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September 26, 2011



MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Sept. 22, 2011) --
Carlson, a privately held, global hospitality and travel company, today announced it has been named as one of the "Best Adoption-Friendly" companies in the United States by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Carlson ranked first in the hotel and travel industry category for the fifth consecutive year.  

The recognition is based on the adoption benefits that companies offer their employees, including financial assistance and paid leave. Carlson provides up to USD 5,000 and six weeks of paid leave per adoption to adoptive parents.

“Each year, tens of thousands of children are adopted in the United States, getting a chance to grow up with a ‘forever’ family instead of in a foster home or institution,” said Elizabeth Bastoni, executive vice president, Human Resources, Carlson. “This recognition – along with the participation rate in our benefits plans – is a recognition that we continue to deliver meaningful benefits that our employees value.”
Bastoni notes that the adoption benefit is one more reason the company ranks highly as a family-friendly employer. Carlson was also recently recognized for the ninth time on Working Mothermagazine’s list of the Best 100 Companies for Working Mothers, and was named to the magazine’s list of best companies for hourly workers.
Carlson’s other key employee benefits and programs include flexible work arrangements, mental health assistance and webinars on a variety of topics, including financial planning.
In addition to ranking the top 100 companies, the Foundation also recognized the top 10 by size and the leaders of each industry. To view all of the honorees, visit

The release of the fifth annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List helps the Foundation increase foster care adoption awareness, while celebrating businesses that support adoptive families. Rankings are determined by an analysis of a company’s adoption benefits available to employees, such as financial reimbursement and paid leave. The Foundation compiled results from its annual survey of U.S. employers and partnered with Employee Benefit News—a SourceMedia publication providing information to benefits executives—to announce the winners.


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Sept. 15, 2011) -- Carlson, a privately held, global hospitality and travel company, has been recognized for the ninth time in recent history as one of the “2011 Working Mother 100 Best Companies” by Working Mother magazine.
Carlson repeated the honor noted for its commitment to the advancement of women; a strong, values-based culture; flexible work schedules; parental leave; and adoption assistance. The top companies were selected based on an extensive application. This year’s “100 Best" evaluation gave particular weight to benefits, flexibility, parental leave and employee assistance programs.
“With more than 169,000 women hired last year, this year’s 100 Best Companies make up an impressive group of winners who offer family-driven programs and benefits that far outpace their competitors,” said Carol Evans, President, Working Mother Media. “This year’s winning companies are proof that success lies in the numbers—97 percent of companies are offering prenatal education, weight-loss, wellness, and stress-reduction programs to employees at every level.”  

“Being a good parent and a good employee shouldn’t be mutually exclusive,” said Elizabeth Bastoni, executive vice president, Human Resources, Carlson. “Our passion to create a healthy, family-friendly work environment is woven into the fabric of our company culture, so this recognition is especially meaningful to us.”

The Working Mother 100 Best Companies are judged on answers to 650 questions, including data on the access and usage of flexible work arrangements, parental leave, childcare, health and wellness support and the advancement of women to all levels of management.

Among Carlson's many benefits and programs are seminars on work/life, health/wellness and finance topics, and volunteer opportunities. In 2010, the company heightened its focus on health and wellness programs with a new perk, health assessments offering insurance discounts for participation. It offers health coaches, healthier onsite café-food options, and a wellness fair.

Some of the programs highlighted in the Working Mother application included:  

GIFT OF TIME: Employees can donate vacation days to colleagues experiencing a hardship.  
T.G.I. FRIDAY’S “HAVE A HEART” PROGRAM: Funded by employee contributions and fundraising, offers financial help to employees suffering unforeseen personal or financial tragedies.  
12 DAYS OF GIVING: Collection of donations for a local non-profit.  
OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES: Helps downsized colleagues seek other employment and services through a variety of local, state and federal agencies.
FEMALE EXECUTIVES: Carlson and its business units had a total of 37% women in positions of vice president and above; 46% of our women hold director and above positions.
CHANGING NEEDS: Employees work in a variety of positions, ranging from hotel and restaurant duties, to management and executive leadership responsibilities. Benefits are designed to meet changing workforce.

Earlier this year, Carlson was named to the magazine’s list of ‘Best Companies for Hourly Workers,” which celebrated U.S. businesses that provide family-friendly benefits that promote health and wellness, education, flexibility and work-life balance.

Jenne Roper, director of Brand Marketing, Carlson Hotels, Midscale Brand, Americas, was selected as Carlson Mother of the Year. Roper, who had all six of her children while employed at Carlson, is featured in a story in the October 2011 issue on maternity leave.  She has worked for Carlson for 14 years and lives in Dayton, Minn.

“I have siblings who have worked at Carlson and met my husband at Carlson,” said Roper. “I always wanted a big family and a fulfilling career, and my dream became a reality thanks to the generous maternity leave benefits at Carlson. “All six of my maternity leaves have been at Carlson, and I have appreciated Carlson’s flexibility to determine what works well for me in terms of transitioning back to work.

“My team members have always jumped right in to pick up my work when I was out,” she said, adding her appreciation that there’s no cookie cutter approach at Carlson for what employees need to do to achieve work-life balance. “Carlson removes obstacles by being supportive of career ambitions and work-life balance,” she added.

A master of multi-tasking at work and at home, she has six children from 2-months- to 9-years-old at home, and she and her stay-at-home husband also manage to give each child individual time and is an inspiration to all working moms.  


About Carlson

Carlson is a global hospitality and travel company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. Carlson encompasses 1,067 hotels, including Radisson®, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, Park Inn by Radisson and Park Plaza®; more than 900 T.G.I. Friday’s®restaurants; and a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel®, the global leader in business travel management. Carlson operates in more than 150 countries and its brands employ about 170,000 people.  

About the Dave Thomas Foundation:

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is America’s only nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the 107,000 children waiting in foster care to be adopted. Created by Wendy’s® founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation implements results-driven, national, signature programs; foster care adoption awareness initiatives; and research-based advocacy efforts. More information is available on the Foundation’s website,
www.DaveThomasFoundation.org, or by calling +1 (800) ASK-DTFA.