Professional of the Year - Food/Mediation and Conflict Resolution

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Ronnie E. Hawkins

Title: Vice President, National Ombudsman
Industry: Food Service
Type of Organization: Quick Service Restaurant
Major Product/Service: Food and beverages
Expertise: Mr. Hawkins provides internal mediation and conflict resolution within McDonald’s U.S. business for issues between the company and franchisees or corporate employees.
Geographic Area of Distribution: International
Affiliations: Board Member, New Bolingbrook Hospital; Co-Chair, St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church Steward’s Board, Aurora, Illinois
University/Degree: A.A., Business, Prince George's Community College, Maryland, 1980
Born: January 12, 1956
Hobbies/Sports: Church activities, golf
Spouse: Santa Hawkins
Children: Tanisha, Sharday
Work History: Mr. Hawkins started his career with McDonald’s 39 years ago as a crewperson, then moved up the ranks within restaurant operations, including Operations Manager and Director of Operations. In 1994 he was promoted to Home Office Director where he served in his first ombudsman role working as a liaison between the company and its franchisee diversity organizations. He later became a Division Ombudsman, providing internal mediation and conflict resolution between the company and franchisees or corporate employees. He was promoted to Vice President and National Ombudsman in 2003. Since becoming McDonald’s National Ombudsman, no cases have required outside mediation and less than one percent has been elevated to senior management.
Honors & Awards: McDonald’s President’s Award, annually given to only one percent of the company’s top employees around the world
Published Works: Featured in Ebony Magazine, December, 2006
Career Accomplishments: Mr. Hawkins' greatest career accomplishment is in impacting challenging situations while keeping relationships intact. Personally, he cites his biggest successes as faith and family. Mr. Hawkins is in high demand from other companies looking to tap his expertise in how to put in place an ombudsman process, an influence that will no doubt have a lasting impact beyond McDonald’s.