Women Leaders Share Their Coveted Career Advice

Published on : 3/16/23
  • Sodexo is proud of its diverse, accomplished and passionate workforce – including leaders from many industries and areas of expertise. For Women’s History Month, we collected insights from four leaders in Corporate Services. Ada McNeill, Chantal S. Randolph-Schall, Sarah Porter and LaWanda Savage sit down with us to share their advice for others to grow and climb in their own unique career journeys.


    How did you get started in your industry, and how did you start at Sodexo?

    Ada McNeill

    Ada McNeill, Senior Director of Human Resources

    I was looking for job satisfaction, McNeill says. At a previous employer, she made a lateral move from accounting into human resources. It was very administrative, yet it also gave me the ability to provide assistance to others, which was very rewarding and made the transition worth it.

    After the switch, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in Human Resource Development and started to gain hands-on experience. Her mentor coached her to keep her resume updated and always keep an eye out for new opportunities. In other words, even though you may be happy where you are, don’t become complacent, McNeill says.

    She was intrigued by a Sodexo HR Sr. Generalist posting and the opportunity to work for a company that focused on quality-of-life services. Something about that resonated with me, she said. McNeill accepted that role nearly 10 years ago and has grown and stretched in several progressive human resource roles since.


    Chantal Randolph-Schall, Vice President of Operations

    Randolph-Schall got her start in hospitality at the age of 15 as a bartender and cook in a small bistro in the country of Senegal. There, she saw firsthand how people can have an emotional connection with good food.

    A friend visited the restaurant that Randolph owned in Chicago, and talked with excitement about working at Sodexo. She would talk about her experiences and the autonomy she had. I came to Sodexo because of her positive influence, Randolph-Schall said.


    Sarah Porter

    Sarah Porter, Vice President of Corporate Services Food Business Support

    Porter, who has been with the company for five years, was recruited into Sodexo by a former coworker, who had posted the position on Facebook. She bounced around a little bit before operations leadership asked her to assist in their transformation, she says. She then moved up to become vice president after a year, and has been in that position since January 2022.


    LaWanda Savage, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing for Corporate Services

    Savage describes herself as a supply chain geek, with more than 25 years of experience in the industry, but she started out as a paralegal working with her former employer’s procurement staff. She noticed what they did, and realized that she wanted to do that too, she said.

    After moving from Quaker Oats to Walgreens, then Cintas, she landed at CBRE, where she heard from a leader about what their experience was like at Sodexo. Savage joined Sodexo in late 2022.


    Have you had role models and mentors in your career? How would you describe them?

    Ada McNeill

    The role models I’ve had throughout my career were those who were unapologetic about their success and weren’t afraid to fail forward. They were committed, they were honest, but more importantly they pulled as they climbed. That’s exactly what I aspire to be, McNeill says.


    Chantal Randolph-Schall

    Chantal Randolph-Schall

    Randolph-Schall's mother is a role model to her, she says. She is an incredible businesswoman. She is thorough, methodical, and influential where she has built systems and support in her field.

    Within Sodexo, Selena Cuffe, recent former president of Sodexo Magic, is Randolph-Schall's mentor and executive sponsor. She is savvy and smart in her approach. Something I strive to emulate, she says.


    Sarah Porter

    Porter says she’s had informal mentors inside and outside of Sodexo. Mark Price, a senior vice president in Sodexo Corporate Services, has been one of them. He was Porter’s supervisor.

    I still reach out to him to bounce off ideas and keep him informed of what I’m doing, but I also get his opinion on different decisions I want to make, she says.

    Mary Calhoun, senior director of talent management in Corporate Services, has been another internal mentor for Porter. I like to say I grew up with Mary; from the beginning of my roles at Sodexo, we’ve worked adjacent to each other, Porter says. Calhoun informally serves as her corporate coach, who helps Porter with leadership decisions or to be a sounding board. It just helps to have someone ask the right questions, Porter says.


    Lawanda Savage

    LaWanda Savage

    Lionel L. Nowell III, former treasurer of PepsiCo, left a long-lasting impression on Savage. "The things that I learned from him many years ago have stood with me today," she says.

    Her mentors advised her to make sure her theoretical tool kit is always filled with skills and new learnings. If I am constantly looking forward, I will know my business and I will be prepared, she says.

    She also learned from her mentors that inspiring a team effort is often more important than venturing on an individual one. As we reach certain levels within our careers, it's no longer about us. It’s about those who we are leading, and how we bring them along on this journey with us, she says.


    Sodexo supports and encourages mentorship. Learn more about what it’s like to work at Sodexo and be part of something greater.

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