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Tracy Kosbau

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Oct 1, 2018

Wisconsin Restaurant Industry Leaders Honored with Faces of Diversity Award

Jane Schilz from Sheridan House Hotel and Sheridan’s Café in Milwaukee, Omar Shaikh from SURG Restaurant Group in Milwaukee, Derek Small from Troop Café in Milwaukee and Rachael Stanley from Dotty Dumplings Dowry in Madison were selected as the Wisconsin finalists for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Faces of Diversity – American Dream award.

The Wisconsin finalists will be honored at the Wisconsin Restaurant Association board dinner on October 22nd at the Prime Steer Supper Club in Kaukauna.

These awards shine a light on the restaurant industry’s diversity and hope to inspire further inclusion through the annual program. In partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, the Faces of Diversity Awards program honors individuals in the restaurant industry who have realized the American Dream through hard work, determination and enterprise.

Founded in 2006, this program was created to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion by highlighting model companies that have excelled in this area, as well as to raise awareness about the important role restaurants play in providing a ladder of opportunity for millions of Americans to achieve the American Dream.

Jane Schilz
Sheridan House Hotel and Sheridan’s Café, Milwaukee


Schilz has run the Sheridan House Hotel and Sheridan’s Café for since they renovated the 1920’s building 11 years ago.  While her husband Lee is a partner in ownership, she is responsible for operating their successful hotel business.  She has faced challenges as a woman operating a successful business, having fielded requests to talk to the owner assuming the owner is a man.  Schilz is hands on with every aspect of the operation and is a pro when it comes to running a successful small business in a highly competitive market.  She creates a customer experience that is always memorable from the staff’s warmth and efficiency to the kitchen’s excellent preparations.  No detail is overlooked.

Schilz strives to mentor her staff and help rally them toward a common goal.  She is thankful for the people on her team who range in age from young adults to seniors.  She enjoys helping guide young employees and supporting them as they grow.  She works to foster a team approach in everything they do.      

Since the hotel opened in 2007, Jane and Lee have been strong supporters of their local community.  They are members of many organizations and host fundraising events at the hotel. 

Omar Shaikh
SURG Restaurant Group in Milwaukee

Shaikh worked his way up in the restaurant industry and eventually built a successful restaurant group with restaurants known for their award winning cuisine and unique dining atmosphere.  His restaurants are quintessential examples of Milwaukee’s vibrant restaurant scene.  

Shaikh is passionate about providing opportunities and helping to strengthen the Milwaukee community.  His restaurant group partners with organizations that support underserved populations in Milwaukee and other social influencers to ensure that everyone has the chance to thrive. He is involved with numerous charitable organizations and has been a driving force behind the Milwaukee Kitchen Cabinet, a partnership program between the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association. The Kitchen Cabinet is a group of restaurateurs who are committed to growing and preserving opportunity in the restaurant industry and strengthening the communities where they live and work.  Shaikh has achieved the American Dream and has been helping to make that dream possible for countless others.

Derek Small 
Troop Café, Milwaukee 

Chef Small is an inspiring leader in the food service industry who makes giving back a priority.  He has achieved the American dream and is dedicated to helping others work toward making their own American Dream a reality.  For Chef Small, the American Dream isn’t about fancy cars and large homes, it’s about how to make an impact and help others less fortunate than him.  He asks himself “How did I connect with, or change things for the next person?”  

As an immigrant from England, he faced the challenge of adjusting to the vast cultural differences between Great Britain and New York City. After retiring from the US Navy, Chef Small gravitated toward organizations that embrace opportunities in the restaurant industry.  He helped build a culinary training program as a way to help people overcome barriers to employment.  He is now taking that same approach with Troop Café, helping veterans gain valuable skills to help transition to civilian life.

Rachael Stanley 
Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry, Madison

Stanley is the owner and operator of Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry, a restaurant started by her father in 1974.  She has been responsible for operating this highly successful iconic restaurant in Madison for the past 14 years.  

Stanley earned her degree in education and began teaching while working at the restaurant a few nights a week.  After encountering some frustrations with current management hired by her father, she took over.  She basically built the restaurant back up from scratch finding new vendors and new staff and implementing systems in every department.  Five years into running the restaurant, she had increased profits by 50% and she has been successfully running the restaurant since.  For Stanley, the American Dream was to surpass the obstacles and fulfill the restaurant’s fullest potential.  

Three national winners for the Faces of Diversity American Dream Awards were honored during the National Restaurant Association’s annual Public Affairs Conference in March in Washington, DC. The state finalists from Wisconsin did not win at the national level. 

For more information about the Faces of Diversity Awards, visit the National Restaurant Association’s website. 

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