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, California–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,” says Rob Gifford, executive vice president of 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 from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

·      Passport Pizza from Clinton Township, Michigan

·      Cohn Restaurant Group from San Diego, California

·      Panda Restaurant Group from Rosemead, California

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 from Sacramento, California

·      Mansour Ghalibaf, owner, Hotel Northampton from Northampton, Massachusetts

·      Jahangir Kabir, district supervisor, White Castle System Inc. from Woodside, New York

“The restaurant industry has touched the lives of millions of people by creating opportunity and investing in communities across the country,” Gifford says. “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.”

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