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Golden State Foods

Scott Thomas
Vice President, Distribution
Golden State Foods

Golden Spirit Award


Steve Becker
SVP, Human Resources
Golden State Foods

“Golden State Foods is one of the largest diversified suppliers to the Quick Service Restaurant industry. This 63-year company is values-based and is 100 percent management owned and run. As such, GSF places a high priority on quality leadership development, which has been a strong motivator for us to establish a strategic learning and development system at our company.

In the past, we have provided training and learning solutions, but it became increasingly clear in recent years that we needed a more strategic approach to further educating and developing our leaders. We participated in the Disney Institute, Kellogg Executive School, and outsourced training to AMA, DDI and CCL. The approaches were effective to a degree, but none was right for us holistically. What we needed to do was to build a comprehensive and integrated training and development program that would include the best elements from the above organizations, but one that was more customized for us.

As I began to seek advice about a resource or partner to help us to build this infrastructure, I was referred to Brainard Strategy by a number of trusted colleagues. Michael Brainard met with me and our CEO to collaborate about outcomes and process options. Michael proved himself to be a technical expert in building and delivering corporate learning initiatives, but a ‘fit’ was critical, both technically and personally. Additionally, we needed a Web-enabled solution for our managers and employees, as they are spread out around the globe.

Brainard Strategy was selected based on our comfort with Michael and his team, their technical expertise and experience, and their Learning Management System recommendations. We are finalizing the design and implementation phases for this year-long project, and we are preparing for our initial launch later this year. It is a highly complex project, and we are delighted with the substance of and personal direction from the Brainard team. We look forward to a successful implementation in 2010.”


Steve Becker
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Golden State Foods

“We are a 3+ billion dollar company who is among the most values driven corporations you will ever experience. We have provided one-off training and learning solutions throughout our history, and it became clear that we needed a strategic approach to learning and development in 2009. I attended the Disney Institute, we had executives attend Ivy League programs, and we had hired firms like PDI and CCL in the past. All of these approaches were effective, but none of these solutions were right for us holistically. What we needed to do was to build a comprehensive training and development program that might include the best elements from the above firms, but one that was highly customized for us. As I began to seek advice about a resource or partner to help us to build this infra-structure I was referred to Brainard Strategy by a number of trusted colleagues.
Michael met with me and our CEO to collaborate with us relative to the outcomes and options for the process. Michael was clearly a technical expert in building and delivering corporate learning initiatives, but fit was to be critical. Additionally, we needed a web-enabled solution as our managers and employees are spread out around the globe. Brainard Strategy was selected based on our comfort with Michael and his team, their technical expertise and experience, and their flexible Learning Management System. We are just finishing design and implementation for this year long project. It is a highly complex project and we are delighted with the substance of and interpersonal interactions with the Brainard team. We look forward to a successful implementation in 2010.”