2000-12-06 Muskegon Chronicle Restaurant exec joins fight against racism

Restaurant exec joins fight against racism
Muskegon Chronicle

How organizations can benefit from valuing and properly managing cultural diversity will be the subject of a keynote address Friday at the Leadership Conference of the Ottawa Area Summit on Racism.

Rachelle Hodd-Phillips, chief diversity officer of the Advantica Restaurant Group, will give the speech at Hope College before about 150 invited leaders in business, education, religion, government, and community organizations, health care and the media.

Hood-Phillips joined the parent company of Denny’s Restaurants in 1995, after Denny’s faced charges of discriminatory practices.

Participants also will review videos and hear oral reports about concerns raised at town meetings on racism held Sept 28 in Holland Nov 02 in Grand Haven.

The review will help participants plan Summit on Racism to be held Feb 13 at Hope College.

“People at this conference will develop a vision of what a prejudice-free Ottawa area would look like, and strategies leaders can use to help eliminate racism in our communities,” said Gail Harrison, executive director of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.

Before joining Advantica, Hood-Phillips held leadership positions in private business, including 10 years of diversity work at Burger Kind Corp.

The Detroit native earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Michigan State University.

The Ottawa Area Summit on Racism is the start of a five-year process to break down barriers faced by people of color.

It is sponsored by the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance in collaboration with the African-American Support Group, Latin Americans United for Progress and the Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony, all of Holland.

The Ottawa County event is modeled after two successful summits held in 1999 and 2000 in Grand Rapids.

Some spaces are still available for the leadership conference. To register, call 846-9074.