Your Future... So Sodexo

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

Jerry Schafetz

Senior Manager, Sodexo Right Start Resource Mobilization
Simpsonville, SC

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
I joined Marriott Management Services as a K12 Facilities Resource Manager in 1996. Shortly thereafter, I attended training in Downers Grove, IL, and met up with Vijay Sharma. He was "IT" for K12 IT. I introduced myself and asked him not to forget me – as I wanted to be in IT also. Three years later I joined Vijay in IT for K12.

My career has evolved along with Sodexo's IS&T organization, going from divisionally-focused IT Support to Relationship Management IT, to my current position as Right Start Mobilization IT. While my previous life (pre-Sodexo) led directly to my facilities manager position, it was the training and support I received since joining Sodexo that has led to success in my IT career.

What advice do you have for someone looking to grow their career with Sodexo?
There are a ton of opportunities in Sodexo for advancement. No matter where you are now, you can go where you want to go if you apply yourself. Take advantage of the vast amount of training and networking opportunities offered by Sodexo.

Our culture is one that breeds success in others – all you need to do is ask. Let people know you are out there and that you have a strong desire to move to the next level. Map out a plan, work the plan, and be flexible. You never know what the next opportunity will be or when it will arrive. Get yourself prepared so you are ready to make the move and accept the new challenges and rewards that advancing your career brings.

Jim Ludwig, Jr.

Staff Applications System Analyst, CRM Implementation
Buffalo, NY

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
I started my Sodexo career in 2008 as an Applications Systems Analyst/Programmer. With the skills I’ve gained, I’ve been able to take on more projects and responsibilities, serving as an analyst/systems architect in the sales and retention arena. I’m looking to grow my career with Sodexo, expanding my knowledge of the different business areas. I’d like to gain a better understanding of the entire business lifecycle and learn more about the day-to-day operations of the units.

What is your typical day like?
I work in the CRM area, focusing on reporting and presenting data that can be employed by the user groups to better utilize the system. I facilitate the consumption of the CRM data by the sales, operations, data administration and finance teams, while monitoring the data coming in to improve the quality.

Weekly, I participate in status meetings with the administration team to address issues and establish best practices for each of the divisions.

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just one! I appreciate the many opportunities for growth within IS&T, with ample training and development. At Sodexo, I don’t feel like a cog in the system, but know that my opinion really matters and my contributions are valued. You won’t find our team sitting in cubes all day, but out interacting with our internal partners on exciting projects that truly impact the organization.

In addition, the benefits are great with vacation time that allows me to be with my family and flexibility that allows me to telecommute when needed. It’s real work-life balance.

What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
New issues crop up every day, so creative problem solving is key. And because we interact with our users quite a bit, customer service is also a big priority. You’ll find that our IS&T group is very outgoing and accommodating with big personalities. You can tell that our team members really care about each other, especially at our quarterly meetings, where it feels like a big family reunion.

What motivates you?
I feed off of the people that I work with on a daily basis. I’ve built good relationship with the end users of our CRM and value their satisfaction. I guess I’m a people-pleaser! By helping others do their job better, the organization benefits and everybody wins.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I spend the majority of my free time with friends and family. I enjoy coaching my son’s baseball team three seasons a year and also bowl in a men’s league. My family loves taking trips to Walt Disney World, and I’m known around the office as the go-to Disney guy when someone is planning a trip. I guess you could say I’m a Disney-nut!

Steve Ginter

Sr. Architect, Supply Management IS&T
Buffalo, NY

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
I started as a temp for a data entry position in Sodexho-Marriott’s Y2K National PC Rollout project in April of 1999. I already had some programming experience, so from there I moved into developing small databases for the Help Desk. Then I transitioned over to writing reports for Unit Financial System. I wound up on the EDW Reporting team during the Power IT SAP/EDW project in 2002-2003. After that, I moved over to the MySodexhoApps.com team. I worked on many projects over the years before transferring to Supply Management in November 2011.

What is your typical day like?
I spend a lot of time interacting with many different people, both in business roles and in IS&T development and support roles. Most of my job involves working with our business owners to define requirements; then I design the technical solution and work with the various IS&T teams to make it happen. Whenever we discuss a new project, there’s always a focus on how this will benefit Sodexo, so it’s great to constantly see the difference that we are making.

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
Sodexo IS&T is a very large and diverse organization. There are many different teams focusing around specialties like programming, networks or databases, and I learn so much by interacting with them every day. I get a lot of exposure to different facets of IS&T that I don’t think I would get in other organizations.

What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
You have to be very organized, and you have to pay attention to the details. Some of our systems are very large and complex, and all of the hundreds of pieces fit together like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Every single piece needs to be designed to fit together perfectly with every other piece, otherwise the system won’t work correctly.

What motivates you?
I love doing projects that will make peoples’ lives easier. Whether it’s just a small application that helps a few people by automating some manual processes, or if it’s a large enterprise-wide system that will revolutionize an entire segment of our company, it’s great to build something that will save people time and save the company money.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I love to travel. I recently returned from two weeks in India, where I toured different areas of the country and attended a wedding for an Indian co-worker. I also enjoy video games, and in the past few years I’ve gotten involved in fixing and restoring antique tractors.

John Wruck

Lead Specialist, IS&T Identity & Access Management
Buffalo, NY

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
I first joined Sodexo as a help desk contractor in 2010 and after a year of learning the business, I officially joined the Sodexo team. Another year later, and after taking on additional projects and gaining new skills, I was promoted to Lead Specialist with the Identity and Access Management team. I’ve gone from entry-level help desk support to partnering with a global team, from places like Paris and Singapore, on major projects impacting the organization. It’s been a great opportunity for growth.

What is your typical day like?
I spend about three-quarters of my day programming and testing code with the remainder of my time spent in meetings or working on various projects. We recently completed a major project of automating many of the user access requests with more request types identified to be automated in the future. I have been involved with the systems support of our new Enterprise Vault email system, and am currently involved in a global initiative of merging North American and Global infrastructure for Identity and Access Management.

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
For me, it’s been the opportunity for personal and professional growth. With the new skill sets I’ve learned while at Sodexo, I’ve experienced growth in both a career and personal sense. I actually didn’t know how to write programs when I first started at Sodexo, but given the opportunity I was able to successfully learn.

While I’ve been with Sodexo, my wife and I have had two additional children. The flexibility, benefits and paid time off have allowed me to be there for my family and achieve real work-life balance.

What motivates you?
I’m motivated by a sense of accomplishment. There are continuous challenges and opportunities to accomplish something for the betterment of Sodexo: saving time, money and hassle for the system users. I get satisfaction out of providing solutions that allow people to focus their time on what is important – providing Quality of Life services.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
Outside of work, I spend the majority of my time with my wife and kids. We go to community events, camp at State Parks, and visit family. I also enjoy playing video games long-distance with my cousin in South Carolina.

What would you say to someone considering a career with Sodexo?
Sodexo is the first company I’ve worked for that I would recommend to a friend, based on the culture, atmosphere and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Jamel Perkins

Senior Director of Project Management Office, IS&T Group
Buffalo, NY

 

What led you to your current position at Sodexo?
Prior to joining Sodexo in 2013, I served as a managing partner with a national consulting firm in California and as the VP, CIO for Delaware North Companies. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to build relationships with Sodexo executives through various professional associations and developed a respect for the organization. My admiration for the brand definitely influenced my decision to accept the Senior Director of Project Management Office position within the IS&T team.

Transitioning into my current role with Sodexo has been smooth with many parallels between my experience working in the hospitality and food service industries, along with my consulting and financial services experience.

What is your typical day like?
On a typical day, I interact with many groups within the organization, including business and technology project managers, program leaders, business process leaders, human relations and offer development, along with senior leaders in technology, finance and anyone else in between!

I am responsible for managing the IS&T steering and governance functions, which have a cross-functional representation from functions including supply, sales, offer development and technology. The steering committee works through an evolving methodology to approve technology-based initiatives, while ranking priorities and giving transparency to the workload and activities of the technology group.

Behind the scenes, I focus on project and portfolio management in the IS&T group. This involves employing solid project management methodology to control and capture insight on projects from an IT and business perspective.

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
While many organizations talk the talk when it comes to work-life balance, Sodexo delivers by actually walking the walk. And the openness to diversity at Sodexo is refreshing and sincere; it's not just a marketing pitch, but something that is engrained in the culture through and through. The people of Sodexo have a genuine passion for the business and a commitment to the organization. They truly care about getting the job done, retaining clients and doing the right thing for the business. All of this combined makes Sodexo an awesome place to work.

What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
Hard work, diligence and the ability to think outside the box are the fundamental skills needed for success. Beyond that, the ability and willingness to work within a team, being a self-starter, a desire to work for progress, and a passion for seeking out knowledge are traits of strong candidates for IS&T careers with Sodexo.

What motivates you?
Being surrounded by a world-class group of people, both in skill and professionalism. There is a fantastic group of people here at Sodexo! I'm also driven by the process of enabling projects and initiatives from the idea through implementation. It's rewarding to see how the business benefits from our work when it comes to fruition.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I enjoy being involved and connected to my community. I do this through board work and by serving as an adjunct professor at Canisius College and as a trustee at another local college. I'm an avid snowboarder, spending my teenage years traveling and competing as a sponsored professional. After breaking for college, I returned to snowboarding semi-professionally, enjoying the opportunity to ride and network with an amazing community of athletes. Now, my wife and two young daughters love to ski and we enjoy multigenerational trips with our extended family to the mountains in Utah.

Mike Hayden

Senior Director, IS&T Food and Retail Systems
Gaithersburg, MD

 

What is your typical day like?
Today, we are focused on the Integrated Retail Systems solution set. We're working on the fine balance of resources between building the new strategic suite of systems and gathering in the currently deployed Sodexo systems. Half of my days are filled with discussions over diagrams for the next phase of transformation, while the other half is working through support of existing technologies and working through decisions about what needs renewal, enhancement or replacement.

Whenever I have a chance and with the help of many in Sodexo, I am learning more and more about the organization and the multitude of businesses. The potential for our systems transformation is absolutely exciting.

What is the best part of working for Sodexo?
I just completed the Spirit of Inclusion workshop, and I am supremely impressed. Sodexo really embraces the concept of respecting everyone's opportunity to contribute. There is no greater motivator to effective teams.

What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
In my area, we need a mix of approaches to problems with each person bringing a slightly different perspective. Embracing those differences and accepting the value of each makes us more competent than any one individual can be.

Our mission heavily depends on many operational departments working together, so consensus-building in business process is important. Our teams have to be open to understanding the varied perspectives of each business team.

What motivates you?
I am motivated by being recognized as a contributor, and I believe that most people feel the same way. My personality strives for structure, so I am constantly looking to build permanent structures that enable success for the mission of the company. When I came to Sodexo, there was already a great deal of momentum in this direction, so I am excited about the possibilities for our future.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I enjoy working with wood and other materials to make useful (and sometimes artful) objects, but have found that my participation in parish and school activities has swallowed up most of my free time.

Diane Weigel

Help Desk and Access Management Director
Williamsville, NY

 

What has your career path been like at Sodexo?
I joined Sodexo as a Tech Support Analyst in 1991, working my way up through a variety of different positions, on many different teams. There has never been a shortage of opportunities for learning, growth and development.

What has working on the Sodexo IS&T team meant to you?
The IS&T organization is like a family to me. There’s a lot of longevity at Sodexo and as we’ve all grown up in this company, relationships have been key. We may have changed positions, but those relationships continue. This is particularly valuable when finding solutions for Help Desk customers. Our team of twenty takes 100,000 calls a year and is able to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction by utilizing our networks to provide the best solutions.

How are new employees impacted by these established relationships?
For new people coming in, the open and inclusive environment allows them to easily make new relationships and contribute. The path to success exists, but you’re not on your own. You are guided and mentored; the network is in place and you’re able to leverage pre-existing relationships.

What should potential candidates know about working for Sodexo?
Sodexo has a corporate awareness of work/life balance. The IS&T team at Sodexo works hard, but not the extended hours that many smaller firms demand. There is time left over for family and for play, which is important.

Because of Sodexo’s innovative nature, every day is different with new challenges keeping the job fresh. Our days are very dynamic!

Roopesh Ranganathan

Senior Director (Global IS&T)
Buffalo, NY

 

Accountable for Sodexo's global system for Hard FM delivery and ongoing evolutions. Areas of focus include team building, product roadmap, enabling worldwide/timezone support, localization strategy, strategic planning, programme / project management and execution, process redesign and continuous improvement, business case development, budgeting.

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