Fritzi Woods, president and CEO of Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) traveled to Washington last week for meetings with senior White House and Obama Administration officials.
A prolific leader and passionate advocate, Woods took WFF’s message of corporate leadership development and accelerated career growth for women in the foodservice industry to the epicenter of power and political influence.
Woods met privately with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis; U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD; and U.S. Small Business Administration’s Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, as well as White House Business Council and U.S. Department of Commerce aides.
Discussions centered on the role women executives and entrepreneurs play in their organizations, as well as the leadership development strategies WFF offers to support these women.
“I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to share the mission and goals of WFF with Obama Administration cabinet members and senior officials,” Woods says. “As I travel the country, I hear from a growing number of women in our industry about the need to elevate WFF’s mission and message. My trip to Washington is the first step to educating key stakeholders about the plight of women in the nation’s second-largest and fastest-growing industry.”
While WFF is not a public policy advocacy group, issues such as pay equity, greater access to capital for women-owned franchisees, and programs promoting women and girls were also addressed during meetings.
Woods later took her message to Atlanta, where she delivered a keynote address at Dine America’s 2012 conference at the Loews Hotel.
Before more than 250 owners, operators, distributors, and industry leaders, she delivered a speech entitled, Strategies for Building a Dynamic Talent Pipeline, which carefully outlined the organizational benefits of “casting a broader net” to include more women in the talent pipeline for C-suite and director positions in the foodservice industry.
“One of the greatest honors I have as president of WFF is working closely with my foodservice colleagues and partners to help them embrace the changes in our industry,” Woods says.
“Women are breaking barriers in every field and serving at the highest levels of business and government, from the boardroom to the courtroom,” she continues. “WFF’s mission is to empower women with critical leadership skills that will continue their individual growth and therefore the growth of their organizations. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to raise these issues at the Dine America conference.”