The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is proud of the industry’s diversity. And we hope to inspire further inclusion through the annual Faces of Diversity Awards program. In partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, the Faces of Diversity Awards program honors individuals in the restaurant industry who have realized the American Dream through hard work, determination and enterprise.
Founded in 2006, this program was created to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion by highlighting model companies that have excelled in this area, as well as to raise awareness about the important role restaurants play in providing a ladder of opportunity for millions of Americans to achieve the American Dream.
A panel of industry leaders selects the winners, who will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC to be honored at an awards ceremony at the National Restaurant Association's Public Affairs Conference Gala Awards Dinner. In addition to the ceremony, a $2,500 scholarship will be made in the name of each winner to an aspiring student pursuing a career in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
2016 Faces of Diversity Award Recipients
Archna Becker arrived in the U.S. from India at the young age of 11. Three years later she began her career in the restaurant industry as a drive-thru worker at a quick service restaurant. She continued to work various industry jobs for another decade before pursuing a career as a business executive. Becker soon realized her passion was in cooking, opening a catering business in the early 90s and a full-service restaurant a few years later. Today, Becker continues to give back to her community, by serving on the Georgia Restaurant Association Board. She has employed more than two dozen Bhutanese refugees and has an intense training program to help them learn English and facilitate their transition to the U.S..
Watch Archna's Story
Owner, Pho Cyclo Café
Founder/Executive Director, Ethnic Business Coalition
Taylor Hoang is an entrepreneur and leader in the Asian and business communities of Seattle. She is the Executive Director of Ethnic Business Coalition, a nonprofit committed to the long-term growth, sustainability, and success of immigrant and minority-owned small businesses in Washington. Her commitment to Seattle’s minority community is unwavering and she consistently volunteers, mentors and advocates for aspiring entrepreneurs in the Asian community. As an outspoken advocate for ethnic business, Taylor was awarded the 2015 Crosscut Courage Award for Business, which honors local leaders whose personal and professional dedication is making the region more vital, equitable and inclusive. Taylor also operates five retail restaurants, Pho Cyclo Café, which she started at the age of 28, and a successful catering business, Lavender Jade Catering. Taylor also started a mortgage brokerage firm specializing in securing loans for minorities while attending University of Washington and created several businesses in Vietnam, including one to help small coffee farmers facilitate international export.
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Executive Kitchen Manager
Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
New Orleans, Louisiana
Raised by his handicapped grandmother from the age of nine, and becoming a father at age 16 did not stop Titus Perkins from becoming a community leader who now spends time mentoring and encouraging the young men and women he hires to make a positive impact on their communities. The path to his current role as executive kitchen manager at the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group began with a job at the New Orleans Fair Grounds during high school, and soon after as a dishwasher at Ralph Brennan's BACCO. A quick learner, Perkins advanced through the ranks, mastering all the kitchen positions. He was also a general manager for the Sonic Corporation for one year, before landing his current position. Through hardship and adversity, Perkins was able to achieve his American Dream by establishing a career that allows him to support his family and give back to the community.
Watch Titus' Story
Read About Past Winners