DENVER, September 15, 2017— Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life services, and business mentoring software provider River, today announced their joint win of a Brandon Hall Group 2017 Gold Excellence in Leadership Development Award in the category of Best Advance in Coaching and Mentoring for Sodexo’s Spirit of Mentoring Program.  This was the only gold winner in the coaching and mentoring category.

Now in its fourteenth year, Spirit of Mentoring provides global, cross-cultural, cross-gender, and inclusive mentoring, offering a phenomenal example of how to successfully run, manage, and scale a global mentoring program.  “By evolving this key talent development strategy over the years, we have been able to sustain our mentoring initiative and consistently realize a return on investment.  Participants appreciate having flexibility to co-create reciprocal relationships based on their unique needs,” says Jodi Davidson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Sodexo.

The Spirit of Mentoring program leverages highly structured formal mentoring programs, as well as more informal mentoring, and includes programs such as:

  • IMPACT:Sodexo’s acclaimed formal mentoring program that connects high-potential managers with senior leaders cross-culturally and across business lines in paired relationships that last 12 months.
  • LEAD Mentoring Circles: A formal mentoring opportunity tied to leadership training, designed to accelerate the promotional rate for women and minorities with profit and loss responsibility in the U.S.
  • LIFT: A formal mentoring program for frontline employees.
  • Peer2Peer Mentoring:An informal mentoring program through Sodexo’s Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs).

“Beyond these programs, Sodexo offers all employees access to River’s web-based mentoring platform for informal mentoring, where individuals can initiate one-to-one or group mentoring engagements,” says Laura Antal, Sr. Manager of Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives at Sodexo.

Results from multiple areas of the Spirit of Mentoring initiative provide compelling evidence that helped this program win the sole gold award from Brandon Hall Group.  For example, the IMPACT program showed a strong return on investment, with $2 saved for every $1 spent.  The IMPACT program also reported a 10% increase in promotional rates for women in the program compared to the general managerial population, a 5% increase in promotional rates for minorities, and a 4% increase in promotional rates for women of color.  The LIFT frontline employee program positively impacted retention, with 92% of participants staying with Sodexo.  Roughly 75% of mentors in this program reported that mentees’ overall job performance improved as a result of the mentoring experience.

“The results Sodexo achieved with Spirit of Mentoring is a testament to their vision, hard work, and dedication to bringing mentoring to employees at all levels, career points, and backgrounds.  Sodexo is truly a beacon of what companies should strive for with their corporate mentoring programs.  If you want to see a great example of how to do mentoring well, you need only look at what Sodexo does,” says Chris Browning, President of River.

Jodi Davidson adds: “I am grateful Sodexo continues to invest in mentoring initiatives that have benefitted so many as we fulfill our mission of Quality of Life.  Walking the talk, as our executives at Sodexo have done for over a decade, makes all the difference between a mediocre and an award-winning program.”

Sodexo and River are honored and thrilled to share this gold Brandon Hall Award recognizing their work and advancements in global business mentoring.

About Sodexo

Founded in Marseille in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. Operating in 80 countries, Sodexo serves 75 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Through its more than 100 services, Sodexo provides clients an integrated offering developed over 50 years of experience: from foodservices, reception, maintenance and cleaning, to facilities and equipment management; from Meal Pass, Gift Pass and Mobility Pass benefits for employees to in-home assistance, child care centers and concierge services. Sodexo’s success and performance are founded on its independence, its sustainable business model and its ability to continuously develop and engage its 425,000 employees throughout the world. Sodexo is included in the CAC 40 and DJSI indices.

About River

River is a full-service mentoring solution, offering mentoring software, training, and consulting.  Based in Denver, CO, they serve clients from a wide range of industries, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, SMB organizations, and non-profits.  To learn more about our River, please visit

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Rachel Cooke

Chief Operating Officer Rachel Cooke Rachel is responsible for business operations including overseeing client services, research events and project management. Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Rachel was the Chief Operating Officer Co-founder of AC Growth. Rachel has over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, and sales performance management. Prior to AC Growth, she held several senior management roles and was on the leadership team at Bersin & Associates, a pioneer analyst firm in e-learning and now industry leading HR and talent Research Company. In her Senior Director role, Rachel developed the strategy and led the commercial execution of the solution provider vertical, and grew the vertical into the company’s largest market segment. In her role as Director of Sales, Rachel developed and led a team of senior account executives focused on acquiring global strategic accounts. Rachel was solely responsible for developing key business relationships with over ninety companies including industry icons, such as: Adidas, Hewlett-Packard, Toyota, Oracle, Starbucks, Avnet, Boeing, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway Inc., Wells Fargo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Clorox and Affiliated Computer Services. Rachel began her career in the banking, media and hospitality industries. In these industries, Rachel held several key senior management and executive sales positions. Rachel received a BA in social science and interdisciplinary studies with honors from Florida Atlantic University. Rachel continued her postgraduate education by completing a series of executive management education courses from American Management Association.