Nearly everyone who knows Gerry Fernandez and the work that he does for The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), describes him as a man of vision, dedication, and passion. As President and Founder of MFHA, an educational non-profit organization that makes the business case for developing cultural intelligence in the workplace, Gerry has been recognized over the years for his work in educating members on, and advocating for, the business benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry.
With over 40 years of experience in the industry, Gerry has held leadership positions with several well-known companies including The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, The Capital Grille and General Mills, where he got his start in diversity and inclusion work.
Gerry’s career-altering moment happened while still employed as a National Account Manager for General Mills. Gerry attended a Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) conference that sparked the idea for MFHA. “I thought, if there is a need for a women’s group to promote opportunities for women, then there ought to be a group to promote opportunities for people of color,” he shared. MFHA was the first organization to bring about a national discussion on diversity management in the hospitality industry just a year later.
Gerry’s most recent recognition comes from Nation Restaurant News’ “Power List” 2014, featuring the 50 most powerful people leading and shaping today's restaurant industry, cited as a Top Catalyst for promoting change. This is the second time he has been named to the coveted list, which counts mostly C-suite executives from leading companies and organizations in foodservice.