Lori Malcolm celebrates 4 successful years at Checkers and Rally's
Lori Malcolm celebrates 4 successful years at Checkers and Rally's

Checkers Senior VP of Human Resources Lori Malcolm has had a long and successful career in executive positions at world-famous companies.

Senior VP of Human Resources, Lori Malcolm, has had a long and successful career in executive positions at world-famous companies including IBM, Disney and Walmart. With more than 25 years of experience in human resources and technology, Malcolm, 52, recently celebrated four successful years at Checkers and Rally's Restaurants Inc. Malcolm is a second generation African-American and among the first generation in her family to have received a college education. It

was through watching her mother working as an executive secretary in a local business that Malcolm first realized that she wanted to one day hold an executive position. The path toward achieving her goal was set when she was granted a large scholarship to study engineering at Cornell University.

After graduating from the Ivy League school in 1983, Malcolm went to work for IBM for ten years, rooting herself in various cities as a business system designer, and ending her career at the company as a marketing and sales representative. She then moved to Orlando, Fl. with her husband to kick start her long-time desire to pursue a career in HR. Through working as a recruiter at Robert Half International, Malcolm found a placement for herself in the “casting” department at Disney. Over the course of five years, Malcolm was tasked with recruitment and creating strategies for increasing the diversity of the leadership and general staff. With the aim of increasing the percentage of women and minorities, Malcolm worked closely with Disney Senior Executives.

In 2002, Malcolm relocated to Arkansas with her husband, and was offered a position at Walmart as the manager of recruitment for the IT division. With a combination of engineering and recruitment skills, Malcolm’s career at Walmart rose quickly and dramatically. Within six months, Malcolm was promoted to HR Director of the entire IT division; responsible for recruitment, training, development, compensation, internal communications, and designing HR performance metrics tools. Malcolm was then promoted to the position of Senior Director of Organizational Effectiveness, becoming responsible for the company’s performance management systems, the annual survey process of the company’s 1.7 million staff, as well as managing the development of executive staff and organizational development.

After five and a half years at Walmart, Malcolm returned to Florida to work as the VP of Human Resources and Organizational Development (incl. Chief Diversity Officer) at Sweetbay Supermarket for little over a year until her position was eliminated during a company reorganization.

Serendipitously, Malcolm had been approached a week earlier by the former VP of HR at Checkers, who she’d met at a networking event, to take on this position. With a strong background in process and systems as well as HR skills, Malcolm stood out from other candidates.

“When I came to Checkers, Rick told me that he had two goals: to put in place people systems that would help Checkers reach the next level of performance as a company and create a sustainable culture that embraced its people and provided opportunities for growth,” Malcolm said. For the last four years, she has been working toward achieving these goals by developing processes to ensure that the right people are hired for the brand, and working on transforming our training programs and tools so that Checkers is known for helping people grow. Moreover, with her background in technology, Malcolm has been able to create systems that help managers to measure and reward success with people.

Since joining Checkers, Malcolm has introduced an employee engagement survey, and has witnessed the company improve each year to become an industry leader in terms of its engagement. She has also put in a place a hiring system which identifies the ideal Checkers candidate.  Her team will roll out a best in class learning and development system in 2014.

“One thing I love about our brand is that we choose to operate in many communities that are underserved in terms of employment opportunities.  If you look at the employees and management in our restaurants you will see that we have a higher percentage of female and minority staff than most of the QSR industry. We also promote internally at a higher percentage than other companies,” she said.

In addition to building a successful career, Malcom is also the mother of four children, three of whom are in college and one who is soon to graduate high school. She also makes time to volunteer with a number of organizations and is a former board member of the Tampa Bay Crisis Center. In 2013, Malcolm received the Diversity Award from the Florida Diversity Council for Women in Leadership.