George Chavel

George Chavel
President and CEO, Sodexo, Inc.

Corporate Headquarters: Gaithersburg, Maryland
Primary Business: Foodservice, facility management, service vouchers
Revenues: $8 billion
Employees: 125,000

Quantifiable Milestones at Sodexo

The year 2012 presents an important milestone for all of us at Sodexo—it marks the ten-year anniversary of the launch of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

A key element that continues to add significant value and strategic direction to our journey is Sodexo’s external diversity and inclusion advisory board. The seven members each represent a different dimension of diversity. This year they have placed particular emphasis on fostering a culture of inclusion for all employees, including people with disabilities and LGBT employees. The leadership and guidance provided by the Advisory Board has had a significant impact on ensuring that the organization stays focused on and remains accountable for making progress on its D&I objectives.

Continuously engaging employees is also critical to our success. For instance, every year, Sodexo’s premier diversity and inclusion event, the Diversity Business and Leadership Summit (DBLS) draws hundreds of employees and clients for a day of professional development focused on building skills, knowledge, and awareness around different dimensions of diversity. Then with an imperative to reduce costs and environmental impact, yet expand opportunities for engagement, Sodexo launched a virtual version of its popular live event. The Virtual Diversity Business and Leadership Summit focused on employees who wanted the DBLS experience but could not attend in person. Nearly 2,000 employees participated in 60 learning events during the six-month virtual summit.

Finally, to increase access and reach our employees directly, Sodexo also ramped up its diversity digital media presence. Over 3,100 fans from around the globe now follow our diversity page on Facebook!

Our progress is exciting and impactful, but with each new year our journey evolves and we must realign our efforts to avoid complacency. Success only means we must raise the bar, identify new opportunities, and embed diversity and inclusion deeper into our organizational culture. The awards, our clients, and our people tell us we’re on the right path, which we will remain on for years to come.

Education: BA, Albion College
First Job: Stock boy on the loading dock of my father’s candy and tobacco wholesale distributorship
What I’m Reading: Employer Brand Leadership, by Brett Minchington
My Philosophy: Be yourself; treat everyone around you with respect and dignity; be open to new possibilities; listen to good advice.
Best Advice: Keeping employees happy is attainable by providing clear direction, setting expectations, and communicating intent.
Family: Married with two sons
Interests: Playing the piano, golf, Pittsburgh Steelers
Favorite Charity: Sodexo Foundation