Gerald A. "Gerry" Fernandez, Sr., is president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), a national nonprofit "think tank" which promotes the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion in the food service and hospitality industries.
When asked about his greatest personal accomplishments, he says, “It’s a tie between having a long lasting marriage and being at the forefront of creating MFHA. Both efforts took tremendous effort and conviction. Both provide tremendous rewards and satisfaction.” When forecasting trends within the industry, Gerry suggests that the future of the industry from both a customer and employee perspective, is to be multicultural and global, saying, “To be successful in the future, leaders and organizations will have to become culturally competent in order to survive.”
Gerry serves on the board of the National Restaurant Association as an industry representative and is a member of the Compass Diversity Council. He is a past board member of La Oportunidad of St. Paul, Minn. and Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation of Minneapolis. He is an active member of the Women's Foodservice Forum, the American Culinary Federation and is a founding member of the Research Chefs Association. Additionally, he is the recipient of the Nation’s Restaurant News 2007 Innovator Award.
Gerry leaves alumni with these career words to live by:
“Always think about how and where you can add value to the organization for which you work. I ask myself constantly, 'Am I giving more than I take?' and 'How valuable am I to this organization and to this friendship?' If the answers to these questions are unclear, then you need to think about how you can add more value to people’s lives.”