“What I realized with Aramark was that its core values aligned with my core values. So, when you have that alignment, the right environment, and the right things to look forward to, it just works.”
Not only has Heatherly developed better hospitality and service skills since her first job with Aramark, but she has transformed into a dynamic, forward-thinking leader in the workplace, believing in the importance of being purposeful in her long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“One of the things that I’m most proud of from my time at East Carolina, is when I got an award on behalf of Aramark for our work with vocational rehabilitation in Pitt County, which was working with diverse people of all backgrounds and levels of ability. Even way back in the 90s, Aramark was always committed to that kind of work. We always knew it was good for business, because what’s good for people is going to be good for business. If you empower people, you give people the skill set, and you get a diverse group of people to solve an issue, you’re going to get a great outcome.”
Striving to create better workplaces in various aspects, Heatherly reflects on the intersection of diverse team building, forward-thinking sustainability practices, and service-minded work during her time as a District Manager at Arizona State University, where she oversaw the Aramark Engrained Cafe on campus. Engrained has become a model for sustainability, incorporating six sustainability commitments that influenced the architecture of the restaurant, food that is served daily, and the design of the space that reduces reliance on electricity.
“If you think about sustainability, it’s more than just food, it’s about water conservation. It’s about lifestyle. There are so many components, which I think is what is so interesting about sustainability. Our Farm to Fork initiative has really grown, but if you think about our Be Well Do Well Initiative, and how it’s about people and planet, sustainability is about way more than just Farm to Fork. If you think about the world and how food, people, and all these things come together, how do you make sure it’s there for the future? It just seemed like a natural ‘aha’ moment.”
While Heatherly has been relentless in her pursuit of effective leadership practices and transforming college campuses, she hasn’t lost sight of the initial sense of excitement that first drew her to a career in hospitality.
“It’s been a fast 27 years. I can tell you it’s been a blur, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
To learn more about Brandi’s experience as a college student, her love for higher education, her passion for diversity & inclusion and more, check out the Q&A in this post!