Celebrate Pride Month.
First things first – what’s Pride Month? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. Nowadays, celebrations include parades, picnics, parties, workshops and more – unifying millions of participants around the world for a month of solidarity, recognizing the worldwide impact that LGBTQIA+ individuals have had and continue to have, as well as, reflecting on those impacted by hate crimes, suicide, or HIV/AIDS
In addition to raising the Pride flag this month, Taco Bell Corp.’s Live Más Pride BERG is collaborating in the OC Pride Festival and Parade on Saturday, June 24 along with our sister brand The Habit Burger Grill! Throughout this month, we will also be sharing information and ways to honor this month across our organization as well as sharing our very own Taco Bell team stories.
However, the celebration and work doesn’t stop there. Taco Bell allies are living the Pride Month celebration all year long through educating, activating and advocating. They strive to encourage inclusive perspectives, act as a proponent for Taco Bell’s LGBTQIA+ population, and allies and help serve as a cultural partner to amplify our community through education and open communication.
To honor this month and lead with action-oriented allyship, we’re amplifying the voices of those in the LBGTQIA+ community who are growing their careers at Taco Bell.
Blake Devillier – VP, Operations at Taco Bell Corp
Talk about amazing timing! I happen to be celebrating my one-year Taco Bell anniversary in the same month as LGBTQIA+ Pride! As an out and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and to honor my first big milestone with the brand, I thought I’d share a bit about my incredible Taco Bell journey. In part, because I’m just so excited about being a part of this brand and all the amazing work we are doing, including the support and acceptance I feel at Taco Bell. Not to mention, I’d also like to encourage anyone else who might be contemplating a career change or looking to take a leap of faith to a different industry to consider Taco Bell…. you, too, could very well end up Living Más at Taco Bell with me and my amazing colleagues! Alright, here it goes...
Post COVID, I was at a place in my career where I was ready to try something new. After almost 30 years with Gap Inc., I thought it might be time to lean into a new challenge. But where would I go and what would I do? I had an amazing tenure at Gap Inc. that provided me with so much opportunity for so long. Would it be possible to find that again? And, if I could find it, could it bring me closer to home in Louisiana? For almost 18 years, I’d lived away from my husband, my family, and some of my closest friends so that I could advance my career. As my husband and I started to envision what was next for us, it became clear that getting home would help us to realize our personal and professional aspirations more quickly.
Enter Taco Bell… I was shocked when a recruiter suggested Taco Bell. “Taco Bell?,” I said. “How could I go from selling T Shirts to Tacos? The recruiter said, ‘Just hear me out!’” So, I did. And here’s what I learned: This brand is huge. Over 8,000+ restaurants across the globe, including hundreds and thousands of teams and grew 12%+ worldwide sales in the first quarter of this year. And that’s just today. I learned that the year-over-year financial success of the brand was like something I hadn’t ever really experienced in my career, and that the planned growth of the brand was significant. On top of it all, Taco Bell continues to outdo itself. From building more and more restaurants around the world, to building never-done-before innovative restaurants like Taco Bell Defy and creating new tech in-house, to investing in their people through things like Golden Bell, Taco Bell Business School, and partnering with the Taco Bell Foundation on Ambition Accelerator and Live Más Scholarships, to the incredible culture that you feel when you walk into a restaurant and hear teams singing, dancing, laughing... the list goes on. I was hooked.
One year into my tenure with Taco Bell and it’s surreal to even think about how lucky I am that I “found” Taco Bell. It had never been on my radar before (well, maybe Mexican Pizza had been on my radar) but now, I can’t imagine my life without it!
Here’s something that has struck me repeatedly over the past year:
Coming into this industry, I had no idea how transferable my retail leadership skills were. Like so many in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) space, I also started as a team member inside a store and ultimately worked my way up through the leadership ranks. It just so happened that I did it in retail. At Taco Bell, we like to say, “Your future starts with The Bell.” Whether that means you start with us and go off to follow your passion elsewhere or stay with us and grow your career, this mentality is one I am familiar with. I started my career at Gap Inc. and then took those experiences to Banana Republic. And, from there, to Old Navy, which brings me to where I am today at The Bell. I can see the benefit of growing within an organization like this one and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting our restaurant teams, above restaurant leaders, and corporate staff who have had parallel journeys to mine. We are the brand we are today because of the healthy mix of veteran talent and fresh, outside perspectives. And, the skills, like, people leadership, drive for results, and operational excellence, that I brought from retail have enabled me to jump right in.
This last year has taught me so much about this amazing industry, Yum! Brands (our parent company), the Taco Bell Brand, our teams, and our incredible franchisees. Over the course of the summer, I’ll share a few stories around two of the areas that I’ve come to love most about Taco Bell – our people and our culture – what I’ve learned from both, and advice I’d give to anyone who thinking about making a move towards a great place to work.
This July will be all about people – from the field, corporate, and franchisee partnerships, to what I’ve been able to transfer from my past experiences and what I’ve learned within my new role. Ultimately, I’m excited to help demonstrate that we’re a brand focused on doing the right thing for our internal and external customers every day and how proud I am to have joined that mission.
August will round out the summer with a deep dive into our culture – from our Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (EI&B) actions, to how we show up in our communities through the Taco Bell Foundation partnership. We say what we’re about and consistently demonstrate that day-in and day-out through our amazing recognition programs, development programs, amazing benefits, and more.
In the meantime, if you’re thinking you might be interested in a career opportunity at Taco Bell, click here for Restaurant Leaders and Teams Careers and click here for Corporate Careers.
Stay tuned and talk soon!