Your Future... So Sodexo

Read stories about real Sodexo people who help make a difference in the lives of people like you.

 

 

Joanna Chan

Sodexo Resident District Manager
Centegra Health Systems

 

Where did you start with Sodexo and how did your career progress?
I joined Sodexo in 1994 as a Retail Manager in Healthcare at St. Catherine’s Hospital. I had just graduated from Roosevelt University with a B.S. in Hospitality Management. Three years later I was promoted to my first Director role before directing the Food and Nutrition department at St. Alexius Medical Center for a total of 10 years. Next, I led Food and Nutrition for two multi-unit accounts before being promoted to General Manager at yet another account. I was promoted to Resident District Manager last fall and currently oversee both Food and Nutrition and Environmental Services at Centegra Health Systems.

If you could give your entry-level self some career advice, what would you say?
I would tell myself to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone and learn as much as you can.  In particular, learn the Sodexo programs that are out there and make the programs work for the unit that you are in. These programs were created for a reason and have proven to be successful, so make sure you use them. I did leave Sodexo for a short period of time; and from that, I learned that you shouldn’t leave a great organization if you are not happy with your current role. Work it out while being honest and transparent about your challenges, and seek help from your leadership team, mentors or human resources.

Deborah Woody

Custodial Manager
Hobart College

 

How did Sodexo impact your life?
It’s afforded me the opportunity to raise my son and send him to college. Career-wise, it has allowed me the opportunity to advance and to learn. The sky’s the limit for trainings.

What’s your personal experience working for Sodexo?
I’ve always felt that here, working for Sodexo, is a family. I made the right choice. Everyone made me feel welcome, and everyone took the opportunity to acknowledge that I was here. I felt that I was part of this team and everyone would do everything necessary to help me succeed.

How do you feel your work impact others?
We do make a difference, and they (students) do notice. Surveys are done after-the-fact, a big reason why students choose where they go is the way the campus looks. They send notes and emails and letters to my office and also the supervisor’s office, praising the housekeepers on what they’ve done. During my weekly meetings, I take all of those memos, and I read them in front of everybody. So everybody’s aware that even though some may think that this is a thankless job, we are appreciated and we try to make that well-known with our folks.

Paula Nenneman

General Manager
Nebraska Medical Center

 

How did your career at Sodexo start?
My career started as a military wife where I worked in the Navy Housing offices. Through our travels I ended up in Omaha and worked for a housing complex with apartments. I spent several years there in the service industry and really enjoyed helping people and meeting their needs. The position came up with Sodexo here at the Nebraska Medical Center and I took that opportunity. 

Could you share your favorite day-in-the-life moment at Sodexo?
My favorite day at Sodexo is that Halloween pediatric parade that we have here. Each year the care providers dress the kids up in Halloween outfits and all the nurses, techs and managers all dress up in fantastic outfits. They parade around the atrium. Each of the departments throughout the organization have a little table, has wonderful gifts on there. You can see the relief and the joy on the parents’ faces when their kids are just having fun and doing something that makes them feel just like a normal kid. It’s such a rewarding thing.

How is Sodexo employing people with disabilities at your account? 
They work at some of our laboratories, public restrooms, in the hotels, and also in the kitchens. They have a mentor and then they work together with a housekeeper to learn the skills needed to complete those job tasks. It’s a ten week program and once the graduate they could be eligible for a job if they apply and are approved for a job. 

Olga Echevarria

Housekeeping Manager
Nebraska Medical Center

 

How did you advance your career at Sodexo?
When I was working as a housekeeping staff, my manager always came to me and asked “When are you going to apply to be a manager?” I wanted to wait until my daughter was done with high school. After she graduated I applied and got the promotion! During manager training they showed me how to do paperwork, payroll, runs with my buildings and empower and reward my staff. I’m now in charge of thirty people.  Half of them know me because I used to work with them as a housekeeper. I help out as much as I can so they can get to know me a little better as a person and manager!

What advice would you give to those looking to more into management?
Sodexo gave me this great opportunity to be a manager. And I tell my staff who want to move up ‘Don’t be scared. If one of you dreams to be a supervisor or manager, just do it.  If I can do it, you can do it.’”

How do you feel your work impact others?
Close to 2015 Valentine’s Day, I noticed that our patients who came from other towns don’t have any families with them during holidays. So I had an idea to do some cards for them. We called the daycare to make 400 Valentine’s Day cards and have kids to help bringing the cards to the patients. I have such positive feedbacks from the patients. From then on we do it for almost all holidays, and we’re still doing it. My manager sent the story to the company newsletter, and I even received a thank-you letter from the president of Sodexo.

Horace Fulton

Operations Manager
Nebraska Medical Center

 

What’s your personal experience working for Sodexo?
Sodexo is an awesome company to work for. They give you plenty of opportunity for promotion, advancement, and education. We’ve had a lot of line employees that were afforded the opportunity to become managers. We’ve clung to this organization so that we’re almost so tight knit you can’t even tell us apart. I think that’s amazing, and I think it’s because we employ so many things that makes this operation run so well.

How do you ensure that your team provides a high level of customer service?
We meet with all the Nurse Managers on a monthly basis just to make sure that we have that level of influence to keep that relationship built strong. And I think that all of the things that we do, like interviewing the patients on a daily basis, making sure that they’re happy and that things are going well, and meeting with our staff on a daily basis and making sure that they understand our mission and how we serve our customers.

How do you feel your work impact others?
Our number one concern is the health of our patients. By making sure their rooms are clean and disinfected, they feel comfortable in their setting. All of the things that we do, like interviewing the patients on a daily basis to make sure that they’re happy and that things are going well, helps make a big impact on the overall patient experience.

Amy Albright

District Manager, Healthcare
Central Florida

 

What led you to choose a career in this industry and Sodexo?
I can honestly say I didn’t find the job, it found me. I was not sure what I wanted to do out of college. I was given the opportunity to meet my future GM at a social gathering and he explained to me what he did and asked if I was interested in a career in healthcare. I have experienced more than 18 years of progressive job responsibility and promotions with Sodexo. I am respected for my Environmental Services knowledge and corporate program implementation handling.

Describe your average work day.
I am the General Manager with direct responsibilities for all Environmental Services and Patient Transport functions, with oversight responsibilities of Food and Nutrition, for Arnold Palmer Hospital (APH), a 158 bed children’s hospital, and the Winnie Palmer Hospital (WPH), a 273 bed Women’s and Babies hospital. I supervise a management team and staff of 188 full time associates in Environmental Services and 25 full time associates in Patient Transport. I have budget responsibility for $6.7 million dollars in managed volume, customer satisfaction, purchasing procedures, and all daily functions of the Support Services Department.

What do you like most about working for Sodexo?
Sodexo is a strong, growth oriented company that has strength in the food service industry and is working to create an equally strong market for exceptional Environmental Services programs. Sodexo offers you many avenues for advancement, whether it is in your current position or your future one.

Have you been able to build relationships with your customers?
Yes, I am considered part of the Hospital Administrative team. I am included in all the Manager programs, meetings and social events. Many people don’t even know I am a contracted employee for the hospital.

What have been the biggest rewards in your career?
I have won several district awards over the past 5 years, which shows that my dedication and expertise is being recognized by upper level execs.

David Flatt

Environmental Services General Manager
Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights, IL

 

What has your career path looked like?
After operating a successful commercial cleaning company for 16 years, Dave’s career with the Sodexo Health Care division began in 2007. He started as an ES Manager in Greeley, CO under the direction of Brad Igler and within 5 months was promoted to an ES Operations Manager. Prior to his current position at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Dave served in the ES General Manager role at Washington Adventist Hospital (Takoma Park, MD), Bonner General Hospital (Sandpoint, ID) and Carolinas Hospital System (Florence, SC).

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
Dave has had the privilege early on of working with ES teams that were clearly focused on improving the overall patient experience, while improving employee satisfaction. A passion for what Sodexo can give back to our front line employees, while making a difference in the lives of patients and hospital staff became a real driving force in the development of his management skills.

What motivates you?
"I am so blessed to have the opportunity to touch so many lives, from patients, families, hospital employees and our front line staff; I could not have crafted a more fulfilling path for my career.”

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
Dave is married and has two grown daughters and 3 grandchildren. When not guiding his ES team at Northwest Community Hospital, Dave spends much of his time as an active musician, playing Blues and Rock harmonica.

Ashley Sonzeu

General Manager, Environmental Services
Sodexo Healthcare Services
Southwest Healthcare Systems, Temecula, CA

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
Surprisingly I started out in the Environmental Services industry knowing very little. I accepted a supervisor position while completing my undergrad degree in Business-Public Administration, from there my interest grew. After several promotions and company changes, I was interested in transitioning into a role with more responsibility and the potential for career growth. I was familiar with Sodexo and had been contacted by recruiters for positions in Southern California. After interviewing, I saw the potential for growth and accepted an Operations Manager role for Southwest Healthcare Systems in May 2013. Soon after, I accepted the General Manager role in February 2014. I now oversee two hospitals, Rancho Springs Medical Center and Inland Valley Medical Center.

What is your typical day like?
I’m fortunate to have very hands-on clients in the CEO and COO roles at my account. Right out of the gate, I was responsible for building rapport as we were just months out from negotiating a contract renewal. By building strong relationships, driving down costs and successfully implementing sustainability programs, I was able to successfully renew the contract for an additional two years.

Day to day, I work on implementing Sodexo’s initiatives, streamlining processes, performing rounds and visiting with patients to ensure patient satisfaction, connecting with department heads, working on budgets, sitting on committees, reducing costs through linen management and focusing on infection control priorities. Every day is a new opportunity!

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
I have found so much value in the partnership and mentorship from my District Manager. He works directly with me to develop my potential as a leader and support my growth with the company. The support for professional development through industry events and exposure to different lines of the business has also helped me expand my skills.

What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
Being open and eager to learn new processes and networking with others in our field of expertise. The key is to stay on top of what’s happening in the industry and to be able to implement innovative ideas to improve processes in your unit.

What motivates you?
My motivation includes; Quest for personal development and yearning to evolve in my role, Love for constant challenges, both expected and unforeseen, and job satisfaction- the excellence in driving force. I enjoy the everyday responsibilities of a role and undertake them with enthusiasm and interest.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I’m a fitness enthusiast, enjoying all that Southern California has to offer. I spend my time CrossFitting, running, traveling to new places, and spending time at the beach.

Lori Osborne

General Manager, Multi-Service
University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, NC

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
I joined Sodexo thirteen years ago, after hearing about an opportunity from my sister. Early in my Sodexo career, I spent two years at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Hospitals as a Manager 1. Knowing that I wanted to return to at some point, I left UNC to grow my career at other Sodexo accounts. My path took me to Waccamaw Hospital in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, for an Operations Manager position that I stayed at for 2 years. I moved into my first General Manager position at Piedmont Medical Center over eight years ago, before returning to UNC for my current role.

Why did you want to return to UNC?
The University of North Carolina Hospitals are unique. The staff is great to work with and everyone is on the same page with the patient as priority number one.

What is your typical day like?
Before hitting meetings for the day, I check on staffing with the managers of each of our departments. I meet with the client and our Sodexo team weekly, while keeping up constant communication with employees, managers and the client. Daily, I perform quality control rounds in high traffic areas, talk with my management team and focus on patient satisfaction. My priority is being present throughout the facility, interacting with staff and patients.

How do you improve the Quality of Life of patients?
I enjoy the opportunity to do rounds with my client three days a week, allowing me to evaluate the experience of patients and their families. By leading the hospital in the courtesy category through Sodexo’s CARES behaviors, we’ve been able to increase UNC’s Press Ganey scores by twenty points this year and are in the 93rd percentile. We’ve successfully implemented programs like Housekeeping-on-Demand, where our housekeepers are equipped with a phone and business cards to provide to patients. The patients can request housekeeping services at any time by calling their housekeeper.

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
The lifetime friends that I’ve made through my years with the company. Although people move throughout the company, we stay connected. That network gives us the opportunity to learn about other innovations that are rolling out throughout the country. This makes change happen. If you are not changing you are falling behind! We share resources, ideas and solutions.

What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
You have to have an upbeat personality, the ability to motivate others and care about making a difference in people’s lives. In a hospital that is something you can do every day.

What motivates you?
Being the best departments we can be. We are constantly reaching for 99, the top score on Press Ganey and HCAHPS scoring systems.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I have a humongous garden that I love spending time in. I also enjoy fishing, target shooting and golf.

 

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