Position: Senior vice president of human resources, corporate services and vending division, Sodexho USA, a Gaithersburg- based provider of food service and facilities management.

Career highlights: President and chief executive, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility; head of diversity and corporate responsibility, Capital One Financial Services; vice president, diversity and Hispanic markets, Aetna Inc.; vice president, global workforce diversity, Marriott International; senior director, human resource services and associate feedback, Marriott International; general manager, Bethesda Marriott Hotel; senior director, revenue and brand management, Marriott International; regional director, Courtyard and Fairfield Inn by Marriott; regional director for rooms, Courtyard and Fairfield Inn by Marriott; and general manager, San Francisco Airport Courtyard by Marriott.

Age: 45

Education: BS/BA, hotel and restaurant management, University of Denver School of Business; MS, organizational development, Johns Hopkins University.

Personal: Lives in Gaithersburg with his wife, Ellie, and their children, Alana, 10, and Alejandro, 7.

How did you get to where you are?

My family are Mexican immigrants, and they immigrated to Chicago in the 1950s. I was born in Chicago and at a young age my family moved back to Mexico. Consequently, I grew up in Mexico City, completing elementary school and high school there.

I then came to the U.S. and attended the University of Denver on a basketball scholarship.

I began working as a college student might, for Marriott, as a front desk clerk and a waiter. Upon graduation, they offered me an entry-level management position and I continued my Marriott career for 16 years. Because of my experiences with the hospitality and food service industry, I became intimate, if you will, with the labor profession of our industry and the economics of our business.

I had a strong desire to enhance my professional credentials so I decided to go to graduate school and specialize in the area of organizational development. All of those experiences combined -- my international upbringing, education and professional rotations -- have converged into this singular opportunity for me, which is to head human resources for corporate services.

The challenges in my career have been few. There is, however, a pattern that has developed within my career in corporate America related to oftentimes being one of the few minority executives.

Oftentimes, I'm asked to represent the thinking of all minority groups. Frankly, I see that as an opportunity, not a challenge. And the opportunity for me is to perform as a cultural coach within the company in which I'm employed.

So at the end of the day, the challenge really is the need to have a more diverse senior management population in corporate America, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to Sodexho.

First, it is important that the CEO have active involvement and be visibly committed to the diversity and inclusion opportunity.

Secondly, that a company have real resource allocation to do real work around diverse opportunities.

And, thirdly and lastly, that senior leadership be held accountable for delivering all of that.

All three conditions exist in a big way at Sodexho, and that was a clear motivator for me to join.

-- Judith Mbuya