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Cultural Intelligence And Why We Need To Understand It with Dr. Sandra Upton
Episode 115th September 2020 • A Seat at the Table • Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance
00:00:00 00:38:33

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“We know that not only does cultural intelligence predict your ability to work effectively across cultures, but that it predicts the ability to build trust and cooperation and even negotiation effectiveness when working with others from other cultures. We know it predicts creativity and innovation. We know that it predicts workplace performance and leadership effectiveness. And we also know that it impacts the bottom line.” – Dr. Sandra Upton

Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, put simply is the capability to function effectively in multicultural situations. Dr. Sandra Upton is the Vice President of Educational Initiatives at the Cultural Intelligence Center, a leading research and training organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses increase their CQ skills.

Dr. Upton joined Gerry to discuss why CQ is an essential life skill no matter your race, why businesses and organizations need to evaluate their policies and practices through a CQ lens, and why CQ training is essential in the food and hospitality industry.

Listen to learn tools and best practices for implementing CQ training at your business.

  • (01:57) - What is cultural intelligence?
  • (02:57) - The 4 key capabilities of CQ
  • (06:12) - How Sandra was introduced to CQ
  • (08:12) - Opportunities for U.S. businesses
  • (09:37) - Schools in the CQ space
  • (11:06) - Opportunities for the hospitality industry
  • (13:55) - How can CQ training benefit society
  • (15:17) - The intersection of CQ and unconscious bias
  • (18:35) - Follow-up training to build CQ skills
  • (21:33) - How should a company get started
  • (26:31) - Do people of color have better CQ?
  • (28:06) - Bias in play
  • (32:16) - Resources for practical progress
  • (36:40) - The future of CQ

MFHA appreciates the generous sponsorship of Cintas READY FOR THE WORKDAY in supporting this "A Seat at the Table" podcast episode.

Dr. Sandra Upton is Vice President of Educational Initiatives with the Cultural Intelligence Center (CQC) and is responsible for leading the center's educational efforts. In addition, she works alongside the President and plays a significant role in helping to determine the center's strategy for overall organizational growth.

Dr. Upton has more than 25 years of experience training and consulting with universities, K-12 schools, businesses, and non-profit organizations. She leads the Cultural Intelligence Center's response to the growing demand from institutions like Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, University of Michigan, Fudan University, Stanford University, and hundreds of other public and private schools that are committed to assessing and improving the cultural intelligence of their faculty, staff and students.

A Seat at the Table is hosted by Gerald “Gerry” A. Fernandez, the founder and President of the MFHA, an educational non-profit organization that makes the business case for developing cultural intelligence in the workplace. Gerry has been recognized for his decades of work in educating and advocating for the business benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry. Gerry was honored in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2018 Power List among “the definitive list of industry leaders who are not only setting trends today but also shaping them for tomorrow."

You can find more information about the MFHA on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. Learn more about the MFHA, their resources, and available training at

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Podcast episode production by Dante32.



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