The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), the premier leadership development organization for women in the foodservice sector, announced the recipients of its 2015 top awards: The Fritzi Pikes Woods Trailblazer Award, SOAR Award, Volunteer of the Year Award, and Outstanding Board Service Award. The formal presentations will be held during the week of March 8 at the WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference held at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida where more than 3,000 attendees will gather for best-in-class content, leadership competencies, and strategic industry connections.
“We would like to congratulate our 2015 award winners for their outstanding commitment and dedication to advancing women leaders in the foodservice industry,” says Hattie Hill, president and CEO of WFF. “It is an honor to recognize their passion and tremendous contributions to investing in the success of their organizations and the foodservice industry by supporting the development of women leaders.”
Lorna Donatone, CEO and president of Sodexo Education will receive the premier Fritzi Pikes Woods Trailblazer Award in recognition of her support of gender diversity, creating new pathways for women in her company and the industry at large. The award is sponsored by General Mills.
Kraft Foods will be the recipient of the Standard-Setter for Opportunity, Advancement and Recognition (SOAR) Award, in recognition of the company’s corporate initiatives that have resulted in a strong track record of attracting, developing, retaining, and promoting women to the highest levels of the organization. The award is sponsored by Yum! Brands.
Lisa MacNeil, general manager of United Restaurant Supplies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gordon Food Service, will be the recipient of the WFF Volunteer Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions and leadership efforts in pursuing the goals and overall success of WFF. The award is sponsored by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Marie Perry, interim CFO, controller, and treasurer of Brinker International will receive the Outstanding Board Service Award in recognition of the major impact she has made as a board member. The award is sponsored by Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.
Also, two scholarships will be awarded to further develop the business and leadership skill of those individuals through sponsorship of their attendance at the WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference and participation in the WFF Executive Leadership Program in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management.
Heather Stage, director of vending sales and operations at Coca-Cola Refreshments will receive the Phyllis S. Sewell Scholars Award in honor of Phyllis Shapiro Sewell, a former Sysco board member and champion of women’s rights in the workplace.
Marilyn Jones, director of process improvement at Ben E. Keith Company will receive the Chris Lowe Scholars Award in honor of Chris Lowe, retired president, National Foodservice & On-Premise, Coca-Cola Refreshments who was a remarkable champion for women’s leadership and development.
In addition, WFF is honored to present the first three Fritzi Pikes Woods Aspire Higher Fund Scholarships. The scholarships will provide leadership development opportunities, financial assistance, and mentoring to high-potential women in the foodservice industry who would not otherwise be exposed to the type of experiences and networking that WFF offers.
This year’s award recipients are: Carmen Cortez, owner of Carmen’s Delicious Catering; Andrea Guzman, Regional Sales Manager for Verde Valle Foods; and Hanna Koski, Director of the “WE Over Me Farm” at Paul Quinn College.
“WFF is focused on a single mission of helping foodservice-related companies and professionals maximize their success in retaining and elevating women leaders,” says Kat Cole, WFF’s 2015 board chair and brand president of Focus Brands. “This focus strengthens the business and leadership capabilities of diverse talent. We are also proud to support individuals in obtaining best-in-class content, leadership competencies, and connections that add tremendous value to their organizations.”