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AANHPI Heritage Month

Neil Manhas, Global CFO

At Taco Bell, we empower our teams to be fearless, embrace difference and drive change. We believe that each one of us has a story to tell.

The month of May celebrates Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. This month was specifically chosen to honor the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. (May 1843), as well as to acknowledge the tremendous contribution Chinese immigrants made in completing the transcontinental railroad (May 1869).

AANHPI is a wide-ranging term used to describe all cultures across the continent of Asia and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia – representing approximately 50 ethnic groups and 100 languages. There is incredible depth and richness of diversity found within the AANHPI community, and this month is devoted to recognizing and elevating their cultural influence.

To honor and celebrate this month and the AANHPI community at The Bell, we will share their stories every week in the month of May in hopes that they not only educate but inspire you to drive positive and intentional impact within your community.

Throughout the year, we will continue sharing the incredible stories of our Taco Bell teams; the sharing and celebration doesn’t stop here.


Neil Manhas – Global CFO

Normally, we write a story about someone who is part of our Taco Bell family and share about their journey. This time around, Neil wanted to share a message directly from himself – read below:

I’m Neil, a first generation British Asian: born and raised in the UK – to parents who emigrated from Kashmir, India in the late 1960s. Until relocating to Orange County, California earlier this year – I had lived my whole life in England.

It’s great that May is a month where the U.S. recognises and honours the contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, who are an integral part of the American cultural mosaic. I believe this is both progressive and inclusive – and highlights the positive impact that diversity brings. Growing up as British Asian in the UK, I encountered many moments of feeling that I didn’t belong – and so inclusivity, equity and kindness is deeply important to me as a person and as a leader.

Speaking of, let me tell you a little bit more about me... I joined Pizza Hut, of Yum! Brands, soon after finishing my master’s in finance at The London School of Economics – and 20 years on and I’m still within Yum!, having recently transferred to Taco Bell, as VP Finance and now Global CFO. Prior to my current role, I had spent the past few years serving as the General Manager for the UK Pizza Hut business as well as also serving as the CFO for Pizza Hut Europe for the past couple of years too.

One of the Yum! tenets is believing in all people and this is something that has always really resonated with me. Being committed to recognising and nurturing diverse talent is such a win-win – and throughout my career I have found that when people feel they truly belong and can be their authentic selves, then they can really grow and realise their full potential.

To do this, I believe in applying both Mindset and Method.

From a mindset perspective – tackling unconscious biases and truly embracing that the best teams are diverse teams that can healthily challenge, stretch, and complement each other because of their different backgrounds, experiences and outlooks, is crucial. This variety enables challenges and opportunities to be assessed in different ways and ultimately leads to stronger outcomes.

From a Method perspective – from having processes in place to broaden the candidate hiring slate to offering flexible ways of working to proactively championing diversity – whether it be celebrating different religious festivals or mentoring underrepresented team members – are just a couple of areas that can help foster greater Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Overall, I’m proud to work at a place like Taco Bell Corp. and Yum! Brands that truly cares about embedding Equity, Inclusion and Belonging into how we lead and do business and never stops educating ourselves along the way.

Check out more people stories!