April Kelly-Drummond: Meet the Woman Behind Denny’s Multicultural Initiatives

April Kelly-Drummond, Denny’s Director, Diversity Affairs and Multicultural Engagement (Photo Credit: Denny’s)

For over twenty years, April Kelly-Drummond has dedicated her efforts to Denny’s diversity initiatives. Daily, her leadership is demonstrated internally and externally with national and local civil rights initiatives. As Denny’s Director, Diversity Affairs and Multicultural Engagement, Drummond took time to talk with rolling out about Denny’s day-to-day operations and commitment to the community. In recognition of Women’s History Month, April Kelly-Drummond exemplifies the Female Success Factor.

How important are diversity and inclusion to the day-to-day operations of Denny’s?
It is incredibly important to our brand; Denny’s is committed to embracing the unique qualities of each employee and valuing those differences in thought, culture, and experiences. We are proud to have built a diverse and inclusive workforce and demonstrate our commitment by making diversity top-of-mind and celebrating it every day. Our internal and external culture is designed to promote our openness to all people, ideas and perspectives, and highlights our commitment to diversity while aligning with our corporate strategy and core values.

Name two best practices of Denny’s that empower women at the corporate and franchise level.
Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality – Denny’s has a Women’s Leadership Group with the goal to educate, elevate, and encourage our female leaders by attending conferences, lunch & learns and workshops that are designed to enhance both personal and professional growth. For example, Denny’s is a member of the Women’s FoodService Forum and every year, we sponsor a group of women to attend either the national conference or regional events. Also, Denny’s provides free access to the Women’s Food Service Forum database which included monthly webinars and additional resources to support career development.

Promote education, training and professional development for women – Denny’s tuition reimbursement, training and development are available to employees.  In support of women leadership in the restaurant industry, the company pays the membership for many women leaders, as well as supports their attendance at the Women’s Food Service Annual Conference.

Additionally, this is our third year to host a summer internship program at our corporate office with a focus to introduce a diverse group of both undergraduate and graduate students to the restaurant industry. We want to make sure these students understand the many career opportunities within our company and the restaurant industry as a whole.  Many previous interns have gone on to have careers at Denny’s.

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SOURCE: Rolling Out