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December 18, 2023

Ambition and a Tenacious Spirit Lead to Promotion for Cherita McNeal

20230110_225241 - Cherita McNeal-1Regional Market Manager Cherita McNeal’s career journey is filled with determination, resilience, and passionate pursuit of growth. After earning her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu, she worked her way up to management with a hospitality company. In November 2019, Cherita found her way to HHS where she accepted a position as culinary director. She brought a well-developed skillset with her, but also an eagerness to take on challenges that would push her outside of her comfort zone.

HHS was not just a step, but a leap into a future she envisioned for herself—a future full of opportunity and progress. Initially, she was the director of her own account while simultaneously traveling to help with training new accounts. She was then placed in the director position at an account in Alabama.

Unfortunately, Cherita then faced an unforeseen and uninvited challenge—a major medical emergency that demanded her to pause and heal. It was during that experience that she realized how valued she was as part of the HHS team. “My VP at the time, Jim Sturman, came to my hospital room with the culinary supervisor to check on me. At that moment, I knew that I wasn't just a number and that apart from the job, [they] cared about me and my health. I will never forget that,” Cherita recalled.

True to her spirit, Cherita came back stronger and more determined, joining the HHS Business Excellence Team, which supports the startup process at new accounts, in April 2023. After outlining her future goals and ambitions in a meeting with Culinary Executive Vice President Karl Sukley, she received a call about a new position as a regional market manager, which she accepted in September of this year. Since then, Cherita has not slowed down, persistent in pursuing her goals. She has an insatiable curiosity and desire to understand the intricacies of her work.

“What I enjoy most about my job is the constant growth. Even within the same role, there is always so much to learn and master. I'm never satisfied with what I know, I always want to know more and why. I had a chef tell me, ‘Cooks cook, chefs know why.’ Since then, I have been striving to find out more about the why in life,” she explained.

Cherita has not reached her level of success in isolation but has enjoyed many mentors at HHS along the way. was not just about climbing the ladder but about the people who extended their hands to help her up each rung. “[Area Vice President] Chance Smith mentored me and gave me the type of training that I thrive best with, which is hands-on. I was able to gain experience at different accounts in a short amount of time that would normally have taken me years to experience,” says Cherita. Another mentor was Vice President Peter Tseng, who offered invaluable advice and encouragement.

This recent promotion is a recognition, not just of Cherita’s talent, but of her tenacity and indomitable nature. She urges fellow team members to “work like you're already in the position that you want,” emphasizing the rewarding nature of overcoming the challenge and embracing the opportunity it brings.

While Cherita enjoys a challenging and rewarding career life, she also prioritizes a full and rich personal life, including her deeply held faith in God, church, music, cooking and enjoying good food and rooting for every sports team in Chicago, her hometown.

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