Food Management Digizine - Q1 2023

GETTING TO KNOW FLIK’S SARI FELTMAN Mike Buzalka school community. Over the summer I was able to really see the team in action, going from ‘prep mode’ to ‘opening mode’ in just a few weeks. We opened over 25 new schools from coast to coast in addition to re- opening all of our existing schools for the back-to-school season.” Q: You’ve been busy! I’m really interested in Human-Centered design! Can you tell me a bit more about that and how you’re seeing it relate to dining? A: “We recognize that every school is unique; personalization has become a critical aspect of FISD’s approach to designing the community experiences and delivering innovation. FISD isn’t just about the dining hall, but about the hospitality experience overall. If wea use human- centered design thinking to approach how each campus functions, we can truly create something that’s transformative and serves our students, faculty and staff in unique and exciting ways. “That might mean leveraging space traditionally used for dining into a collaborative learning environment outside of lunch hours where students can host working sessions with readily available brain-boosting snacks; it could manifest itself in programming that speaks to the specific campus community; or it can simply create efficiencies over lunch periods, so students spend less time online waiting for lunch and instead enjoying time to socialize over delicious, nutritious food. Only time will tell, but I’m very interested in exploring today’s students, parents, faculty, staff and administration’s points of view into our innovation process.”

First and foremost, let’s say it loud and proud: Sari Feltman has broken a glass ceiling: “I’m so excited to join the FLIK team and be the first female division president of the FLIK Independent School Dining (FISD) team!” We asked Feltman a few key questions to get to know her.

Q: How did you get your current job and what were you doing before? “Prior to joining FLIK, I was a principal consultant, leading businesses in transformational change, helping create roadmaps for success and driving innovation. “My earlier years, nearly three decades, were spent in global food services, software and facilities management. I am an operator at heart and it has always been my passion to solve problems and make a difference. When I left operations, after my first decade in the hospitality industry, it was to pursue a winding path in just about every functional role in my quest to learn, grow and broaden my understanding of how the business works. “FLIK Hospitality Group and the Compass team have always been on my radar as an organization leading the pack in hospitality and dining services and when the right opportunity came up for me to be a part of the team and help determine what the next decades of service look like, I couldn’t pass it up.” Q: Where are you based and will you be traveling a lot? “I’m based in New Jersey, but like most of my team, I value being on campus and working from our schools rather than in a traditional office. Being immersed in the day-to-day hospitality experience on campus helps ensure I’m keeping a pulse on the state of our business. I draw a lot of inspiration from seeing our associates in action.” Q: What have you been doing to get yourself acclimated to Flik? “Mission critical has been spending time with our people who make it happen every day to fully understand the ins and outs of our business and uncover opportunities for growth and innovation in the upcoming school year. “I’ve been spending time with my new colleagues, absorbing all the historical knowledge and information they have to share, meeting with clients and discussing how FISD can add increased value to the

“I draw a lot of from seeing our associates in action.” inspiration

Q: We’ll stay in touch to find out about some very cool initiatives you have in the works, but first, can you tell us about efforts for diversity? A: “We’re making our commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging much louder. Through dedicated leadership development and programming managed by FLIK Hospitality Group’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Council (DIAC), we’re implementing more structured trainings for our associates to ensure an inclusive and accepting workplace. In collaboration with FLIK’s Entrepreneurial Council (a small group of impassioned employees dedicated to investing in and improving the employment cycle of Black and Brown associates from hire to retire), this programming will be available to all our school communities, parents and students to create an environment where innovation thrives and individuals’ values are integrated and respected.


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