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Primed for Hospitality, Prepped for Life

Primed for Hospitality, Prepped for Life: An Evening with Former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. was an incredible night. Chef Yaku, Program Chef and Food Network All Star and the Primed and Prepped students prepared the delicious appetizers that included caprese skewers with pesto, chicken kabobs, garlic bread, meatballs, fruit salad, meat boards with crackers and olives and a dessert table. 

Introducing former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Kelly Armstrong, founder of the Primed and Prepped youth program, walked down memory lane thanking Brown for helping her grow and develop her career.

Willie L. Brown Takes the Stage

The dapper Brown mesmerized the audience by talking directly to the P&P students about his early education growing up in Mineola, TX.  The talk included how he ended up in San Francisco, his journey to becoming a two-term Mayor of San Francisco, the legendary Speaker of the California State Assembly, and now being recognized as the most influential African-American politician of the late twentieth century.

He pointed out that he took advantage of opportunities that were presented to him very much like the opportunities being offered to the youth in the P&P program.  Brown acknowledged how well spoken and confident the P&P students were and said how much he enjoys when he can speak to youth.

After his talk, Takija Gardner, Bayview Hunters Point YMCA Executive Director, honored Brown by presenting him with the Bayview YMCA Community & Public Service Award.


Distinguished Panel

Belva Davis, Iconic Journalist, Casey Neuburger, Human Resource at Director Hotel Nikko, Debra Higa, Human Resource Director at the Westin St. Francis, Aleja Cobarruviaz, recent P&P graduate interning at Hotel Nikko, and Lahrul Hayden, Inaugural P&P student working full time at the Fairmont Hotel.

The iconic Belva Davis, moderated the panel that consisted of:

  • Casey Neuburger, Human Resource Director at Hotel Nikko and the Chair of the P&P Advisory Board
  • Debra Higa, Director of Human Resources, Westin St. Francis, P&P Advisory Board member
  • Lahrul Hayden, Inaugural P&P student and the first P&P student to become a full-time employee working at the Fairmont Hotel.
  • Aleja Cobarruviaz a recent P&P graduate now interning at Hotel Nikko.
  • A panel was held to get the community to know the supporters and graduates of the program. When asked what he has learned from the Primed and Prepped program, Hayden explains,
  • “There was a time I wanted to have a global restaurant serving global cuisine and now that I’ve been working and seeing what the industry is like I think I will start with a Café.”

Thank you Supporters

Other highlights of the evening included invited guests that spoke briefly as to why they support the program that included: Man J Kim, Owner Lori’s Diner and a P&P program funder, Rob Twyman, Regional President Wholefoods Market-Northern California & Reno, Nati Ramierz, Owner, Don Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant and Doris Broussard, Parent and P&P Volunteer. We are grateful to Kevin Carroll, Executive Director, Hotel Council and P&P Advisory Board Member, who couldn’t be with us but assisted with putting on the event as well as providing the raffle prizes of a two-night stay at the Westin St Francis and a Dinner Certificate for two.


Special Thank You’s

Sarah Arndt, Community Programs Coordinator, BiRite Family of Businesses

Michele Gaul, Regional Director of Human Resources, Fairmont Hotel

Jackie Wright, Wright Enterprises

Chef Izzie, D.O.P.E. Chef Society

Tonie Brock, Photographer

Jon Rendell, Photographer

Cheese platters graciously donated by BiRite Market