Dejah Foxx, shop leader for &Pizza, was chosen for the NRN Power List by CEO Michael Lastoria, because of how she harnessed “her knowledge of key HR functions alongside her innate empathy and compassion to exhibit incredible leadership in a tumultuous year.” Here’s what else Lastoria had to say:
At just 20 years old, Dejah is &pizza’s youngest Shop Leader. Starting her career entry-level in the summer of 2018, she quickly became a major f&mily member at our Potomac Yard location and throughout the &pizza culture. Quick-witted and hardworking, Dejah’s two years at &pizza have been full of fast growth, rising in record time as a Shop Leader at Tysons Corner in Fairfax County, Virginia. Her spirit and positive attitude match perfectly with her determined work ethic, creating an undeniable strength in leading others. She embodies the best values of &pizza — championing unity in everything she does.
Nation’s Restaurant News talked with Dejah Foxx about navigating the challenges of 2020 and how she supported her team members through the pandemic. Here’s what she had to say:
What are you most proud of as you look back at what you and your organization accomplished in 2020?
I am really proud to be the youngest shop leader in the company and being the embodiment of &pizza's development program. I can show other f&mily members, especially other women that I did this, and they can too. As a shop leader I'm able to help train and develop our future leaders right here in my shop. In my own community, I am showing these opportunities to my family and friends, and that this kind of growth is possible in the restaurant industry.
What does leadership and impact mean to you?
Leadership is my influence on the people I work with and how they perceive me: I can have a positive or a negative impact on everyone I work with. I like to work directly alongside my team; it helps me to make sure I know what is going on with my team and in my shop. It gives them the opportunity to see me as a partner and someone they can trust. When I was promoted to shop leader, I had to come into a brand new store and quickly build those relationships and understand with that team, and this approach really helped me to do that quickly.
When you look to the future of foodservice, what excites you?
The innovation that is happening is really exciting to me. Especially during the pandemic, to see all the ways that restaurants are changing the game to continue to serve guests. Here at &pizza, we've been innovating on so many fronts — from new menu items, to services like curbside pickup, contactless delivery or pick up windows. Foodservice has a resilient workforce, and it is incredible to see how we've risen to the challenge to continue to serve our communities.