co-founder and CEO
Bon Appétit Management Co.
As CEO of Bon Appétit Management Co., Fedele Bauccio is the visionary behind a contract food service company that serves more than 150 million meals a year to employees at Google, Intel, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other businesses.
Bon Appétit serves museums, sports venues, universities and corporations at more than 500 on-site restaurants in 32 states. Bauccio co-founded the company in 1987 with a plan to reinvent the food service industry by replacing food servers with professional chefs who would control menus and sourcing of ingredients.
Bauccio has made sustainability a focus and Bon Appétit was the first food service company to commit to sustainable seafood (2002), eliminate hormones and non-therapeutic antibiotic use in animals (2003), cook with cage-free eggs (2005) and reduce its carbon footprint and waste, which is down 30 percent since 2007.
To address the challenge of sourcing enough sustainable produce, meat and dairy products, Bon Appétit works directly with small farmers. The company has used leverage over suppliers to require more sustainable farming practices. In 2009, the company did not serve tomatoes for six months until suppliers agreed to minimum requirements for worker rights and safety.
Since the beginning, the company has had a flat organizational structure, with three levels of separation between the CEO and the kitchen. Each location is operated by a chef and general manager, district managers run eight to 10 restaurants and report to six regional vice presidents.
There is no sales team — the company grows by client referrals and word of mouth from customers.
Bon Appétit supports and invests in local farmers, and partnered with the San Francisco Giants to create an organic garden behind AT&T Park’s center field. It also has launched the BAMCO Foundation, which works to change the way chefs and consumers think about food through educational efforts.
Progreso Financiero CEO Raul Vazquez inspires and leads by example.
The financial technology company serves the needs of the Hispanic community in the United States by providing affordable and responsibly structured unsecured installment loans.
Vazquez grew up in El Paso, Texas. His parents were from small mining towns in Mexico and sacrificed to provide a more promising future for their children. As a result, he is extremely aware of challenges the Hispanic community faces, including low incomes, limited opportunities for advancement and inadequate understanding of how things work in the U.S.
When the opportunity presented itself in 2012, Vazquez knew he had to accept the position of CEO at Progreso Financiero to make a difference in the lives of hardworking people. He also knew the company created an affordable product, had no direct competitors and had great opportunities for growth.
Vazquez understands that the company’s strength lies in its employees. He has created an environment that allows employees to be successful, provides meaningful work and recognizes employees for their hard work.
Although he was not a founder of Progreso Financiero, Vazquez had what he calls a “founding moment” in early 2012 when the company halted its growth in customers and retail locations — the monthly financial burn rate was between $1 million and $2 million. Additional debt and equity capital was needed to survive.
Vazquez kept the company alive by drawing on his experience to articulate a vision of the future, modify strategy and improve operational and financial processes. The company has since expanded its customer base and geographic footprint, is better capitalized and has achieved sustained cash flow profitability.
His future vision for Progreso Financiero includes expanded loan options, mobile access and instantaneous results instead of a 24-hour wait period for customers.
As president of Blackhawk Network, Inc., Talbott Roche has established herself as a visionary, innovative and empowering leader within her company and the prepaid payment industry.
Under her leadership, Blackhawk Network grew from being a Safeway, Inc. subsidiary with five employees to an independent company with more than 1,000 employees. Although the parent company was viewed as a tremendous asset, Roche recognized that in order to build the business it needed to engage brand partners that were in direct competition to Safeway. Blackhawk Network now includes more than 500 brands and 180,000 locations in 21 countries.
Blackhawk Network researches what consumers want, resulting in innovations such as prepaid open-loop cards in third party locations, e-gift capabilities for online and mobile channels, and online card management services. Proprietary technology allows the company to bring these innovations to market faster than relying on third parties to create systems to enable them.
Roche’s role as a leader in her industry was evidenced by her appearance before Congress in relation to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The legislation included provisions that threatened to harm segments of the prepaid card industry. Roche served as the chief industry spokesperson, educating Congress about the prepaid market and the legislation’s potential impact.
Blackhawk Network maintains a culture of innovation. Roche has seven patents issued in her name, including package design, an automatic in-store registration process, an e-gifting process and a proxy card designed to prevent fraud.
Roche believes “your company is only as good as its people.” She empowers employees to believe they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to and rewards innovation and hard work through incentives such as an internal equity program and the “Blackhawk Belief Award,” which acknowledges and rewards accomplishments of employees.