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Partner in respect: Sodexo

Sodexo is a leading global quality of life services provider.   In the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Sodexo delivers services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site settings.  Known for its commitment to a diverse workforce, Sodexo has earned many honors for diversity and inclusion, including the prestigious  2012 Catalyst Award for exceptional business practices that advance women and people of color in the workplace and a remarkable #2-ranking in DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

Sodexo is a very important strategic partner for GLSEN because they touch the lives of more than two million students every day.  Sodexo provides nutrition services and school meal programs as well as facilities management to nearly 500 school districts.  In addition, Sodexo prides itself on supporting the communities in which it operates by providing scholarships, supporting food banks and partnering with local businesses.   

According to Sodexo Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Rohini Anand “Sodexo’s partnership with GLSEN represents a win-win partnership because our core missions are the same – to ensure every student can achieve his or her fullest potential in a safe and supportive environment.”   

Globally, Sodexo works closely with its business and community partners across a broad spectrum of diversity interests.  In the U.S.,  Sodexo has earned the top score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for six consecutive years.   In addition, Sodexo is a founding member of the National Gay and Lesbian of Chamber of Commerce, involved with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, and has supported GLSEN since 2010, specifically because of a shared commitment to equal opportunity in education, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Sodexo’s partnership with GLSEN is multi-faceted.  It includes annual sponsorship of the GLSEN Educator of the Year Award, presented at the Respect Awards New York to an educator who has shown an extraordinary commitment to ensuring safe schools for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.  GLSEN and Sodexo also share and exchange expertise of leadership:  Anand, is on GLSEN's Board of Directors, and GLSEN’s Executive Director Eliza Byrd is a member of Sodexo’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.

Sodexo also leverages GLSEN research about school safety issues to educate its 17,000 on-site employees in the K-12 schools.  Sodexo lunchrooms are a safe environment for LGBT students, as training programs raise awareness about the anti-LGBT bullying and harassment that can occur in schools and help ensure that LGBT students feel safe, secure and respected in lunchrooms managed by Sodexo.

“Sodexo is a model partner for GLSEN, but more important, for LGBT students who are in school lunchrooms,” said Byard.  “This is a company that wants to create a culture of respect for differences, both in its global organization and in the schools, hospitals, and corporations where it provides services.  Safety is critical to students, as our research shows that lunchrooms are places where LGBT students are often harassed.  We are thrilled to work with a partner like Sodexo, which has incorporated this critical message of respect into training programs and guidelines for its managers.”