Honoring National Hispanic Heritage Month: Jose Ferrufino
It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. Join Compass Group in honoring the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors come from the Caribbean, Spain, Mexico, Central America, and South America – some 33 countries and territories. This year’s theme is “Building Prosperous and Healthy Communities.” Across the month, four associates from our family of businesses talk about their heritage: Jose Ferrufino, Gisela Bouvier, Rina Amaya Pena and Chef Alberto Trujillo.
First up is Jose Ferrufino of Levy who is General Manager of Restaurants at Kaseya Center (home of the NBA’s Miami Heat). He shares his “magical” journey and the sense of community he enjoys at work.
“I was born in Miami and moved as a child to a magical little corner of Central America called El Salvador, my father’s homeland, to be near our family businesses. My mom’s side of the family is from Venezuela, and they had also struggled to find opportunities as immigrants in Miami. I lived with my family in El Salvador until high school graduation, when my eyes were opened to move back to the U.S., where I saw a more accepting LGBTQIA+ community. Now I am a U.S. citizen and have realized my wonderful dreams come true with Levy in the food and beverage industry.
“When I was growing up, others would make fun of me in school and tell me I would never make anything out of life. At times, I even believed it might be true. I used it to grow in empathy: we all have a story and deserve to be treated with kindness. It’s what drives me to excel in hospitality – the chance to create memorable moments for people. I found a job at a company with a great culture, room for growth, and filled with successful people who inspired and mentored me. I remember my first few weeks at Levy, from the initial call I received from Tony Suarez in HR to serving none-other-than Michael Jordan! Those are experiences that made me feel welcomed and special.
“I’m the biggest cheerleader of Levy culture! I’m grateful to work in a positive environment where I feel valued and don’t have to change who I am. My team celebrates each other, and I feel excited to go into work without the fear of judgement I have lived with in the past. My leaders have made sure I feel a sense of belonging, encouraging me to learn more. I’m excited to see my team at work every single day because of the culture Levy has at Kaseya Center, home of the Miami Heat.
“If there’s a lesson I’ve learned with Levy, it’s to always be a ‘nice person.’ Always do the right thing and know that you can positively impact someone’s day: guests, coworkers, staff, everyone! Never give up on being a good human being because the universe will give back to you. It has certainly given back to me through my Levy experience. This is the most fulfilled I’ve ever been in my career and in life!”
Thank you, Jose, for taking us on your magical journey!