Diverse group of hands together in a circle

“Through DEI initiatives, we embrace the notion of teamwork to its fullest. By embracing the amazing variety of ideas and experiences of our team members, we can foster a culture of unity that allows us to leverage each other’s strengths as we tackle new projects and new challenges.” –Jennifer Gooch, Director of Operations, Northeast, Summit Food Management


“DEI is important because the more people from different backgrounds, cultures, and genders the more successful we are as a company. Not only does it help our current team members feel appreciated and seen, but it can help us attract the top diversity talent across the country.” –Trent Krupica, Marketing Director, Aladdin Campus Dining

Stay tuned for more insights and updates about the work our DEI Council is doing to promote and support diversity, equity and inclusion at Elior North America and the communities we serve.