Last week, I was given the opportunity to travel to Atlanta, GA for the first time for the celebration of three very special women " Sherray Harley, Joann Jaso, and Brittani Seymour " and their recent graduation from high school with the Church's Chicken Stride for Success program. Hosted at the Church's Chicken headquarters, these ladies were recognized for their accomplishments and dedication to the company by the entire corporate office and executive team, including CEO Jim Hyatt, Chief People Officer Ed Brett, and COO Ed Williams.
Stride for Success with Church's Chicken
Launched in July 2015, the Stride for Success program is a company-funded educational development program that Church's Chicken offers to shift leaders seeking to earn their high school diploma and grow their career opportunities with Church's and beyond. Education is at the core of the Church's Chicken values, and the commitment put into its programs by the company's leaders ensure employees have the support and tools they need to be successful. For example, Stride for Success is offered in conjunction with Penn Foster, allowing employees to balance their education and work responsibilities with an online, self-paced model.
"Our people are and always have been our strongest assets," expressed Hyatt. "Laying the foundation for our employees to reach integral milestones and harness their potential will serve to both enrich their lives personally and strengthen our brand as a whole."
Meet the Graduates: Joann, Sherray and Brittani
Hailing from all different areas of the country, Joann, Sherray and Brittani each have their own story and ambitious goals for the future.
- As the very first graduate from Stride for Success, Joann Jaso from Raymondville, TX aspires to continue climbing the ladder to become a Market Leader at Church's... though knowing her, she likely won't stop there! She is currently on her way into the management training program.
- Sherray from Atlanta, GA shared with us her past struggle with education, explaining that she previously dropped out of traditional high school and failed the GED. However, speaking with her last week she noted the ease of access to the courses was influential in helping her finally earn her diploma; she completed lessons on the computer or a tablet during her ten minute breaks, every chance she had. She is now studying audio production at a local college.
- Also having previously dropped out of high school, Brittani from Miami, FL has now earned her diploma and hopes to lead the way for others. While sitting with her for lunch, she commented about wanting to help the employees in her store who are in need to achieve the same goal she had achieved.
Wednesday, March 16th was not short of excitement and celebration " for the three graduates, the employees in Church's headquarters, or the Penn Foster team! Dressed in their graduation caps and gowns, Joann, Sherray and Brittani each received individual recognition at the monthly Town Hall Meeting " an audience of 75+ Church's employees.
Attending a large university graduation can be grand, but the ceremony I witnessed at the Church's office left much more of an impact than any other I've attended. Each accomplished woman was met with a standing ovation and many high fives as they walked through the crowd. This celebration not only served as an official graduation, but an opportunity for these employees to experience a behind the scenes look at the daily processes and operations of the corporate team.
What's next for the Stride for Success program?
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