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Virtual Town Hall Series: Black Franchisee Perspectives during COVID-19 and the Anti-Racism Movement
COVID-19, the economic shutdown, and the Anti-racism movement are challenging Black businesses in unique ways. Blacks and Latinos are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than their White counterparts; and are exposed more at work. The killing of George Floyd has launched an anti-racism movement. Small and minority-owned businesses have been hit hard by the shutdown. As businesses begin to re-open, how are these issues affecting Black franchisees and their workforce? A solution requires a collaborative approach including corporate leaders, local stakeholders, and industry associations need to play a role in helping minority franchisees to survive the pandemic and ultimately to thrive.


- A framework for business owners on having a healthy, direct, and solutions-focused dialog about race, racism, and COVID-19.

- Understanding from franchisees on how these developments have impacted their operation and community.

- Issue related best practices and policy changes to address business needs.

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Aug 5, 2020 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Gerry Fernandez
President & Founder @Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance
As President and Founder of MFHA - an educational nonprofit organization that makes the business case for developing cultural intelligence in the workplace- Gerry has spent decades educating and advocating for the business benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry. With over 35 years of experience in the industry, Fernandez has held leadership and operational roles with several well-known companies including General Mills, The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar and The Capital Grille, now owned by Darden. An engagingly energetic Speaker who practices “straight talk”, he travels across the US and internationally, bringing authentic perspective on building Cultural Intelligence that raises the topline, improves the bottom-line, and builds brands’ cultural authenticity. Gerry was named to Nation’s Restaurant News 2018 Power List of the 50 Most Influential People in Foodservice.