Learn how to plan your DEI Initiative!

Panda Restaurant Group Shares About “A Culture of Giving”

While DEI efforts are usually known for cultivating opportunities and engagement within the workforce, extending a company’s values into the communities they serve can greatly impact relationships with guests and employees. Today’s guest, Philline Zitin, explores how the DEI pillars at Panda Express work together to foster belonging and unity in our greater society.

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Full Show Notes:

“What was authentic was really working with what our company values. If we already have a strong culture around values about giving and respect, being proactive, and having growth, then how did we make sure to elevate DEI that’s already kind of built in into those values? Respect looks like being inclusive and showing that action.” – Philline Zitin, Executive Director, Workplace Legal, Co-Lead of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

As immigrants to the U.S, Panda Express’ founders attribute their success to the communities that support them. Andrew and Peggy Cherng pay it forward by integrating giving into the company’s culture and DEI efforts. Panda’s efforts are not simply philanthropic – for them, generosity is contagious.

Panda Express’ Co-Lead of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council Philline Zitin takes A Seat at the Table to discuss how generosity can be an authentic part of a company’s community engagement strategy. The Panda CommUnity Fund supports programs that provide direct services to meet local needs, while empowering representation and storytelling across multicultural and marginalized groups. When associates truly connect with their neighbors and contribute to their well-being, they feel greater purpose in what they do. Finally, building in flexibility to respond to stakeholder feedback is critical to the sustainability of their DEI efforts.

Listen to the episode to discover how giving can be incorporated into your corporate culture and into authentic DEI initiatives.

As the Executive Director of Workplace Counsel at Panda Express, Philline Zitin leads the team that drives innovative legal solutions for sustainable and integrated business growth. With over 15 years of creative workforce development in diverse, inclusive, and empowering environments, she has expanded her leadership role to include Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I), serving as the DE&I Council Lead at Panda since 2021. Merging her passion for DE&I and legal expertise, Philline currently oversees the long-term strategy and implementation of integrating compliance strategies with an inclusive culture that reflect Panda’s business objectives and greater mission of inspiring better lives.

A Seat at the Table is hosted by Gerry A. Fernandez, the Founder and President of MFHA, an educational non-profit organization that makes the business case for developing cultural intelligence in the workplace. Gerry has been recognized for his decades of work in educating and advocating for the business benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry. Gerry was honored in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2018 Power List among “the definitive list of industry leaders who are not only setting trends today but also shaping them for tomorrow.”

You can find more information about the MFHA on TwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.

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Podcast episode production by Dante32.

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