President & Founder
Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA)
Nearly everyone who knows Gerald “Gerry” A. Fernandez and the work that he does for The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), describes him as a man of vision, integrity, and passion. As President and Founder of MFHA, a non-profit organization that promotes cultural intelligence in the workplace, Gerry has been recognized repeatedly over the years for his work in educating members on, and advocating for, the business benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry. His most recent recognition comes from Nation Restaurant News’ “Power List” 2014, featuring the 50 most powerful people leading and shaping today's restaurant industry, where he was cited as a Top Catalyst for promoting change. This is the second time he has been named to the coveted list, which counts mostly C-suite executives from leading companies and organizations in foodservice.
Quoting the article: “…Fernandez has tirelessly urged foodservice leaders to diversify their workforces, vendor networks, and customer bases to unlock their businesses’ full potential. In that time, the MFHA has emerged as the industry’s premier voice and solutions provider for multicultural business challenges and counts some of the world’s largest restaurant companies and food manufacturers among its roster of corporate members.”
Gerry A. Fernandez is the "voice" of MFHA, providing keen business building insights gained from actual multicultural member experiences. An engagingly energetic speaker who practices “straight talk,” he travels across the United States and internationally, bringing authentic perspective on building Cultural Intelligence that raises the topline, improves the bottom-line, and builds cultural authenticity into the brand.
A former Trustee of Johnson & Wales University, Gerry holds a bachelor's degree in foodservice management from the same school, where he also earned a culinary arts degree in 1976, and received an honorary doctorate in business administration in 1999.
Some Gerry’s most notable recognitions include:
- Nation’s Restaurant News, “Power List 50: Top Catalysts” February 2014
- Hermann G. Rusch Humanitarian Award from the American Culinary Federation
- Nation's Restaurant News, “50 Power Players,” January 2000
- Lodging Magazine, “75 Profiles in Leadership”
- The Black Culinary Alliance Heritage Award
- Rainbow/P.U.S.H. Coalition’s Reginald Lewis Trailblazer Award
- Nation’s Restaurant News, Innovator Award for founding MFHA
- APEX Award for Distinguished Service by Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine
He remains actively involved in allied organizations: Honorary Board Member of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The National Council of La Raza, The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), and the National Restaurant Association.