We are thrilled to announce that earlier this month we welcomed Richard Horrell as our new CEO. In his new role, Richard will oversee the strategic growth of Mozzeria as a company, and as a positive representation of the Deaf community.
Mozzeria, A History of Excellence and Equity
Earlier this year, former CEO Ryan Maliszewski announced he was stepping away from his role with Mozzeria to focus on his personal growth. Ryan’s impact and accomplishments on the Mozzeria community will be long-lasting and unforgettable. In his tenure as CEO, he led the opening and development of Mozzeria D.C. in the middle of a global pandemic. When many restaurants were forced to close due to COVID-19, he and his team of talented professionals were able to keep locations on both coasts afloat through their creative problem solving, optimism, and perseverance. It is through a combination of the inclusive brand built by the founders, the ingenuity of Ryan’s leadership during a difficult time, a strong and dedicated team of Deaf professionals, and the unwavering support of the Deaf community that Mozzeria is where it is today.
“I am so proud of the work Mozzeria employees have done through a global pandemic these past couple of years in addressing the inconceivable challenges that were thrown our way,” Ryan shared. “As CEO, I developed a newfound admiration for the restaurant industry – its resilience, creativity, deep love for the culinary arts, and making valued customers happy.”
Richard has been working closely with the Mozzeria team and Ryan since June of this year to manage operations while we searched for a new CEO. Earlier this month the Mozzeria Board voted to make Richard’s interim position permanent.
Richard Horrell: Mozzeria’s New CEO
Richard Horrell is a hard-of-hearing member of the deaf community with a varied professional background in law, business, and education. Prior to accepting the role of Mozzeria CEO, Richard held the position of project manager for CSD Social Venture Fund where he worked closely with Deaf business owners to create stability in their operations and prepare them to grow their businesses.
In addition to supporting other Deaf and hard-of-hearing business owners, Richard is a business owner himself! In 2020, he opened Big Bully Roasters, a sustainable fair-trade coffee company with his friends and family.
Richard is truly passionate about accessibility, uplifting the deaf community, and appreciating the value and perspective the people around him bring to each situation. His experiences as a hard-of-hearing interpreter, teacher at CSD Fremont, school principal of a trauma-informed middle and high school, board president of CAP Sonoma – an organization working to provide economic security for vulnerable populations, and an adjunct law professor have helped shape his approach to creating equity in all areas of his life. It’s a combination of these experiences and his unique perspective that we believe will serve Mozzeria well as we venture into the next phase of our journey.
Elevating the Deaf Community
We know… the pizza is delicious, and that is a major perk of working with Mozzeria! But we all know that Mozzeria is about more than just the authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.
“As I humbly and gratefully step into this role, I recognize that Mozzeria is not solely about pizza or profit,” Richard explained. “I believe the real work we are doing is about raising up the community. It’s about equity. I believe that Mozzeria, more than anything else, can be a place where Deaf and hard of hearing people can look and see Deaf and hard of hearing people modeling excellence.”
By working with the Mozzeria team, the Deaf community, and the local San Francisco and D.C. communities, Richard wants to make sure that Mozzeria is a safe, accessible, and welcoming space for all.
Bringing Mozzeria Pizza to More People
You may be happy to learn that plans for expansion are already in motion! In working with past leadership, the current Mozzeria team, and the local community, Richard hopes to focus on three main areas of growth: services, accommodations, and location.
Over the next few months and years, you can expect new services like catering, pop-up events, and collaborations with other Deaf-led businesses. Several of these efforts are already underway.
Richard also plans to work with Mozzeria chefs and general managers to make our menu more accommodating to people with all dietary needs. “The aim is to ensure that those with allergies or dietary restrictions will be able to sit down and easily find delicious and creative food that they can safely enjoy without the hassle and burden of asking for special accommodations, or secret menus—because everything we are working toward centers on equity and inclusion,” Richard shared.
Finally, and we know this is an update that many of you have been waiting for, Mozzeria is restarting its search to add more locations throughout the country. The pandemic made further expansion outside of D.C. nearly impossible. Now that we’ve had some time to bolster our San Francisco and D.C. operations we are again looking for suitable cities for the next Mozzeria restaurant. “While we are still figuring out exactly what this process will look like, I am hoping our team can tour the country and host pop-up Mozzeria restaurants to find cities that would be a great fit for a new Mozzeria location,” Richard shared.
What Do You Want to See from Mozzeria
As always, we know that Mozzeria is successful because we have the good fortune to have a strong and supportive community rooting for us. We value and cherish your input and opinions. If you have ideas or experiences you’d like to share about inclusive menus, future locations, and new services as we enter our next stage of growth, please contact us and let our team know!