Changing How a Country Eats, One School at a Time
Startups are popping up everywhere and young people are the driving force behind them. Kevin Lo, Chief Operating Officer at Brigaid, discussed with us his commitment to transforming the way schools serve meals.
Kevin Lo was born in Taiwan and moved to California with his family as a child. He attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Kevin joined Brigaid in February 2017 and is now the Chief Operating Officer, responsible for managing day-to-day business operations and long term strategy.
Kevin, what drew you to Brigaid?
Growing up, I was raised by my grandmother, who really defined selflessness and love for me. No matter whether you were a stranger or a family member, she always looked to serve you. So that stuck with me. That’s what inspired me to go into public service; I know I have been incredibly blessed in my life, and I would not be able to live with myself without doing something that actively gave back every day.
And that’s what drew me to Brigaid. Brigaid is a company that combines my desire to work for an organization that brings in positive change and my passion for food. Again, going back to my grandmother, she ran a restaurant in Taiwan when she worked. She was an amazing chef. So, I grew up eating good food and finding shelter and calm in that food. I knew, no matter what was happening in my life, I had the comforts of a good home-cooked meal ahead of me. Looking back, I was extremely lucky to have that, and Brigaid became the perfect fit for me to be part of something that brings that comfort to our country’s students.
Brigaid’s mission statement says, “we’re dedicated to our mission: transforming the way schools serve meals to America’s schoolchildren.” Why is there a need for this change?
Throughout the country, schools are doing their best to provide the best possible education for their students. Similarly, there are countless food service directors who are trying to bring good food to their students. However, there just isn’t the required attitude and attention necessary for those food service directors to accomplish what they want. Too many students are not eating and that affects their learning and growth.
Where is Brigaid currently based and are there plans to expand?
We’re currently based in New London, CT (the site of our pilot program). And yes, we definitely are planning to expand very soon. Now, we’re just trying to expand strategically so we can have as big of an impact as possible, to feed as many people as possible.
What do you look for when recruiting chefs to participate in Brigaid?
We’re looking for chefs who not only have the skills to cook well and manage a kitchen but also have the soft skills and character to positively interact with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. To have that, at the end of the day, we’re looking for chefs who are passionate about our mission.
What do you enjoy most about working for Brigaid?
Professionally, the part I enjoy most is how much new experience I’m gaining in my role. But personally, the best part about working for Brigaid is seeing the interactions between the chefs and students. It really is amazing. We now realize that our work is about much more than food. We’re helping these students—who are quite literally the future of our country—grow inside and outside of the cafeteria.