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At the heart of all the amazing people at Piada is our People Services team. Enter Cassandra Thomas: our Senior People Services Manager. Her Piada journey began just under a year ago, but already in that time she’s accomplished some seriously great things. Her story goes far beyond our four walls. She’s a published author, cancer survivor, adrenaline junkie and HR impact award honoree. She’s far more than just our resident People Services expert, and we’re lucky to have her on our Team.

Cassandra was born in a small town in West Virginia, but grew up in Columbus.

“My parents moved us to Columbus, because even though our extended family owned a beautiful property in the mountains and all lived together in West Virginia, the schools just weren’t great, and my mom wanted me to be a genius! She worked as a Chef, and my Dad sold Kirby vacuums door-to-door. They worked hard to create opportunities for me and my sister.”

After graduating as Valedictorian of her high school, she went on to graduate from Otterbein University with a degree in Sociology, before moving on to Purdue University where she graduated with a 4.0 GPA and her Masters in Human Resource Management and HR Law. It’s clear from everything she’s accomplished that right from the start she was never one to turn down a challenge.

“I’ll try anything I’m interested in. In high school I tried every sport from volleyball to basketball, track and softball, I even danced ballet. I’ve also bungee jumped six times and cliff dived twelve times… but skydiving is still on my to-do list.”

Speaking of her to-do list there’s not a lot that Cassandra hasn’t already accomplished. She’s published a children’s book and is on track to publish another, she is an avid volunteer for several organizations, she’s even been chased by a black bear and lived to tell the tale! But, that all said, she still has plenty she wants to achieve.

“I have two amazing dogs — Rocko and Red — and I volunteer for Rico Pet Recovery, but I really want to open my own dog rescue someday. I’d also like to start a nonprofit for young girls who do not have parental figures, like a sister-sister program. I’m all about giving back.”

Cassandra has achieved so much, but it’s all even more impressive when you consider all of the adversity she’s weathered.

“I’ve had three knee surgeries, five back surgeries, and I had my thyroid removed when they found nine tumors on it back in 2019. All of these things were extremely difficult and painful to overcome. But these experiences sent me on a life-long health and fitness journey. Exercise and a healthy vegetarian diet are big parts of my life now.”

With all of these challenges conquered in her past and a passion for people services, Cassandra arrived in her new role ready to tackle new challenges and carve a great future for all 1000+ people on the Piada payroll.

“I love that Piada has a culture of opportunity. There are people who’ve been here for years who’ve worked hard and worked their way up. Everyone is welcome— you can be yourself here, and people genuinely care about each other, our Guests, and our food.”

Cassandra also really loves how Piada takes care of its people.

“We’ve got some really amazing, unique benefits like weekly pay, companywide tuition reimbursement, an employer paid insurance program with free preventive care, and free shift meals.”

Cassandra is on a mission to create a more robust and accessible People Services program.

“I want to demystify the negative connotations around People Services. That means popping into the restaurants constantly and helping our teams put a face to the name. I also want to amp up rewards and celebrate people, birthdays, and anniversaries at all levels. Our Team does a lot of good, and I want everyone at Piada to know we’re here to support them.”

With all the amazing things she does both personally and professionally, it’s unsurprising that Cassandra’s life motto (said first by James Dean) is this:

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”

If you’re looking for a career with huge growth potential, head to careers.mypiada.com.