National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Recognizes Extraordinary Achievement and Leadership in the Restaurant Industry

2014-05-01
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  • National Restaurant Association The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) honored its 2014 Restaurant Neighbor and Faces of Diversity American Dream award winners, and announced the 2014 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award, at a gala last night during the National Restaurant Association's Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

    The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) honored its 2014 Restaurant Neighbor and Faces of Diversity American Dream award winners, and announced the 2014 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award, at a gala last night during the National Restaurant Association's Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

    The 2014 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality award, the premiere award bestowed by the NRAEF to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry, was awarded to Jackie Trujillo, Chairman Emeritus of Harman Management, a Los Altos, Calif.-based franchise corporation that operates more than 300 KFC restaurants and several others that are cobranded with Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and A&W. Long considered an industry pioneer, Trujillo began her restaurant career in 1953 and has since worked at all levels of the industry as she ascended the corporate ladder and, in 1988, was a founding member of the Women's Foodservice Forum.

    "For decades, Jackie has been a pioneer of the restaurant industry, paving the way for those who follow her, especially women, to climb the ladder and assume leadership positions in restaurants and corporations across the country," said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy for the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. "Her passion is infectious and she exemplifies precisely what it means to be a leader in the restaurant industry. We're excited to recognize Jackie with the NRAEF's highest honor for all she has done to advance our mission and exemplify the positive work restaurants and restaurateurs do."

    The Foundation's Restaurant Neighbor Award, developed in partnership with American Express, celebrates the outstanding charitable service performed by restaurant operators. Created 16 years ago, this award recognizes the impact restaurants and entrepreneurs have made on their local communities.

    Recipients of the 2014 Restaurant Neighbor Award received a $5,000 contribution to continue supporting their charitable initiatives. The winners were:


    • Matt Haley, CEO, SoDel Concepts (Rehoboth Beach, Del.)
    • Passport Pizza (Clinton Township, Mich.)
    • Cohn Restaurant Group (San Diego, Calif.)
    • Panda Restaurant Group (Rosemead, Calif.)
    The Faces of Diversity American Dream award, sponsored by PepsiCo Foodservice, is given to diverse members of the restaurant industry who have, through hard work and perseverance, achieved the American Dream.

    The 2014 Faces of Diversity American Dream Award went to three restaurant entrepreneurs. The winners are:


    • Griselda Barajas, president and CEO, Griselda's Catering (Sacramento, Calif.)
    • Mansour Ghalibaf, owner, Hotel Northampton (Northampton, Mass.)
    • Jahangir Kabir, district supervisor, White Castle System, Inc. (Woodside, N.Y.)
    "The restaurant industry has touched the lives of millions of people by creating opportunity and investing in communities across the country," Gifford added. "The 2014 winners of the Restaurant Neighbor, Faces of Diversity and Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality awards are models for the entrepreneurship and community service that are the hallmarks of our industry. We applaud their extraordinary achievements."

    For more information on the Restaurant Neighbor and Faces of Diversity Award programs, as well as the national winners and finalists, visit the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's website at www.nraef.org/Build-Talent/What-We-Do/Restaurant-Neighbor/. For high-resolution photos and videos of each winner, please email Ashley Rodriguez at arodriguez@fish-consulting.com.

    About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation: 
    As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.


    Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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