MFHA Leader Announces His Retirement

Gerry A. Fernandez founded the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance in 1996. In 2024, he will fall back to an advisory role.

GerryFernandez
Gerry A. Fernandez. Courtesy of MFHA.

Gerry A. Fernandez, the founder and president of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, will turn the page on a new chapter in 2024.

After 27 years at the helm of MFHA, Fernandez today announced his intention to retire on Dec. 31, at which time he will transition to an advisory role. MFHA will conduct a national search for his successor.

Fernandez’s restaurant and hospitality industry career spans nearly 50 years and is punctuated by his legacy of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, and creating opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

“His innate leadership, commitment to others’ success, and passion for hospitality have helped thousands of restaurant and foodservice workers build a future of opportunity.”

Fernandez developed a supplier diversity directory and conducted the industry’s first diverse practices survey. In 2022, MFHA, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and Cornell University issued a new DEI Report outlining the effectiveness of DEI practices among restaurant employees. That report resulted in MFHA’s launch of ELEVATE, an award-winning comprehensive framework and toolkit that restaurants can use to build a successful DEI program.

“Gerry has a gift for convening thought leaders and for putting plans into action in service to our industry,” says Michelle Korsmo, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the NRAEF. “His innate leadership, commitment to others’ success, and passion for hospitality have helped thousands of restaurant and foodservice workers build a future of opportunity.”

Fernandez, who has earned multiple awards and recognitions throughout his career, holds a bachelor’s degree in foodservice management and a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University. He previously managed operations at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill, Oyster Bar and The Capital Grille before transitioning into foodservice research and development at General Mills, which supported him in the 1996 launch of MFHA.

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