2015 Faces of Diversity Award Winner: Pamela Patton

Pamela Patton has ‘Big Momma’ to thank for inspiration that would last a lifetime. With determination, a strong work ethic and an optimistic bent, Patton set out on a journey that started in state government but ends with a thriving restaurant and catering business in the U.S. heartland. And she’s not done yet.

Raised in rural Georgia with her seven siblings, Patton was the first member of her family to graduate college. Her passion for cooking began in rural Alabama under her great grandmother, Gussie Hayes, at the age of nine. Patton loved to cook, and began inviting Drake college students to her home after church, offering them a home cooked meal and leftovers to carry them over for a few days. The number of students she helped grew from 25 to 100. While working in corporate America in Des Moines, she started a catering business while still feeding the college students. Some graduated and were transitioned into employment at the company where she worked. In 2010, she secured a loan from the Targeted Small Business (TSB) when banks were not lending monies, and her business opened in 2011. Patton wanted to establish her business in a diverse neighborhood and currently has a diverse staff, reflective of the neighborhood she serves.